Holocaust walk attracts hundreds

Lord Mayor Andy Matchet leads the Stand up to Hatred walk through Coventry

January 25, 2009

MORE than 500 people marched through Coventry city centre to mark national Holocaust Memorial Day.

Supporters of Gaza attended the march, held only a week after the end of an Israeli military campaign which left more than 1,000 dead in the region.

Led by Lord Mayor Andy Matchet the crowd walked from The Belgrade Theatre to the old cathedral on Saturday afternoon.

Cllr Matchet said: “Coventry is a rich and diverse city which is home to people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds where for centuries people have come to build and enjoy a better life.

“This is why it is fitting that Coventry is hosting the Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations – which this year has a theme of standing up to hatred – as we have as a city a strong reputation for building a vibrant multicultural community.

Lord Mayor Andy Matchet asked for protest banners to be put away
“The ruins of our cathedral – where this walk will end – still stand proud and dignified in the centre of our city providing us all with a daily reminder of the horror of war and man’s inhumanity to man.

“The walk is not a protest march but a coming together to give a statement that we are all committed to stand up to hatred in its many forms.”

Before setting off on the march Cllr Matchet asked walkers to put away any banners.

But on arrival at the cathedral walkers were greeted with a banner branding Israel’s recent military action in Gaza an ‘atrocity’.

It read: ‘No more atrocities – the holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Palestine’.

Sol Picciotto, a member of Jews for Justice for Palestine, was handing out flyers on behalf of his organisation.

He said: “It’s important to us as Jews to point out that the Holocaust is not a unique event.

“We would not say that what is happening in Palestine is like the Holocaust but we would certainly say it is an atrocity.”

A man sells the Socialist Worker at Saturday's march

Andy Pettit, chairman of Coventry’s Stop the War Coalition, said: “We wanted to take part and highlight what has gone on in Gaza.

“The holocaust that took place against the Jews was terrible but it cannot be used to justify the atrocities that have been committed against Palestine in the last three weeks.”

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