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UK: campaigners stage silent vigil for Rafah outside Downing St

Campaigners outside Downing Street © Marie-Anne Ventoura for Amnesty UK

Amnesty International UK has staged a silent vigil in solidarity with civilians in Rafah outside Downing Street this morning to draw attention to the plight of some 1.4 million Palestinian civilians who are at acute risk in any full-scale Israeli military assault on the city. 

The vigil - held at 11am immediately in front of the gates of Downing Street - featured activists dressed all in black and wearing white face masks holding aloft statements from Palestinians in Rafah who’ve already experienced devasting Israeli attacks on their homes. 

These statements, on large boards, included: 

‘My children’s small bodies were torn to pieces’ - Islam Harb

‘Nothing was left of my brother Khalil except his hand’ - Ahlam Harb

‘I couldn’t open my eyes because they were full of glass, shrapnel and sand’ - Malak Al-Shaer

There were also placards saying ‘We can’t say we didn’t know’ and #CeasefireNOW #EndIsraeliApartheid

The testimonies are drawn from Amnesty research published earlier this week on four unlawful Israeli attacks on Rafah in December and January which killed at least 95 civilians, including 42 children. 

Amnesty is calling on the UK government to use all the means at its disposal to press the Israeli authorities into reversing any decision to launch a full-scale attack on Rafah. 

The UK must also call for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all civilian hostages in Gaza, the urgent lifting of Israel’s blockade on Gaza, and UK ministers must suspend arms transfers to Israel and proactively support international justice mechanisms like the genocide case at the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court’s ongoing investigations into serious human rights violations in Israel and Palestine.

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