London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Tens of thousands of demonstrators in the UK, predominantly pro-Palestinian, marched in London and various cities, demanding an end to Israel’s attacks in Gaza. Approximately 70,000 people gathered in the streets of the capital, holding flags and banners, and calling for the cessation of the bombings.
Nine arrests were made, with some treated as potential hate crimes. Similar protests took place in Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast, and other urban centers. These demonstrations come in the wake of heightened conflict between Hamas and Israel.
London Protests: Thousands Rally for Palestine, Multiple Arrests Reported
According to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, over 7,500 Palestinians have lost their lives in Israeli retaliatory strikes. Major cities in the UK have witnessed significant protests over the past three weekends.
On Saturday afternoon, a gathering took place near the Golden Jubilee Bridge in London, with participants holding signs that read “Gaza, halt the bloodshed” and “Free Palestine, end the Israeli occupation.”
A sound system guided the crowd in chants such as “End arming Israel, cease the Gaza bombings” and “We stand united with Palestine.”
Some attendees chanted “from the river to the sea,” referring to the territory between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean. UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman had previously suggested that police chiefs consider interpreting this as an “expression of a violent desire to see Israel eliminated from the world,” a view shared by Israel and most Jewish groups.
Police Powers Enacted in London to Control Demonstrations
In contrast, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and other activists argue that this slogan represents “the universal right of all Palestinians to freedom, equality, and justice.”
Chrif El Amraoui, moved by the situation, shared during the London march, “As I march now, I’m in tears because children are losing their lives every day. Why? Why do they want to see more lives lost?”
Abdul Mahfuudi, who attended the protest with his children, emphasized, “Our top priority is to put an end to the killing of innocent children. This must stop.
Over 1,000 Metropolitan Police officers were deployed throughout London.
Among the nine arrests, seven were related to alleged public order offenses, with some treated as potential hate crimes, while the remaining two were for suspected assaults on officers.
Earlier in the day, the Metropolitan Police reported that one individual had been arrested in Whitehall for assaulting an officer. The injured officer is currently hospitalized with a head laceration but remains in good spirits, as indicated by a photo posted by the Met, showing the officer with a bandaged head giving a thumbs-up.
Pro-Palestinian Demonstrations Extend to Manchester
In another incident, a man was arrested on Waterloo Road on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offense and making threats to kill.
Near Downing Street, officers were seen apprehending an individual, which led to scuffles with protesters, involving punches and kicks. Police ordered the demonstrators to disperse, and one person was carried away while others chanted “let him go.”
Additionally, Scotland Yard issued an appeal to identify two women associated with an alleged hate crime incident in Trafalgar Square. Throughout Saturday, the police invoked public order powers to prevent demonstrators from congregating outside the Israeli embassy.
In addition, they enacted additional measures, effective until midnight, allowing officers to conduct searches of individuals or vehicles for weapons or hazardous items and to mandate the removal of items worn “primarily or entirely to conceal one’s identity.” These powers have jurisdiction in the City of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea.
Belfast and Glasgow: Pro-Palestinian Rallies Draw Thousands
On Saturday evening, the police announced on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) that they were monitoring a group assembled at Piccadilly Circus and would employ separate powers to disperse anyone engaging in anti-social behavior.
In other parts of the UK, thousands participated in a pro-Palestinian gathering outside Manchester’s Central Library at St Peter’s Square.
On the preceding Friday, the mayor of the region, Andy Burnham, joined international appeals for “a ceasefire involving all parties and the safe release of hostages.”
Approximately 3,000 demonstrators congregated in the Belfast City Centre, marching from Royal Avenue to City Hall as part of a rally.
In Glasgow, a vast assembly, marked by a sea of Palestinian flags, gathered in the heart of the city at George Square, demanding an immediate ceasefire. Some among the crowd climbed onto statues and monuments.