British kids and parents bury government office with toys representing dead Palestinian children
A child adds a teddy bear to the pile outside Britain's Foreign Office in a plea for the children of Gaza last Friday. | Photo via Morning Star

LONDON—In a particularly heart-wrenching protest action outside the British Foreign Office Friday, hundreds of children and their parents laid out cuddly toys across the entrance in response to the U.K. government’s refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Each toy represented a Palestinian child killed by the Israeli bombardment, supported by the British government, Parents for Palestine said. Children pinned teddy bears and other toys to the gates of the government department in London, while the names of the 3,000 children killed in Gaza were read out.

By the end of the weekend, the number 3,000 was already sorely out of date, as Israel launched a lethal new stage in its assault on Gaza. Internet and power were cut on Friday as aerial bombardments pounded seemingly every inch of Gaza and Israeli ground forces stormed across the border in a number of raids.

The parents in London demanded the government end arms sales to the Israeli state and call for an immediate ceasefire. Kate Joseph of Parents for Palestine said: “We cannot imagine the pain and fear that parents in Gaza are going through. “Every child everywhere deserves safety—every single life is sacred.”

Crying, she asked, “How are we to explain to our children that our government is actively endorsing the murder of children in Palestine? That we are exporting bombs and refusing to call for a ceasefire?”

Clare Welton, a mother of two who led a chant of “shame” against the government, said Britain is “saying OK to arms companies increasing their sales to Israel at this time.

“What we want to see is the U.K. end its exports to Israel now and push immediately for a ceasefire, an end to the siege and the occupation of Palestine.”

Protest organizer Annie Dowd, a mother of three, said the group was formed 48 hours before the action, as they were “absolutely horrified.”

“As a mom, I can’t stomach recent events—I can’t see another Palestinian baby pulled out of the rubble,” she said.

This is an abridged version of a story that appeared in Morning Star.

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Roger McKenzie
Roger McKenzie

Roger McKenzie is the International Editor of Morning Star, Britain’s daily socialist newspaper.