A CONVOY of more than 40 vehicles which travelled from Blackburn to Bradford to raise awareness of the situation in Palestine has been hailed a success by organisers.
The Drive For Justice, arranged by Blackburn-based not-for-profit group Youth On A Mission, saw dozens of cars and motorbikes cross into Yorkshire on Saturday to join up with demonstrators there.
The same group also staged a peaceful protest outside the Tesco superstore in Hill Street, Blackburn, on Sunday, calling on customers to boycott the retailer because it stocked Israeli goods.
Tesco said that, like all major UK retailers it sourced some of its products from the country and all its products were clearly marked with the country of origin, so customers could make informed choices about what to buy.
The convoy of East Lancashire residents left Corporation Park, in Preston New Road, at 11.30am on Saturday and travelled via Birch Services and Hartshead Moor Services on the M62 to Centenary Square in Bradford, where hundreds of people marched to two Tesco stores in the city.
Asif Mahmud, from Blackburn, said supporters had travelled from Burnley and Brierfield to join the event.The 43-year-old said: “We started a campaign about three weeks ago during the escalation of the conflict. We have joined demonstrations in Salford, Manchester and Preston.
“We came up with the idea to arrange a convoy to different protests and there was a lot of interest from around East Lancashire.
“It’s largely co-ordinated on social media and mainly involves people under the age of 30. We are very grateful to West Yorkshire Police who gave us an escort during the last leg into Bradford.”
Mr Mahmud said there were plans by other groups to stage demonstrations in Blackburn town centre this Saturday.
Regarding the boycott of Tesco, he said: “The major supermarkets are directly or indirectly trading with Israel and stock products which are sourced from illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine.
“Our protests are entirely peaceful.”
A spokeswoman for Tesco said: “Like all major UK retailers, we sell some products that are sourced from Israel.
“We do this in line with the Government position on trade with Israel, and we mark all products clearly with the country of origin, so customers can make informed choices about what to buy.”
A banner backing the boycott has been hanging from the derelict Duke of Edinburgh pub, which faces Tesco in Crabtree Street, since July 20.