‘Armistice now’: Pro-Palestine protestors gathered in York calling for ceasefire in Gaza

Students and staff from the University of York marched from St Helen’s Square on Saturday 16th March

A rally calling for “immediate ceasefire in Gaza” was held in St Helen’s Square on Saturday 16th March. Protestors gathered at the Square while speeches could be heard, before marching towards the Minster carrying flags and banners.

Those involved in the rally chanted “Free, free Palestine” carrying signs with messages such as: “Blessed are the peacemakers. Ceasefire now.”, and “Armistice now.”

One of the organisers for the protest and retired physics professor from The University of York, Mohamed El-Gomati, explained that the motive for the protest was “justice”. He told The York Press: “It’s a really simple cause: The cause of justice and humanity.

“We have three demands: An immediate ceasefire, restoration of food and amenities, and exchange of all detainees.”

Amongst the crowds was local York MP Rachael Maskell who stood in solidarity with the cause.

Rachael could be seen standing alongside student banners made by The University of York’s Palestinian Solidarity Society, which read “calling for a ceasefire, to lift the siege and to end the occupation”.

The Palestinian Solidarity Society has hosted a number of fundraisers, educational sessions and events in support of Palestine since 2021, including a banner and sign making workshop which was hosted on March 13th.

Another student-led organisation, York Action for Student Solidarity, attended the rally and marched alongside protestors. In a photo shared to its Instagram page, the group held a banner which read the society’s name.

Fellow organiser, Dr Richard Murgatroyd, emphasised that the protest was not one of extremism or anti-Semitism.

He told The York Press that he expects the council to take action: “York claims to be a human rights city and a city of sanctuary. The council needs to speak up on this.”

Organisers of the rally have said that they will be lobbying City of York Council at its next full meeting on Thursday afternoon and will be handing in a petition asking the authority to call for a ceasefire.

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