HUNDREDS of protesters marched through Southend High Street calling for a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Palestine which las led to thousands of deaths. 

It was one of dozens of marches held across the UK at the weekend, promoted by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Patrons include former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and writer Benjamin Zephaniah.

Sarah Choudhry, 46, of Chadwick Road, Southend, marched with her husband and their three children through the High Street on Sunday. 

She described it as a peaceful march which was family friendly.

Mrs Choudhry told the Echo: “More than 300 people turned out. 

“Southend is a diverse city, so it was a real mix, including white people, black people, Pakistanis, and British Hindus. 

“There was also a Jewish speaker, who said it was important we don’t hide away in fear and that we speak up.”


Protestors carried placards which called for peace on both sides. However, there was a sense of frustration at those calls being seemingly ignored by the government.

Sarah, whose husband’s family emigrated from Pakistan in the 1960s, said: “We held a march two weeks ago, but it doesn’t do anything. The government isn’t listening.”

“But what else can we do? My conscience won’t allow me to not say anything. We have no power – all we have is our voices.”


Mrs Choudhry and other residents sent letters to Southend West MP Anna Firth, urging her to push for a ceasefire.

Ms Firth told the Echo: “Israel has a right to defend itself, and when Israel is still facing rocket fire on an almost daily basis, and when its citizens, alongside British citizens, are still being held hostage by Hamas there can be no grounds for a unilateral ceasefire.

"Hamas has no interest in a ceasefire, reaching a resolution, or attempting to engage in a two-state solution and have reiterated their intentions, stating clearly that they will repeat the October 7 attack time and time again until Israel are annihilated. Israel cannot reasonably be expected to deviate from its duty to protect its citizens in these circumstances.”


There was a mixed response from shoppers on Sunday, as a couple of hecklers followed the march while carrying Israeli flags. However, there was no disturbances or violence as seen at other recent marches.

On Armistice Day, November 11, 300,000 protesters marched through London in support of Palestine. 145 people were arrested in total, at least 90 of whom were described as “far-right counter-protestors”.