Hundreds of human rights campaigners are expected to take to the streets of Britain in solidarity with the Palestinian cause and to raise money for besieged children in Gaza in the Big Ride for Palestine 2020 event.
Now in its sixth year, the Big Ride for Palestine 2020 will raise money for the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) which works with children who have been traumatised by the Israeli military occupation.
Campaigners are seeking to highlight human rights abuses suffered by Palestinians, especially those living in the besieged Gaza strip.
Last year’s event saw hundreds take part in the rides organised in Manchester and London and combining their love of cycling with passion and solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Although similar numbers are expected to participate again this year, the 2020 event will be structured differently due to coronavirus restrictions. Dozens of small scale rides have been planned across the UK. Participants can choose to complete a ‘Big Solidarity Ride’ of 36 or 44 miles between 27 July and 2 August. The distances represent the length of the military fence between Gaza and Israel and the military fence between Gaza, Israel and Egypt respectively.
Alternatively, riders can complete the ‘Big Ride Challenge’ which involves cycling 440 miles in the six weeks from 20 July to 30 August. This distance symbolises the length of the Separation Wall built by Israel in the occupied West Bank, which the United Nations Security Council and the International Criminal Court consider to be illegal.
Since 2015, the Big Ride has raised nearly £170,000 ($217,000) for sports equipment used in the healing and rehabilitation of children, a project run in partnership with MECA. Funds raised this years will also pay for the construction of a secure playground for Khuza’a Village in Gaza.
The event is supported by a number of campaigning organisations including Palestine Solidarity Campaign, War on Want, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Campaign Against Arms Trade. It has also been endorsed by Ambassador Husam Zomlot, head of Palestinian Mission to the UK.
Ben Jamal, director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “The Big Ride is a wonderful initiative that combines a love of cycling with raising awareness of the oppression of the Palestinian people. PSC is proud to be a supporter and we encourage anyone who is able to get involved this year.”
Owen Cooper, an organiser of the Big Ride, said: “Participating in The Big Ride enables a whole range of conversations to take place with friends, family and our wider community. This year, we are focusing on making annexation a live issue on the current political agenda. That’s why we’re asking riders and supporters to contact their MP and place pressure on the UK Government to take effective measures, including the use of sanctions when a country we trade with is breaking international law.”
(Source : Middle East Monitor [MEMO])