Peaceful Clashes Between Pro-Palestinian Protestors and Pro-Israel Protestors Start to Dominate Streets of Brighton

              When walking through the streets of big cities in the UK, one may often stumble upon a protest or manifestation of some sort. While wondering around in Brighton, I have experienced this more than once and one day I decided to stop as the situation was intriguing. Two groups have gathered: the first consisted of mostly middle-aged to elderly men and women wearing blue and white while holding pro-Israel banners, the second consisted of a variety of different people including many students, middle-aged adults, hijabis, workers and more, waving about Palestinian flags and wearing kufiyahs. This was one of the most peaceful manifestational clashes that I’d ever seen! Maybe I am traumatized from living near America for so long, or maybe its because the mainstream media only shows the world the violent side to double-sided protests, but this urban phenomenon had greatly surprised me.

              Standing on the elevated cement near the bell tower, holding and Israeli flag, one of the protestors in blue started speaking into a microphone that the group had brought, attached to a speaker on the ground. The pro-Palestinian protesters didn’t scream, didn’t interrupt, didn’t react; they just stood there and listened, yet didn’t once back down from their position, nor lower their flags.

              From speaking to a few bystanders, I could gather that this had originally started out as a Pro-Israel rally, however when some students and people from the Muslim community around the block caught wind of this, they gathered whoever they could and anyone they knew from the last Free Palestine protest and went to peacefully oppose the white and blue rally.

              As a journalist, it is in my interest to always speak to and try to understand all parties involved, so I first spoke to one man dressed in blue and while. He was a teacher who lived in Brighton and a member of the Jewish community in the city.

              “We do not want this war!” He stated, “We do not want to be seen as the bad guys, however when terrorist groups like Hamas take over territories near Israel and exploit, abuse and terrorise, not only their own people but also our people, then we have to get involved. I bet you that the Gazans don’t see a single cent of the money that gets sent to them by most charities and everything goes to Hamas instead! They are not freedom fighters; they are terrorists and should be seen as such. I speak for myself, my friends here today and all Israelis when I say that Israel had a right to defend itself!”

              After speaking to a few more people in the white and blue rally, I went down to the silent but very much present Palestinian protesters. I first spoke to a British woman wearing a black jacket and waving a Palestinian flag.

              “When I heard from my friend that there was a rally, we immediately gathered everyone we could and came here to represent the Palestinian people and their suffering. These people up there can say whatever they want, we are just here to remind them of what they are talking about and the murder and violence that is happening in Gaza right now which is aided and fuelled by actions exactly like these.”

              When asked why the Palestinian protesters chose not to interrupt or even react to the pro-Israel speakers, another lady wrapped in a kufiyah responded, “Why would we? The world already sees us as terrorists, why would we give them more reason to think so by becoming radical and aggressive? It serves no purpose because they won’t stop no matter what we do. We are here to represent and remind them of the suffering endured by innocent Gazan families at the hands of corrupt soldiers and powerful individuals in the IDF. We will not start breaking things and hurting others just because we do not agree with them. We are civilized! We are British! And that is just simply not the British way of doing things.”

              Peaceful double-sided protests have been happening for a while all over the UK but have received no media coverage. It is important to spread this information around to promote more of these manifestations done the “British way” to minimize the number of violent protests that erupt often about such topics and encourage a civilized manner of opinion sharing.