A small group of occupiers returned to St Paul’s Cathedral yesterday, November 22, to publically read out the names of 141 people killed in the recent attacks on Gaza.
This was timed for the annual Thanksgiving ceremony attended by the US Ambassador and hundreds of expat Americans. A loud-hailer was used and the reading was audible thoughout the church during the whole ceremony. The full reading of the 141 names took an hour, as did the Thanksgiving.
Police and security guards tried to move the occupiers on. The instigator of the action, ‘A’, later said: “They weren’t moving me. Not a chance! Not after a protracted court case which determined our – anyone’s – right to protest there, without tents. I think a lot of occupiers would have liked how annoyed they were by that!”
The protesters held up a large “Obama; Give back your Nobel Peace Prize!” banner. ‘A’ explained that he wanted to express to this group of fellow Americans that it is obscene to celebrate a Christian Thanksgiving without acknowledging those killed, or the part played by Obama’s policies, or the fact that “American-made munitions are being used [against Palestinians] in the very place where Jesus walked the earth”.
The names of the relatively few Israelis killed over the last eight days were read out along with the long list of Palestinian names.
The occupiers reported that the response of the Americans, tourists and other church-goers was generally positive. Some people took photos and gave ‘thumbs-up’ signals. ‘A’ sent a report of the action, along with messages of solidarity, to friends in Palestine, and received a very positive response.
Occupiers with contacts in Palestine report that the known death toll in Gaza is now 164 and rising despite the ceasefire, due in part to a lack of medical equipment and clean water. More deaths are expected in the wake of the attacks, as destruction of infrastructure takes its toll.