MORE than 1,000 people, stretching as far as the eye could see, took part in a march in Exeter on Saturday, January 20 calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Those taking part had a clear message, shouting responses to questions shouted by those with loudspeakers: What do we want? Ceasefire. When do we want it? Now.
The campaigners, from across the county, were taking part in a Devon 4 Palestine event to show their support for the Palestinian people and to call for a ceasefire in one of the bloodiest Middle East conflicts.
The conflict in Gaza has now been ongoing for more than 100 days and the Gaza Health Ministry says that the death toll has surpassed 23,000 Palestinians, with many missing and wounded.
It was one of the largest protests the city of Exeter has seen for some years.
Groups and individuals from Tavistock, Totnes, Crediton, Exeter, Newton Abbot and all parts of the county took part.
The march was organised by Exeter Palestine Solidarity Campaign and participants assembled at Belmont Park and then proceeded down the High Street to Northernhay Gardens for a rally near the city War Memorial.
At Northernhay Gardens there were a number of speakers.
This included Ben Yeger, who served as a soldier in the 80s in the Israeli army, who is now a Devon resident and a peace activist.
He said that the conflict was “achieving nothing” and added that he still had family and friends in Gaza.
Nick Bilbrough, from the Hands Up Project which links schools around the world with those in Gaza, was also a speaker.
Ahmed Alnaouq, a journalist from Gaza, said he has lost 21 members of his family in the war in Gaza.
He said that people taking part in the Exeter march and others across the country were standing with the people of Palestine.
Lizi Allnatt, said: “As an organiser for Exeter Palestine Solidarity Campaign we are over the moon at the turnout today.
“We know people have come from all over Devon. We know why people have come.
“Like us, they have watched 10,000 children killed in 100 days in a small strip of land, 1/10th of the size of Devon.
“The bombs that have been dropped in those 100 days are equivalent to the size of five Hiroshima bombs being dropped.
“We have two demands today. We want the government, Ben Bradshaw Exeter MP, and all the other MPs in Devon, to call for an immediate ceasefire now.
“We also want the UK government to stop selling weapons to Israel when we know that they are being used to kill children in Gaza now.”
As the conflict continues, demands for a ceasefire get louder.
Exeter City Council voted unanimously to back a ceasefire at a meeting on December 12.
Exeter Green Party asked for cross-party support for “an urgent permanent ceasefire in Gaza, Israel and the rest of Palestine”.