The bikers arrived at the Pavilion in Hanley Heritage Park around 6.00 pm. Wearing colourful BBR t-shirts and with Palestinian flags held aloft, and a diverse crowd to welcome the bikers, was an inspiring sight. They were greeted by Cllr Amjid Wazir, the chair of the City Centre Mosque, and Imam Amir, who emphasized how they felt at one with the bikers in their desire for justice for Palestine and shared their pain. This was no idle comment. Local Muslims identify strongly with Palestinians from their experience of dispossession and separation.
The BBR is organized solely by volunteers and one spoke movingly of how, when she became an advocate for Palestine, her Jewish family turned its back.
Most bikers had accommodation at a Staffordshire University Hall of Residence a few slept at Equality Hall.
Members of the mosque had raised money to feed going on three hundred people and very good it was too! A small exhibition, and various leaflets about Palestine, provided a backdrop for the sale of Palestinian products which did well.
The next morning bilkers gathered at Equality Hall for breakfast. The hall showed no signs of the previous evening and tables were laid out with cereals, fruit, juice, tea and coffee. A few more short speeches and the bikers streamed off down the road, on their way to Manchester where a big reception was planned. For everyone involved I think I can say with equivocation, the whole event was inspiring.
There is an expectation that when all the money is counted, it will have reached £30,000. It will reaffirm to residents of the West Bank and Gaza that they are not forgotten and protests the use of JCB equipment in the West Bank and Gaza Gaza will continue.
For more information, reference the website of the Middle East Children’s Alliance and the Amos Trust.