London, Jan 30, IRNA – An Israeli colonel accused of being a war criminal was prevented by peace campaigners from making a speech to the Jewish London Student Centre on Thursday night when police clashed with more than 100 protesters, while blocking rush-hour traffic.
“Given the short notice, the number of people who attended was good and we achieved getting the meeting cancelled, or at least rescheduled,” said Stewart Halforty from the Stop The War Coalition (STWC), which organised the protest against Geva Rapp.
“It was a high-profile demonstration that could be seen by commuters from Euston station and we’ve got our message across,” Halforty said.
STWC said that it had found out in a leaked email about the speech from Rapp, who is said to have been one of the ground commanders of Israel’s latest invasion of Gaza.
According to London’s Evening Standard, the Metropolitan Police were forced to close Euston Road, a main thoroughfare in the city centre, during the rush hour as they attempted to deal with the protest.
Several protesters who had blocked the pavement waving Free Gaza and Free Palestine placards were dragged away by police and four demonstrators were later arrested for public order offences.
A police officer was said to have later addressed the demonstration with a loud hailer, announcing the meeting had been cancelled and that the colonel would not be attending.
Many of the students were from London universities, which have also been the subject of protests and sit-ins against Israel’s massacre of more than 1,300 Palestinian, including over 400 children and more than 100 women, in Gaza.
Jen Jones, Campaigns and Communications officer for the Student Union at Goldsmiths College, said police made an attempt to move the protesters from outside the entrance of the centre but that they held their ground.
“Once we all sat on the ground they stopped trying to move us – I think they realized how bad it was looking, attempting to physically remove some peaceful protesters having what appeared to be a sit-in,” Jones told London-student.net.