London police arrest over 120 people as pro-Palestinian demonstration sparks counter-protests

Natalie Portman
By Natalie Portman 6 Min Read
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By Michael Holden and Will Russell

LONDON (RockedBuzz by way of Reuters) – More than 300,000 pro-Palestinian protesters marched in central London on Saturday, with police arresting greater than 120 people as they tried to cease far-right counter-protesters from ambushing the principle demonstration.

Clashes broke out between police and far-right teams gathered to protest towards the demonstration on Armistice Day, the anniversary of the top of the First World War, when Britain commemorates its struggle lifeless.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the violence seen on the Cenotaph struggle memorial and in addition attacked “Hamas sympathisers” who joined the bigger demonstration, “singing anti-Semitic chants and brandishing pro-Hamas placards and clothes throughout the protest of in the present day”.

Tensions had been excessive forward of Saturday’s march – the biggest in a collection to indicate help for Palestinians and name for a ceasefire within the Gaza Strip – after Interior Minister Suella Braverman referred to as them “hate marches” led from “crazy”.

London’s Metropolitan Police had rejected ministerial requests to dam the occasion, saying that they had no indication there could be critical violence, which might pressure relations with the federal government.

Police mentioned in a press release Saturday night that that they had arrested 126 people to this point, most of whom had been right-wing protesters who had been a part of a gaggle of a number of hundred people that police mentioned included soccer hooligans.

“The extreme violence of right-wing protesters towards police today was extraordinary and deeply worrying,” Deputy Commissioner Matt Twist mentioned, including {that a} knife and brass knuckles had been discovered throughout the searches.

Intense debate over the protest and policing within the run-up to the march elevated tensions locally, he mentioned.

Although the a lot bigger pro-Palestinian rally noticed no bodily violence, the senior officer mentioned small teams had strayed from the principle march and about 150 people sporting face coverings had fired fireworks that despatched hit officers within the face, leading to arrests.

Investigations are additionally ongoing right into a small variety of hate crimes and help for organized crime by proscribed organisations, he mentioned.

Sunak referred to as for police to take a tricky line.

“All crime must be dealt with with the full and swift force of the law,” he mentioned in a press release Saturday night. “This is what I said to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner on Wednesday, this is what they are responsible for and this is what I expect.”

Skirmishes between police and right-wing protesters continued all through the day, with police in riot gear utilizing batons to attempt to comprise bottle-throwing protesters.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf mentioned Braverman had infected tensions and emboldened the far proper by accusing police of favoring “pro-Palestinian crowds” forward of the occasion.


Police mentioned greater than 300,000 joined the pro-Palestinian demonstration, whereas organizers put the determine at 800,000.

Some protesters chanted “From the river to the ocean, Palestine might be free,” a rallying cry seen by many Jews as anti-Semitic and a name for the eradication of Israel.

Others carried banners studying “Free Palestine,” “Stop the bloodbath” and “Stop the bombing of Gaza.”

After Hamas’s assault on southern Israel on October 7, there was sturdy help and sympathy for Israel from Western governments, together with the British, and many voters. But Israel’s army response has additionally sparked anger, with weekly protests in London calling for a ceasefire.

In the United States, a whole lot of protesters gathered close to President Joe Biden’s residence in Wilmington, Delaware, shortly earlier than he arrived residence for the weekend. Biden’s motorcade bypassed the rally, the place a whole lot additionally walked alongside the tree-lined avenue to strategy Biden’s residence. Many wore the Palestinian flag and carried indicators calling for a ceasefire.

Hanaa A., who declined to present her final title, mentioned she got here to Wilmington to protest the killing of harmless kids and name for a right away ceasefire. (*120*) concerning the seemingly contest subsequent November between Biden and former President Donald Trump, she mentioned: “We’ll pray and we’ll wait, however at this level we cannot elect him (Biden).”

About 21,000 people took half in a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Brussels on Saturday, and in Paris, left-wing lawmakers had been amongst some 16,000 protesters who marched with pro-Palestinian banners and flags to name for a ceasefire.

Some left-wing French politicians welcomed President Emmanuel Macron’s name this week for a ceasefire and opposition to Israel’s bombing marketing campaign.

Some French parliamentarians have referred to as a protest towards anti-Semitism for Sunday.

(Reporting by Michael Holden, Hannah McKay, Hollie Adams, Ben Makori, Will Russell, Natalie Thomas, Alishia Abodunde, Yann Tessier, Gerhard Mey and Dylan Martinez in London, Lucien Libert, Claudia Greco in Paris, Bart Biesemans in Brussels and Andrea Shalal in Wilimington, Delaware; Writing by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton, Ed Osmond, Helen Popper, Kevin Liffey, Daniel Wallis and David Gregorio)

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