In Manchester, the non-violent demonstrations demanding UK action against the Israeli state’s policies of Apartheid and Ethnic cleansing have been met continuously with aggressive and threatening Zionist supporters of Israel as well as violent repression by the Greater Manchester Police. So far 11 people on protests supporting Palestine have been arrested.

On Monday, 15th September 2014, two more were charged with a public order offence and one additionally with assault of an police officer. Both persons deny all the charges. At Manchester magistrates court there were a large number showing solidarity with the defendants outside and accompanied them inside. A witness called the charges, “completely baseless to anyone who saw what happened and clearly the result of a political decision to stifle these protests”

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The trial is set for 9th December in Manchester Magistrates Court. We demand that the council drop the charges against all those arrested and for an end to the criminalisation of protests calling for justice for Palestinians. The Manchester council, GMP and Zionist efforts to pressure them are complicit in the crackdown on our right to protest and the biased criminalisation solely of protesters supporting justice in Palestine. Our protests and calls for boycott of those complicit in war crimes are not criminal acts.

The crimes against humanity are the occupation of Palestine, the ongoing attacks on and killing of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, the continuing expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and suffocating siege on Gaza. We demand an end to UK complicity in these crimes and we demand the freedom to protest Israel’s apartheid system and ethnic cleansing on the Streets of Manchester. Any person of conscience would demand the same.