London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – For the second consecutive weekend, London witnesses a pro-Palestinian protest drawing thousands of participants. The Metropolitan Police estimated that around 100,000 individuals took part in the march, culminating in a rally near Downing Street.
This demonstration occurs concurrently with the first aid shipments reaching Gaza after Israel’s imposition of a blockade following a Hamas attack on October 7th, resulting in 1,400 casualties in Israel. According to Palestinian health officials, the Israeli bombing has claimed the lives of more than 4,000 people since then.
In solidarity, smaller pro-Palestinian gatherings were held in Birmingham and outside Media City in Salford. Over 1,000 officers from the Metropolitan Police were deployed to oversee the London event. Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist acknowledged the strength of sentiments surrounding these matters and emphasized the police force’s commitment to impartiality and fairness.
London Pro-Palestinian March Calls for End to Gaza Military Action
In response to Hamas’s military wing breaking through the border into Israel, resulting in casualties and hostage-taking, Israel has severed the supply of fuel, electricity, and water to Gaza.
Simultaneously, over 1.4 million Gazans have been displaced, with more than 500,000 individuals seeking refuge in 147 UN shelters, according to the United Nations.
UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has expressed concerns that this conflict is escalating and could impact the wider Middle East. He has undertaken diplomatic efforts by visiting Israel, Turkey, and Qatar to address the deteriorating situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories.
Speaking at the Cairo Peace Summit, he emphasized the need for collaboration to prevent further instability in the region and further loss of life, acknowledging the divisive and polarizing nature of the current situation.
During the London march, protesters were heard chanting a slogan that some employ to advocate for Palestinian sovereignty over the entire region spanning from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, which includes Israel.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has asserted that the slogan “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” implies the destruction of Israel. In the past, she urged police chief constables to examine whether its use in specific contexts might constitute a racially aggravated offense. However, the Metropolitan Police has clarified that the chant, on its own, does not amount to a criminal act.
Protesters Target UK and US Governments for Supporting Israel
Concurrently, the Community Security Trust (CST), an organization responsible for safeguarding Jewish communities, has become aware of plans for a smaller protest in Golders Green, a region in north London with a significant Jewish population.
The CST has communicated with law enforcement regarding social media posts promoting a gathering in this area, advising individuals to remain vigilant and uphold personal security.
The reporters reached out to the Metropolitan Police for comments on these developments.On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators advocating for the Palestinian cause gathered in central London.
They called for an end to Israel’s military actions in the Gaza Strip, which were initiated in response to the recent actions of the Hamas militant group in Israel.
Many of the protesters displayed Palestinian flags and held signs reading “Free Palestine.” The demonstration began near Oxford Circus and proceeded to Downing Street, the official residence and office of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Chants during the protest were directed at the governments of both Britain and the United States, expressing disapproval for their support of Israel.
Locals Express Distress Over War In Gaza
Belal Stitan, a 22-year-old student, expressed his deep concern for his relatives in Gaza. He stated, “No one in Gaza is faring well. My entire family resides in Gaza, and they are all enduring difficult circumstances.” Belal emphasized his desire to return to a time when he could engage in ordinary conversations with his cousins about topics like soccer and their progress in school.
“This predicament poses a significant challenge for all of humanity, and it’s disheartening to have to remind the world that we are all human beings. I find it hard to fathom that we’ve come to this point.”
Asmat Malik, a 29-year-old pharmacist, mentioned that people are upset about what they perceive as the long-standing oppression of Palestinians. She emphasized that supporting the Palestinian cause does not imply support for Hamas in any way, as being pro-Palestine should not be equated with being anti-Semitic. This distinction is crucial to underline.