Hundreds of human rights campaigners from across the UK are set to take part in The Big Ride for Palestine 2020, an annual event combining a love of cycling with passion and solidarity with the Palestinian people. Last year’s event saw hundreds take part in the rides organized in Manchester and London.
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 taking place all over the UK, with participants given two options. They can choose to complete a ‘Big Solidarity Ride’ of 36 or 44 miles between Monday 27th July and Sunday 2nd August. The distances represent the length of the military fence between Gaza with 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 6 weeks from July 20th to August 30th. Organizers intend this distance to symbolize the length of the Separation Wall built by Israel in the West Bank, which the United Nations Security Council and the International Criminal Court consider being illegal. In line with this, The Big Ride 2020 intends to bring attention to Israel’s plans to annex large swathes of Palestinian land in the West Bank, a move that would be in breach of international law.
This year’s event is also raising money for the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA); a charity that specializes in working with children who have been traumatized by living under military occupation. Since 2015, The Big Ride has raised nearly £170,000 for sports equipment used in the healing and rehabilitation of children, a project run in partnership with MECA. This year, they are partnering to raise funds for the construction of a secure playground for Khuza’a Village in Gaza.
Campaigners are seeking to highlight human rights abuses suffered by Palestinian people, especially those living in the besieged Gaza strip
The event is supported by a number of campaigning organizations including the 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 organizer 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.”