ACTIVISTS marched silently along the seafront in a “spontaneous outpouring” of will for worldwide peace.
The first Brighton for Peace march started at the Peace Statue in Hove and ended at Concorde 2 for an afternoon of music and dance.
Organisers said the event, on Sunday, was originally prompted by the Israel-Gaza conflict but had taken on a wider, apolitical remit.
Adam Gill, 32, one of the organisers, said: “I believe that instead of taking a particular side the message of peace is a particularly poignant one.
“We are showing that people can stand up and do something without it having to be in conflict with something else.”
He planned to tell walkers: “We are gathered here today under a symbol of peace to demonstrate solidarity with humankind around the world who are suffering as a result of conflict.
“This is not a political walk – we are not allied with any side, religion, or organisation anywhere in the world. Rather this is a humanitarian walk, giving the people of Brighton the chance to come together for peace.
“If people approach us as we walk, please hand them a flyer and give them a smile, but do maintain your silence. This is different, it will be powerful.”
The event raised money for the Disasters Emergency Committee, which helps people in humanitarian crises around the world.
DJ and Brighton-resident Adam Freeland was set to perform alongside Hidden Orchestra, Carnival Collective and the English Disco Lovers at the volunteer-run event.
Among those preparing to set off at the Peace Statue was Kate Genevieve, 32, from Hove. She said: “I hope that humans can be much more, that we can do more than repeat the cycle of violence.
“I like the joyfulness of this gathering and that people have not spiralled into cynicism and pessimism.”
Spike Higgs, 36, wrote on a white ribbon attached to the peace float: “We are not part of this war, we are brothers and sisters and if we kill each other in war then we are killing ourselves.”
She added: “I cannot believe there is so much hatred because of territory and things, it is just awful.”
Campaign supports the Israelis
CAMPAIGNERS rallied to show their support for Israel amid mounting criticism of the state’s latest military action in Gaza.
About 200 people attended the National Rally for Israel and Peace organised by Sussex Friends of Israel in Victoria Gardens, Brighton on Sunday afternoon.
More than 1,900 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed in fighting that began on July 8, the latest round of extreme violence in the long-running conflict.
Supporters in Brighton yesterday spoke of the state’s “right to defend itself” against rocket attacks from Gaza’s government Hamas and hit out at a “biased” media which they felt downplayed atrocities committed by the other side.
Israel supporter Robert Conway, 45, of Hertfordshire, said his daughter was serving in the Israeli army and he had lived there between the age of 11 and 14.
He said: “I would like to see Hamas deposed and the Palestinian Authority take over Gaza. Hamas is an abomination - they are like ISIS.”
Speakers at the rally included retired British army colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, who said Israel had an “obligation” to defend itself and Britain would do the same in its place.
The mayor of Israeli settlement Efrat, Oded Revivi, also spoke, highlighting Prime Minister David Cameron’s article in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph warning of the domestic and international threat of ISIS extremists.
“We don’t want these extremists in our country either,” Mayor Revivi said.
The rally also heard from bereaved mother Rebecca Bat Raphael, a member of the Israeli Palestinian Bereaved Families Forum, whose son was killed by Hamas in 1994.
Joe Donnell, 46, travelled from his home in Sheffield for the event.
He said: “If somebody throws bricks in your window, are you supposed to allow that to happen or are you supposed to defend your property?
“For me the whole basis of my Christianity is rooted in Israel.”
Mr Donnell was threatened with arrest for shouting ‘Nazi scum’ at the group of about 15 Palestine counter-protestors. Insults were traded on both sides.
Some of the pro-Palestine contingent used a megaphone to read out the names of Palestinians who had been killed.