A BRAMLEY resident has held a hunger strike to ‘increase awareness and engagement’ of the conflict in Gaza.

Katie James held a hunger strike for 24 hours from 8pm from Friday, January 12 to 8pm on Saturday, January 13 in her home and Basingstoke town centre to peacefully protest for Palestinians in Gaza facing starvation.

The 61-year-old said: “I felt helpless and like I had no power, and when I talked to other people, they also felt the same. Starvation is a huge issue facing Gazans, with 50 per cent being starved so the hunger strike felt like an appropriate way to protest.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Katie James held a hunger strike to raise awareness of Palestinians in Gaza

“It felt like I was displaying empathy for the Palestinians, and I think most people have sympathy for that.”

Katie, who is retired, but previously worked as an occupational health nurse, says she ‘feels it’s important to stand against things and support humanitarian rights’.

Katie participated in the strike with five other people on social media, with residents of Jordan, Turkey and Egypt taking part.

She documented her experiences on Facebook, to encourage other people to take part and post it online.

During her hunger strike, Katie sat in The Malls with a sign which read: “Today I’m doing a 24hr hunger strike for Gaza in solidarity with them because one in two Palestinians or one million people in Gaza are starving, 50 per cent are children.

“You can join in and miss a meal today and post about it please.”

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Katie told the Gazette: “I wanted to increase awareness and engagement, so I decided to do it on a Saturday as the town centre is quite busy.

“It also means people can help out from home, it’s accessible to people that are disabled, or young people."

Katie's husband, Cllr Ian James, who is a member of Bramley Parish Council, also participated in the hunger strike, which Katie says will become a semi-regular occurrence.

For more information on Katie's hunger strike, see her Facebook post here