Demonstrators in Forres call for ceasefire and 'end to genocide' in Gaza
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DEMONSTRATORS gathered on Forres High Street on Saturday to call for a ceasefire and an 'end to genocide' in Gaza.
Around 40 people came together with a banner that read 'stop Gaza genocide' and Palestine flags to urge the UK Government to call for a ceasefire. The Scottish Government has already done so.
According to figures provided by the Hamas-run health ministry, more than 7000 people in the Gaza Strip – which is 25 miles long and seven miles wide – have been killed since October 7.
That is the date when Hamas, who govern the occupied territory, crossed into Israel and killed more than 1000 civilians.
Calls for a ceasefire have been made by many countries worldwide – but the UK and United States are yet to do so. That's what compelled Rayne Gadalla, the demonstration's organiser, to take to the streets.
Rayne, who has lived in Forres since moving to the town with her mother Nahed in 1992, has long been a supporter of the Palestinian cause.
She said: "What we are seeing is genocide. Most countries in the world want to call for a ceasefire, but unfortunately the UK and the US are enabling this to continue. That's why I'm here.
"I don't want a genocide to happen without people knowing that not everybody agrees with it, and without knowing that I have done everything I can to stop it.
"Under the guise of 'Israel has a right to defend itself' what we are seeing is over 7000 people bombed while they are sleeping, in supermarkets, in hospitals and in bakeries.
"I'm not a political person. We just want to end children being bombed in their beds. It's as simple as that."
The Forres demonstration was organised at short notice as part of a wider group of protests taking place across Scotland. Demonstrations took place in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling and Greenock.
Nahed Gadalla said that she was taking to the street because the UK Government "doesn't speak for her".
Nahed, who originally moved to Forres in 1981, said: "I do not condone the death of any person – child, adult, woman or man. People think it's a religious thing – it isn't.
"Palestine existed with Christians, Jews and Muslims. There are a lot of Israelis who are completely against the bombing of Gaza. There are millions of Jews coming out against this.
"What is happening now in Gaza, under international law, is a crime against humanity. We must call for an immediate and complete ceasefire – an end to this genocide.
"You have 2.3 million people in a stretch of land than runs the equivalent of from Forres to Inverness and to the sea. 40 per cent of people who live there are children. It's been under blockade for 16 years, people can't get in or out.
"The Israeli Government has control of water, food and electricity – what they are doing is a humanitarian crime, withholding those things from civilians.
"More than 7000 civilians have been killed by blanket bombing. They are people just like you and me. Imagine the population of Forres, and then just about everyone wiped out.
"The UK doesn't speak for me, any of the people here, the 300,000 that gathered in London, the 25,000 in Glasgow or the millions around the world."
The duo were pleased with the turnout for the demonstration and said they received generous support from passers-by throughout their 90 minutes outside The Tolbooth.
"We thought it would just be us two holding a banner, so this is brilliant," Nahed added.