This Saturday saw “Free Palestine” protesters target the BBC at MediaCityUK over claims of biased coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

There have been several similar protest movements around the world since the conflict intensified on 10 May this year.

The conflict was escalated by the storming of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem by the Israeli Police force. This happening just days before Eid Al-Fitr, one of the most important days in the Muslim Calendar.

In the 11 days of intensified conflict, 248 Palestinians were killed by Israeli air and artillery strikes including 66 children more than 1900 were wounded. Rockets fired by Hamas killed at least 12 people in Israel, including two children.

A ceasefire was called between the two sides on the 21st of May, though many on both sides believe that there is no end to the conflict in sight.

The protest at MediaCityUK on May 29th was organised by the group Manchester Youth for Palestine, a newly formed group of young political activists.

One of the attendees of the protest was 16-year-old Abdelrahman Abouzeid, who has been at many of the recent protests across greater Manchester.

25-year-old, Tanzeela Aurangzeb from Whalley Range who also attended Saturday’s protest at MediaCityUK said: “The BBC is not posting about what is going on in Palestine and the little that they do post is very biased.

“I think it is not just the BBC but other outlets as well, hopefully, our protest put a bit of pressure on the media.”

On the same subject, Abdelrahman Abouzeid said this: “The media coverage has been unfair from the beginning; censorship has been insane and illogical.

“I haven’t turned on the Television to see any of what is happening in Palestine and it has been happening for 73 years. People are being killed and kicked out of their own houses, hospitals are being destroyed by airstrikes.

“It is very unfair and infuriating for the people of Palestine.”

Social Media sites such as Facebook have become more important in the organisation of protest movements over the past year as we have seen with the Black Lives Matter movement.

‘Manchester Youth for Palestine’ social media pages were used to organise the march and protest at MediaCityUK and helped many young engage in their first protests and political activism.

Tanzeela said: “Right now Social Media is really important, from working with young people I know that social media is their main way of contacting each other.

Protesters outside the BBC. Credit: Archie Richards.

Abdelrahman said: “If the media isn’t going to cover the conflict properly then the only way I can see it is by people there showing us live streams or people speaking about what is happening on social media. The thing about social media is that there is no direct influence on what you see by the government or any large corporations

“It is just a place for individuals to speak about what they think is right and when you see thousands of individuals on Social Media talking about and getting involved with the ‘Free Palestine’ movement, that’s when you start to question why major news outlets aren’t doing the same. To me, social media is a great place to find unbiased opinions.”

The protest at MediaCityUK on Saturday was led by Manchester Youth for Palestine, groups such as these have seen many young people such as Abdelrahman get involved in some of their first political activism.

Tanzeela had attended ‘Free Palestine’ protests before the recent growth in the protest movement but not as consistently as she is now. She said: “I work with young people and it is a very big passion of mine.

“We should be supporting young people and empowering them, if they have support from older people they will be more encouraged to carry on and continue to engage with the debate.”

He said: “Have the recent protests mobilized young people? Definitely. Am I surprised? Not really. It is always the young people who have the energy. When Apartheid was going on in South Africa, there were many young people who got involved in anti-apartheid protests. The people who led those movements were young people.

“I am seeing more and more people attending the protests and getting involved in the debate and most of them are young people.”

'Free Palestine' protesters
‘Free Palestine’ Protesters at MediaCityUK Credit: Archie Richards.

When asked whether he had learned more about the conflict between Israel and Palestine since the protests began Abdelrahman said this: “Personally, no because I was raised in an Arab Muslim household and lived in Egypt for five years and the concept of the Israel-Palestine conflict has been well-known and discussed across many Muslim and Arab countries for 73 years.

“Being completely honest, I would love to see the protests continue but I don’t actually expect to see them continue.

“Kind of like the Black Lives Matter protests we saw in the spring and summer last year; the protest will probably continue for a month or two but no doubt they will die down eventually over time.

“Obviously, I would love to see it carry on, but I don’t think it is going to happen. It is the people that keep pushing after the movement has died down, those are the people that actually make a big difference.”

Tanzeela said: “I hope that the protests do continue because the more that we are using our voices the more likely it is that we will see change.

“The people in Palestine have been silenced so we have to be their voice, we should be carrying it on.”

Watch the Interview with Abdelrahman here.

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