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Protest stops IDF colonel giving talk

January 30th, 2009 · post by tommy · Make a comment

All photos by: Fil - www.flickr.com/photos/filkaler/

Yesterday a publicity meeting in London for an IDF colonel, Geva Rapp, was disrupted by over 100 protestors. The meeting had been called so the colonel could advertise his pro-war book and talk about the recent Israeli invasion of Gaza. The following is a first person account of what happened at the demonstration on Euston Road.

I got a message yesterday, ‘Urgent demo! Israeli deputy commander of ground forces in Gaza, Geva Rapp, speaking tonight’ Despite only receiving it a few hours in advance, I knew it was something I had to attend.

I arrived soon after 6pm, with the demonstration already in full swing, with a mild scrap occurring between a policeman and a friend.

idf-colonel-sit-down
Protestors hold a sit down in Euston Road

Geva Rapp, the focus of this protest, an Israeli army (IDF) colonel, was in town to promote his book, a pro-war chronicling of his military career. The talk by Rapp hadn’t been publicised in advance for fear of protest, but details were leaked.

And after it leaked the pressure provided by the amassed protesters, forced the meeting to be canceled, and according to a number of sources, he didn’t even leave his hotel room.
Protestors are moved on by the police
Protestors are moved on by police

One thing that struck me was the number of people who had come together with such short notice, there were at least 100 people in attendance. There may have been many more. And what was largely a peaceful protest was, predictably, met by unnecessarily heavy handed police, leading to a handful of arrests.

The most notable occurrence of the evening was the scaling of the building’s exterior by a demonstrator sporting an anti-war protest board, and started banging on the first floor windows, much to the bemusement of the police, who unsuccessfully attempted to remove him from his position. He only relinquished his position when the cancellation of the meeting was announced. Not surprisingly when he got down he was bundled away by the police.

idf-colonel-spider-man
The man who climbed to the first floor

After the cancellation was announced most people wanted to leave. Frustratingly when trying to go, many of the remaining protesters were penned in by police, who grabbed a few members of the crowd at random, giving no reasons, much to the bewilderment of those of us who were close by.

Overall, it was a useful, if not quiet demonstration, which hopefully reiterated to this high-ranking Israeli official, just how opposed to the siege on Gaza the population of the world continues to be.

Another interesting article about last night can be found on the Commune.

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