Hundreds turn up to support Free Palestine protest in Christchurch Park
- Credit: Aviha Begum
A Free Palestine protest, focused on the human rights aspect of the Israeli conflict, was attended by an estimated 200 hundred people in Ipswich this weekend.
Aviha Begum, a student at Suffolk One, was passionate enough to coordinate the protest on Saturday, June 5, despite having no previous experience or ever having attended one before.
"The turnout was amazing," the 17-year-old said. "I thought we would get around 100 people, but it was around 200 by the end.
"It all went very smoothly and a lot of people joined the protest when we moved into the town centre — cars were stopping to beep their horns for us and people coming out of restaurants to clap for us."
The teen was apprehensive as there aren't a great number of protests held in Ipswich, however she wanted to raise awareness about the human rights issues being faced by Palestinians without getting involved in arguments over politics or religion.
Her friend and owner of Nothing Better Than Desserts, Afsana Begum, made cupcakes to raise money, with the proceeds going directly to Palestinians impacted by the conflict.
Aviha, who was born in Bangladesh but moved to Ipswich at just eight months old, designed all the posters herself and coordinated with local police to ensure the protest could go ahead.
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She did this alongside studying for her Year 12 exams in psychology, biology and English Literature.
She added: "I talked to people in local communities and there were so many who turned up, Turkish, Syrian, Kurdish, Bangladeshi — it was amazing to see them come out and show their love and support in that way."
Many members of her own family also attended the protest.