• Monday, March 04, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

About 100,000 join pro-Palestinian march in London

The protest was mostly peaceful and police said they made 10 arrests

People take part in a ‘March For Palestine’, in London on October 21, 2023 to demand an end to the ‘war on Gaza’. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

ABOUT 100,000 people joined a pro-Palestinian demonstration in central London on Saturday (21), marching through the British capital to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza following the Hamas attack on Israel two weeks ago.

Chanting “Free Palestine”, holding banners and waving Palestinian flags, the protesters moved through London before massing at Downing Street.

Police estimated 100,000 people had taken part in the “National March for Palestine” demonstration, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

“As a Palestinian who’d like to return home one day, as a Palestinian who has brothers and sisters in Gaza, and family, I wish we can do more but protest is what we can do at the minute,” one woman, who declined to give her name, said.

Many of the chants and banners contained strong anti-Israeli slogans, and one protester held a banner with pictures of prime minister Rishi Sunak, US president Joe Biden, and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the message “Wanted For War crimes”.

Police had cautioned before the march that anyone showing support for Hamas, banned as a terrorist organisation in Britain, would face arrest, and any incident of hate crime would not be tolerated.

The protest was mostly peaceful, and police said they had made 10 arrests.

Figures on Friday (20) showed there had been a 1,353 per cent increase in anti-semitic offences this month compared to the same period last year, while Islamophobic offences were up 140 per cent.

“This has been an issue which has long stimulated passions and we are now all seeing on social media and in our communities, how divisive and polarising the current situation has become,” foreign minister James Cleverly said at a peace summit in Cairo.

(Reuters)

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