9 min read

Local protests against Israel's invasion of Rafah escalate

On Tuesday, 14th May, scores of protestors turned out at MP Siobhan Baillie’s office in a strong showing to hold the MP accountable for their continued support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza & to demand a ceasefire.
Local protests against Israel's invasion of Rafah escalate

by Oonagh Cousins from Stroud Parents for Palestine

Stroud parents and children drew a large chalk memorial outside MP Siobhan Baillie's office to remember 13,800 children murdered by Israel in 7 months, including mock dead baby shrouds at the MPs office door to represent complicity in Palestine’s murdered babies.

Editor's note: similar protests have been taking place across the region, in Swindon, Bristol and Gloucester.

Children draw stick figures of Palestinians that have been murdered in Gaza & Rafah

Coalition partner groups were represented at the demonstration and made the following statements and speeches.

Stroud Parents for Palestine

Oonagh Cousins, on behalf of Stroud Parents for Palestine

“In only 7 months Israel has murdered more Palestinian children than the entire population of Stroud.

As local parents we cannot stand silently by to see daily footage of Israeli war crimes against Palestinian children, parents and grandparents. These families have been bombed, shot, starved, tortured, buried alive and even new born babies left by Israel to be eaten by dogs.

Stroud Parents for Palestine call out this unspeakable depravity, astonished by our MP’s continued support for such abominable crimes against humanity.”

“We urge our MP to use her unique privilege as an executive officer in “Conservative Friends of Israel” to

  • Immediately cease the sale of arms to Israel.
  • Break diplomatic relations with Israel in protest of the genocide of Palestine.
  • Press for a Ceasefire Now!
source: https://cfoi.co.uk/aboutcfi/
"More children have been killed in Gaza in the last 7 months than Stroud Town's entire population"
Stroud - Parents for Future

Community Solidarity Stroud District

Emma Calcutt read a statement from Standing Together, the largest Arab-Jewish grassroots movement in Israel, with about 5,000 members as of October 2023.

“Invading Rafah will not magically make Hamas disappear - but it will lead to mass amounts of civilians being killed and more damage to civil life in Gaza. There are over a million people sheltering in Rafah - an attack would be an absolute catastrophe. 

"For months, Netanyahu has been saying that Israel is “close to victory,” convincing people all over the country and the world that he is acting in the best interests of the people that live here, and that he cares about bringing back the hostages.
“If it was not clear before, it must be crystal clear now - Netanyahu has been endangering the lives of the hostages this entire time, and he is driving us all into a nightmare situation.
“His main concern is himself and he will do whatever he can to prolong this war and keep himself in power.

An invasion of Rafah will be catastrophic - for Palestinians in Gaza, and for the future for all of us in Israel-Palestine."
Community Solidarity Stroud District
Building community led solidarity in the Stroud district to oppose the hatred of minorities and oppressed people arising from false and harmful information
English | standing-together
Standing Together is the grassroots people’s movement in Israel. We organize Jews and Arabs, locally and nationally, around campaigns for peace, equality and social justice, in order to build power and transform Israeli society.

Stroud Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Robin Layfield, on behalf of Stroud PSC says:

"The UK establishment, including the Conservative Government and the Labour Opposition are complicit in providing diplomatic cover for a genocide that has been unfolding in Gaza for the last seven months.
“It is right that responsibility for this has been brought to the MP's doorstep
"Our MP - our representative in Government - has huge agency and political power that she can bring to bear to help end this genocide and to bring about a ceasefire now.

“As a senior officer of the Conservative Friends of Israel and someone who is close to the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Siobhan Baillie can deliver a message to the Government and its partners overseas that this must end now.’
Palestine Solidarity Campaign - Stroud District | Stroud
Palestine Solidarity Campaign - Stroud District , Stroud, Gloucestershire. 83 likes · 19 talking about this. Campaigning for freedom, justice and equality for Palestinian people


Radical Youth Space for Educations

Roma Robinson, on behalf of The RYSE says:

“We must remember that we live in the Belly of the Imperial Beast - 500 years ago the ruling classes of this country decided to embark on this colonial project and now we are implicated more than ever in the murder of our siblings around the world.
A placard from the demonstration
“That our MP Siobhan Baillie is a member of Conservative friends of Israel and has recently gone to press calling for increased Government expenditure on the production of weapons and munitions, much of which will be exported.

This makes her, in our eyes, complicit in the violence perpetrated by the Israeli state.

“And she does this in our names, proving even more why we must stand up against her until she cannot pursue this course of action anymore.
“In this world, right now we have a clear choice: we can stand with our global family and put ourselves on the line for justice, or we can allow ourselves through our inaction to become complicit in the perpetration of this violence.
“We must remember this when deciding on action: that next door to our seemingly peaceful lives is the arms trade, BAE systems has an office in Gloucester, they supply Israel with warplanes.

“Lockheed Martin: the worlds biggest weapons manufacturer has offices in Gloucester, they boast that their weapons are “the most lethal.”

“Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest weapons supplier has a factory and its UK HQ in Bristol and they claim that their weapons are battle tested on Palestinians.”
Youth Activism | The RYSE
Welcome to The RYSE - The Radical Youth Space for Educations - our project to build a radical educational space for youth activism, the space we need if together we are going to weave truly transformative social movements - aka: A Home for our Generation to Learn the Art of Disobedience

Nailsworth Quakers

Val Kirby on behalf of Nailsworth Quakers says:

"Nailsworth Quakers stand with the other members of Stroud’s Ceasefire Now Coalition in calling for an immediate end to all hostilities in Gaza.

As individual Quakers, we are increasingly appalled at the inhumanity and intransigence of the Israeli government and the weakness of other governments who fail to stand up for the human rights of the people of Gaza.
Welcome to Nailsworth Quaker Meeting | Nailsworth Quaker Meeting
Welcome to Nailsworth Quakers | Nailsworth Quaker Meeting, Friends Meeting House, Chestnut Hill, Nailsworth, GL6 0RA | Quakers try to live in truth, peace, simplicity and equality, finding God in ourselves and those around us.

Calls to Action

Stroud Ceasefire Now Coalition

For the last 30 weeks a peaceful crowd from all walks of life and representing all community groups, including Jews and Palestinians, Quakers, anti-racists and Youth activists has gathered outside the MPs office to call upon the MP to take action and demand a ceasefire, the release of all hostages, an end to the blockade of Gaza and steps towards a pathway to peace.

This is the heartbeat of our response to what is happening in Gaza. A time for gathering, peaceful reflection, silence and updates on other events and actions that are taking place.

By bearing witness we continue to hold our government and its representatives in Stroud accountable for their failure to take action.

Gloucester Palestine Solidarity Campaign

🚨 Join us in remembrance as we mark 76 years since the Nakba (The Catastrophe) - a tragic event that saw over 700,000 Palestinians forcibly exiled from their homes.

✊🏽 To stand against the ongoing oppression happening to this day, we’ve organised another protest in Gloucester.

🗓️ Saturday, May 11th, 2024
⏰ 2:00 PM

📍 Kings Square, Gloucester City Centre (opposite post office)

Stay tuned for updates on the route. Let’s stand united and raise our voices for justice and support the Palestinian cause! #Nakba76 #SolidarityForPalestineSee less

Na'amod — British Jews Against Occupation

“It has never been more important that we raise our voices as Jews in the UK and demand our representatives take a moral stand.

“Please write to Siobhan Baillie as a Jewish constituent and demand a ceasefire now, a hostage deal, and an end to the siege on Gaza, where a quarter of the population is experiencing catastrophic hunger.
“There is no justice in revenge, there is no military solution. The first step to achieving equality and freedom for all Palestinians and Israelis is an end to the bloodshed.”
Tell your MP: Ceasefire Now
Join us in calling on our MPs to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and hostage exchange. Please use this form to write to your MP as a Jewish constituent and demand a ceasefire now, a hostage exchange, and adequate life-saving aid to Gaza. There is no justice in revenge, there is no military solution to this crisis. The first step to achieving equality and freedom for all Palestinians and Israelis is an immediate ceasefire and a hostage exchange.

CND & Stop the War


“UK-made military technology and equipment is being used by Israel in its ongoing bombardment of Gaza which is resulting in thousands of civilian deaths and injuries.

“Reports show that Israeli military actions are contravening international law, and international humanitarian law, and some actions may constitute war crimes. The UK is legally required to ensure that military equipment it transfers will not be used in such illegal or criminal actions. 

“This EDM calls on the government to stop all transfers of military equipment and technology to Israel and to suspend the issuing of new export licences.”
Ask your MP to sign EDM 177: Arms to Israel

Amnesty International


“Right now, civilian deaths in Gaza are rising at a staggering rate. The Israeli authorities' 16-year-long illegal and inhumane blockade has trapped 2.2 million people in Gaza, including children, the elderly, and disabled, under relentless bombardment by Israeli authorities. With nowhere to go, they face losing everything.

“After horrific attacks in Israel by Hamas and other armed groups that, according to Israeli authorities, resulted in 1,200 people killed and the abduction of civilians, at least 200 hostages held in Gaza also remain in danger, and ongoing indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel places civilians at risk.
“Humanitarian pauses of a few days will bring a brief respite. But halting the fighting for a matter of days is nowhere near enough to address the catastrophic suffering or relieve the horrifying harm to civilians.

“We must act now.”

Rishi Sunak: we demand an immediate ceasefire now
With countless lives being shattered, we can’t stay silent. Urge Rishi Sunak to call for an immediate ceasefire by all parties to help put an end to the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

Detail of a mural that recently appeared in Gloucester