Tens of thousands take part in London protest for Gaza ceasefire

By John Mercury November 26, 2023

Tens of thousands of people have taken part in a mass protest in central London to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

An estimated 45,000 protesters marched from Park Lane to Whitehall on Saturday carrying banners and placards, as police handed out leaflets that provided them with “absolute clarity” over what would land them in a cell.

A total of 18 people were arrested.

Follow live: Israel-Gaza latest

Metropolitan Police said those arrested included four people who were handing out literature that featured a swastika inside a Star of David.

Another man was arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred as the demonstration began.

Two other people were arrested for wearing green headbands with white Arabic script – similar to those worn by Hamas, police said.

Police officers handcuff a demonstrator who resisted a search, at a protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, during a temporary truce between Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Israel, in London, Britain, November 25, 2023. REUTERS/Hollie Adams

Shortly before 5pm, a “breakaway group” began to march up Whitehall. They were all detained for setting off flares, which had earlier also been directed at officers, police said.

Six people were arrested for refusing directions to disperse the area under Section 35 of the Public Order Act.

Ade Adelekan, Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner, acknowledged the majority of people who “exercised their right to protest lawfully”, but added that a “small minority” believed the law did not apply to them.

The demonstrations came during a four-day break in fighting between Israel and Hamas.

People take part in the National March for Palestine, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in central London to call for a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Picture date: Saturday November 25, 2023.
People take part in the National March for Palestine, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in central London to call for a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Picture date: Saturday November 25, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Israel. Photo credit should read: Lucy North/PA Wire

Later in the day, Qatari and Egyptian mediators and the IDF said Hamas had released 13 Israelis and four Thai hostages in exchange for dozens of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

The release looked uncertain for several hours as Hamas delayed the process, saying Israel had violated the terms of the truce deal over the amount of aid reaching northern Gaza.

Read more:
Israeli forces fire tear gas at West Bank crowds
Why is Qatar involved in negotiations between Israel and Hamas?
Who are the first 13 Israeli hostages released by Hamas?

Ahead of the weekend, the Met said more than 1,500 officers would be on duty, including 500 from outside of London, as part of a “robust intervention” to any criminal activity.

Mr Adelekan said ahead of the march: “Anyone who is racist or incites hatred against any group should expect to be arrested. As should anyone who supports Hamas or any other banned organisation.”

Demonstrators hold signs, as they protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, during a temporary truce between Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Israel, in London, Britain, November 25, 2023. REUTERS/Hollie Adams
Police officers stand guard in Whitehall, at a protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, during a temporary truce between Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Israel, in London, Britain, November 25, 2023. REUTERS/Hollie Adams

In Mayfair, hundreds of people gathered outside the Egyptian Embassy for a demonstration by the Islamic group Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

The crowd chanted “Muslim armies isn’t it time, Free Free Palestine,” according to a statement by the group, and men, women and children, held signs that read “Muslim Armies! Liberate Palestine!” and “US & UK Hands Off The Middle East”.

Two women were arrested at the 90-minute static protest on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences over messaging on placards.

Police officers stand guard near the Palace of Westminster in Whitehall, as people protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, during a temporary truce between Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Israel, in London, Britain, November 25, 2023. REUTERS/Hollie Adams
Image:
Officers stand guard near the Palace of Westminster in Whitehall

People take part in the National March for Palestine, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in Trafalgar Square, central London to call for a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Picture date: Saturday November 25, 2023.

It was the group’s first protest since 21 October when a video that emerged of a man chanting “jihad” prompted backlash from politicians.

On Sunday, a 90-minnute march has been organised by charity Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is expected to be attended by around 40,000 to 50,000 people.

source

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *