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Stop Gaza genocide, urge health workers at Downing Street vigil

Hundreds of health workers and supporters have taken part in a silent procession and vigil outside 10 Downing Street calling for the Prime Minister to press for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The procession, organised by Health Workers for Palestine, began at Westminster Bridge on Saturday afternoon, in front of St Thomas’ Hospital, and finished at 10 Downing Street’s Whitehall entrance where speeches took place.

UK healthcare workers attended in uniform, holding small coffins bearing the names of children who have died.

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The procession was organised by Health Workers for Palestine (Lucy North/PA)

The protesters carried banners saying “Stop Israel’s Gaza genocide” as well as Palestinian flags.

The coffins were left on the ground opposite Downing Street as speakers took to the stage and the crowd chanted “ceasefire now” and “we believe that we will win”.

Speakers included Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Omar Abdel-Mannan, paediatric neurologist and co-founder of Health Workers for Palestine and Gaza Medic Voices, and Oxford City councillor Jabu Nala-Hartley.

Samah Khan, aged nine and from east London, wrote a rap which she performed on stage.

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A silent procession in central London (Lucy North/PA)

Beforehand, she said: “I am a nine-year-old girl and I know that there are loads of other nine-year-old girls in Gaza and they deserve what I have – food, water, medicine, a roof over their heads, but they don’t get that, but they deserve it.

“So my message to the Israel government is: How would you feel? How would you feel if you were in their position?

“And my message to the Palestinians is: We are with you, we are with you all the way.”

Dr Abdel-Mannan told the PA news agency: “We’re here today as health workers, as doctors, nurses, paramedics, working in the NHS, standing together united horrified by what is happening inside Gaza, targeting of hospitals, systematic targeting of healthcare facilities.

“We are here in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Gaza and to send a message to our Government that your silence is complicit in this genocide and you must think about stopping the arming of Israel and to stop this complete massacre that is happening and about to happen in Rafah.

“This is a silent procession to tell the Government that your silence is deafening and we will mirror that to show you that our numbers, and the people on the street, have had enough of watching this genocide unfold.”

Silent processions were also due to take place at the same time across the world, including in Toronto, Kuala Lumpur, San Diego, Johannesburg, Paris, Kolkata, Belfast and Dublin.

It comes after a Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7 in which 1,300 people were killed and more than 240 kidnapped, before Israel retaliated with months of attacks on the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding thousands.

The Palestinian death toll stands at almost 28,000 after four months of war, according to Gazan health officials.