East London schoolchildren join wave of 'strike for Palestine' protests

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

A group of east London schoolchildren joined the wave of "strike for Palestine" protests sparking across the country.

Massing outside Redbridge Town Hall on Friday, schoolchildren and parents from the local area chanted "free, free, Palestine" as they held placards calling for an end to the conflict.

Other protests were held in Newham and outside Luton Sixth Form College amid rising calls for an end to the war.

In Bristol, schoolchildren handed in a petition calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war to representatives at a city council.

The signatures, many written in felt tip pen, were collected by youngsters who have attended the School Strike for Palestine outside Bristol’s City Hall over the past three weeks.

Carla Denyer, co-leader of the Green Party and councillor for Clifton Down ward in the city, collected the petition during the event on Friday morning.

Speaking in Bristol, Ms Denyer told school children and protesters: “Thank you for taking a stand for Palestine and for calling for a ceasefire.

“The abhorrent situation in Palestine and Israel must end. I know we are all horrified by the Hamas attacks and we all want the immediate release of the hostages.

“Those atrocities do not in any way justify the level of bombardment of civilians, including many Gazan children, that has shocked the world.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “I’m deeply concerned that some children are attending political protests during the school day – even more so if they’re taking part in, or being exposed to, antisemitic chants.

“This should be treated with the utmost seriousness – missing school for activism is unacceptable.”

This comes as at least a dozen pro-Palestine protests are expected across are expected to take place in local boroughs across London on Saturday.

The smaller demonstrations are set to replace one large protest in the centre of the capital this weekend, however a "national march for Palestine" is scheduled for central London on Saturday November 24 at 12pm.

Local boroughs where marches are scheduled for November 18 include Camden, Hackney, Acton and Lewisham.

The war, now in its sixth week, was triggered by Hamas’ October 7 attack in southern Israel, in which the militants killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and captured some 240 men, women and children.

According to Palestinian health authorities, at least 11,470 Palestinians have been killed since the war began while about 2,700 people are reported missing.