London demonstration demands ceasefire in Gaza and boycott of brands associated with Israel

Demonstrators in and around Oxford Street are protesting against retailers like Puma, Hewlett-Packard, and Axa.

Hundreds of people marched along Oxford Street in London, demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and a boycott of “Israel-linked” brands. The busy shopping district came to a standstill days before Christmas.

“While a genocide is happening, there can be no Christmas as usual,” wrote the organizers and activist group Sisters Uncut on social media. They called for a boycott of brands such as Puma, HP, and Axa.

The group stated, “By disrupting the flow of capital, we strike at the heart of the brutal occupation. In solidarity with the Palestinian people, we will continue to shut it down.” They shared videos of protesters holding Palestinian flags and placards, and chanting “shut it down” outside Puma.

Protesters outside two Zara stores chanted, “While you’re shopping, bombs are dropping” and “Zara, Zara, you can’t hide, stop supporting genocide,” referring to Israel’s retaliatory campaign in Gaza, which has resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry.

Since the conflict began, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of the capital to call for a permanent ceasefire, putting pressure on the UK government and the Labour party, both of which have called for a sustainable cessation of hostilities in Gaza.

This action came a day after the UN Security Council passed a resolution, supported by all council members except the US and Russia, calling for large-scale delivery of aid to Gaza to address the imminent threat of famine and deadly epidemics. The resolution, put forward by the United Arab Emirates, did not demand a suspension of hostilities.

In response to criticism that its advertising campaign resembled destruction in Gaza, Zara discontinued the campaign. The fast fashion brand, owned by Inditex, expressed regret over the “misunderstanding” about the images, which were conceived and photographed before the conflict began and intended to depict a sculptor’s studio.

Earlier this month, the hashtag #BoycottZara trended as social media users criticized the campaign’s images, including a mannequin wrapped in white material and damaged statues. Zara stated that the campaign showcased craftmade garments in an artistic context and has been discontinued in the UK.

Zara, Puma, HP, and Axa have been contacted for comment.

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