Protests against BBC coverage of Israeli military operation against the Palestinian refugee population in the Gaza strip are erupting across the UK, with thousands joining a call for fair, unbiased and contextual reporting of the events on the ground.
London, Manchester, Liverpool, and Newcastle saw marches to “protest at the BBC’s biased reporting”as well as to gather signatures for an open letter to the BBC Director General. London took the main stage of the protest movement.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, Campaign against Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and many other organizations, in the letter to the publicly funded broadcaster, say that the company is“duty-bound to provide balanced reporting without bias.”
Instead, the organizers argue, the BBC’s reporting of Israel’s assault on Palestinians in the operation Protective Edge, fails to mention the years of occupation, deportations and siege Palestinians have lived through. “BBC’s reporting of these assaults is entirely devoid of context or background,” the organizers write.
Booing and demands for better coverage are just among some of the chants heard in the rallies across the UK, that reminded the BBC that “resistance to occupation is a right under international law.”
“When you portray Israel’s shelling of a civilian population as a ‘response’ or ‘retaliation’ to rocket strikes from Gaza, we would like to remind you that these events flow from the displacement of the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people from their homes and communities,” the open letter reads.
In Liverpool, hundreds gathered outside the BBC Radio Merseyside to rally against Israeli attacks on Gaza and against biased reporting of the current situation. Organized by Liverpool Friends of Palestine and supported by Merseyside Stop the War Coalition, the event also became a venue to show solidarity with the Palestinian people and to call for peace and a ceasefire.
In Manchester “Stop the Bombing of Gaza” event also gathered a crowd. Organizers, in their call to action said that “Barack Obama, David Cameron and UK foreign secretary William Hague support“Israel’s right to defend itself” through killing “women, children and disabled people.” They gathered in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester center to call for a change in Whitehall’s policy.
A vigil in memory of the Palestinian victims was also held in Newcastle. Similar anti-BBC demonstrations were also held on Sunday in the UK, including Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as Cambridge and Oxford. More protests are scheduled during the week.
— Tony Dowling (@TonyDowling) July 15, 2014