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“Stop Arming Israel!”- Youth Demand supporters block Waterloo Bridge as rockets rain on Rafah�

Youth Demand supporters have blocked Waterloo Bridge. Youth Demand is calling for a two-way arms embargo on Israel and for the UK government to halt all new oil and gas licences granted since 2021. [1]

At around 5pm, a march of hundreds Youth Demand supporters began marching from Jubilee Gardens. At around 6pm a group of around 20-30 Youth Demand supporters blocked traffic on Waterloo Bridge, holding signs that said ‘Stop Arming Israel’. Chants of ‘Hands off Rafah’ could be heard. As supporters blocked the road others held smoke flares and at roughly 6:30pm were joined by hundreds of supporters blocking the bridge. 

A Youth Demand Spokesperson said:

“Israel is moving to annihilate the 1.4 million Gazans crammed into the ‘safe zone’ of Rafah today, whilst our leaders in the UK are still buying and selling weapons to a regime guilty of genocide. Both Labour and the Tory party are complicit with the murder of 35,000 innocent civilians, including 14,000 children.” 

“Meanwhile, the UK government is licensing 31 new oil projects this week, after its climate strategy has been declared unlawful for the second time in the high court, as scientists warn we’re facing the ‘biggest threat humanity has faced’. We must step up to resist what is happening and bring the criminals in government to justice.”[2] 

One of those taking action today is Tessa Roe-Stanton, 20, a student from London, who said:

“1.4 million Palestinians, including 600,000, children are sat awaiting their death in Rafah. I will not sit back and watch as the UK government continues to fund and support the genocide of thousands people in Gaza and the millions more globally if we allow business to run ‘as normal’.”

“I feel I have an obligation to take action against the disgusting acts from the Tory and Labour Parties and until the UK stops buying and selling weapons from Israel and stops all new oil and gas licences. Young people like me will continue to take action. Join us at youthdemand.org.”

This week, as the western-backed Israeli death machine rains rockets down on innocent civilians in Gaza, the UK government’s climate strategy was declared unlawful for the second time in the High Court. The government’s response has been the continued approval of new oil and gas projects, with the North Sea Transition Authority, announcing the offer of 31 new licences. [3] [4]

Meanwhile, a poll of hundreds of the world’s top climate scientists have expressed their ‘despair’ at the current trajectory, with 77% of respondents believing global temperatures will reach at least 2.5C above pre-industrial levels- a devastating degree of heating. Almost half (42%) think it will be more than 3C.

“I expect a semi-dystopian future with substantial pain and suffering for the people of the global south,” said a South African scientist who chose not to be named.

Camille Parmesan, at the CNRS ecology centre in France said: “With the most recent IPCC report, all of the scientists I worked with were incredibly frustrated. Everyone was at the end of their rope, asking: what the fuck do we have to do to get through to people how bad this really is?”

When asked what individual action would be effective, Stephen Humphreys at the London School of Economics said: “Civil disobedience.”

Young people will not accept being led by a criminally corrupt government that is more intent on profiteering from the deaths of children, than serving the interests of ordinary citizens. Young people all over the country are coming together to resist. It’s time to step into action at https://youthdemand.org.

ENDS

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Notes to Editors

[1] Youth Demand is a new youth resistance campaign fighting for an end to genocide. Youth Demand a two-way arms embargo on Israel and an end to new oil and gas drilling. Youth Demand is part of Umbrella and a member of the A22 Network of civil resistance projects.

[2] https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/us-warns-israel-that-rafah-invasion-will-jeopardise-weapons-supply-assault-2024-05-09/

[3]

https://www.upliftuk.org/post/award-of-oil-and-gas-licences-under-the-33rd-licensing-round

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/article/2024/may/03/britain-climate-action-plan-unlawful-high-court?share=jetpack-whatsapp

[5]

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2024/may/08/hopeless-and-broken-why-the-worlds-top-climate-scientists-are-in-despair