Peace campaigners to stage vigil outside office of Labour MP
A group of peace campaigners will stage a vigil outside the office of a Welsh Labour MP tonight in the hope of persuading her to call for a ceasefire in the Middle East.
Local residents, parents and students have joined together to form ‘Cardiff Central Residents for a Ceasefire Now’.
At 6pm on Thursday (November 2) the group will gather outside the office of their MP, Jo Stevens and ask her to call for an end to the bombing in Gaza.
The Gaza Strip has been hit by devastating Israeli air strikes in retaliation to Hamas militants who launched an attack on Israel on October 7.
Critics have accused Israel of indiscriminately killing civilians and committing war crimes by cutting off essential supplies like food, water and fuel.
Labour Leader, Sir Kier Starmer has so far refused to back calls for an end to the Israel-Hamas conflict which has led to bitter division within his own party.
Several Senedd Members have broken ranks to support a ceasefire along with Wales’ minister for health Eluned Morgan who called for peace in the Middle East at the weekend.
However, 19 out of 20 Welsh Labour MPs, including Jo Stevens have continued to follow the party line on the conflict.
Shadow cabinet minister Liz Kendall has suggested that Labour MPs who defy party leader Sir Keir Starmer by calling for a ceasefire will not face action.
The shadow work and pension secretary told Sky News the leadership will continue to listen and engage with critics of Sir Keir’s stance.
Asked if they will face disciplinary action, she said: “That’s not been the approach… that’s not the approach we’ve taken.
“Keir’s position is the right one, and I actually think, if you look across our party, our desire to end the killing, to make sure we get that aid in and the hostages out, and that long-term goal of a two-state solution, is something that we all agree on.”
Members of Cardiff Central Residents for a Ceasefire Now say that in remaining silent, their MP is “effectively supporting war crimes”.
Adam Johannes, an Adamsdown resident and secretary of Cardiff Stop the War Coalition said: “Silence is the real crime against humanity. Over the last three weeks Israel has dropped more bombs on Gaza than the United States dropped on Afghanistan in an entire year at the peak of the war.
“Gaza is a small strip of land of just over 2 million people covering a much smaller area than Wales. Gaza one of the most densely populated places on earth.
“The majority of its people are refugee families who once lived for generations in what is now Israel, and half its are population children.”
Bethan Sayed, Former Senedd Member said: “According to Save the Children, the number of Palestinian children killed in Gaza in the last three weeks – over 3,400 dead, over 1,000 reported missing – exceeds the annual number of children killed across all the world’s conflict zones since 2019. 40% of Palestinians who died in Gaza this month were children.
“While over a third of the Welsh Parliament, including Senedd Members from Labour, Plaid, LibDems and Tories are now calling for an immediate lifting of the siege of Gaza, it’s unconscionable that our First Minister and all four Cardiff MPs, including my own MP Jo Stevens, are not calling for an end to these massacres.
“As a mother and a constituent I beg Jo Stevens to raise her voice to end this genocidal violence, and instead work for a just peace based on ending the occupation, lifting the siege, ending apartheid and letting the refugees return home. Ceasefire Now!”
Sarah Jones, a mother and researcher living in Cathays said: “I am attending the vigil with my 20 month old toddler. As a mother I can no longer stand to hear of children being killed by Israel’s relentless bombing, of families being torn apart, and to hear of the complete failure of the opposition party to take a stand on this issue.
“It is very clear that Israel is committing war crimes against people living in Gaza, including targeting civilians, imposing a total siege, and using internationally banned white phosphorous.
“As a former Labour voter I am absolutely disgusted by Labour’s complete failure to stand as a united voice of conscience against the genocide that is currently being committing against the people of Gaza. Calling for a ceasefire is the obvious choice and I am appalled that Jo Stevens has so far failed to do this.
“I urge her, and all people of conscience, to consider how history will judge us at this moment, to call for a ceasefire and help end the complete hell on earth that millions of innocents are currently facing in Gaza.”
Jo Stevens MP was invited to comment.
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