The University of York’s Amnesty International Society staged a demonstration on Saturday 3 February in Parliament Square to raise awareness of the existing situation in Palestine.
A group of students led by Nina Gora, Co-Chair of Amnesty International Society, together with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), staged a ‘checkpoint’ aiming to alert the people of York to the problems in the occupied territories of the West Bank. The ‘checkpoint’ imitates a system of concrete walls and wire fencing scattered throughout the West Bank to curtail the movement of Palestinians.
Florence Perrett, a third year student said: “I feel very passionately about the situation in Palestine. People do not know enough to do something about it, and this visualises it for the public.”
An attending member of the PSC said, “in the West, we have no idea; normal Palestinians cannot go to school, the shops, even go to hospital to have a baby because of these checkpoints.” Two campaigners in military costumes, armed with imitation guns, stood in front of the barrier posing as Israeli soldiers. Members of the group queued up in a line and then walked up to the pair, who asked them for their permit and searched every person.
The two ‘soldiers’ simulated the alleged brutality of Israeli soldiers at times by making people wait for long periods with their hands in the air, or on the floor with their hands behind them. The public were also encouraged to join in. Gora said, “this is an everyday reality for Palestinians. In the West we completely take freedom of movement for granted. The international boycott is on the oppressed not the oppressor, which is absolutely ridiculous.”