MORE than 100 demonstrators packed part of Blackburn town centre yesterday, protesting over the continuing crisis in Gaza.
The multi-faith event was organised by the Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) and featured speakers and the adoption of a four-point resolution.
Penny Street, next to the new bus station, was closed off to traffic for two hours from 2pm yesterday while crowds gathered around a makeshift stage to hear the speeches.
Community Canon Shannon Ledbetter, who was among the speakers, led a prayer for all humanitarian crisis in the world and was followed by Rabbi Aaron Cohen.
The demonstrators adopted a four-point resolution at the end of the event which included a call for the violence to stop and to lift the siege of Gaza.
They also called for people to be helped to rebuild their homes and for Israel to listen to the international community.
Loud music preceded the speeches in front of a large crowd who were holding plaques, posters and flags.
Mounted police were present at both ends of the street, with beat bobbies around the main stage.
Chairman of Lancashire Council of Mosques Abdul Hamid Qureshi said: “The situation in Gaza at the moment is intolerable and cannot be allowed to continue. The international community need to sit up and listen to the people and realise that this needs to stop right now.
“It’s not about any faith in particular, it’s about humans and that there should not be killings like this anywhere. Thousands of people have been affected by the crisis and that should stop.”
Blackburn with Darwen councillor Hussain Akhtar said: “We are not here as any faith but as Blackburnians. This is about raising awareness in the community and sending a strong message to the government.
“I hope that this demonstration will have a big impact and make a difference.”
Canon Ledbetter said: “I’m here to pray for all humanitarian crises in the world. It’s about raising awareness of the crises that are currently going on so that they are not forgotten or made light of.”
Inspector John Fryer, of Blackburn Police said: “It was a peaceful event and there were no problems during the two hours.”