On Saturday, police apprehended two individuals following a large gathering of pro-Palestinian protestors in central London. The demonstrators were calling for a cessation of hostilities in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign organized a march in response to the increasing conflict in the Gaza Strip. Aerial footage captured large crowds participating in the protest.
It is estimated that up to 100,000 individuals participated in the protests, with opposing demonstrations also occurring in Whitehall.
According to reports, a large group of individuals who were against a ceasefire gathered at the Cenotaph, holding union flags. The pro-Palestinian marchers responded with chants of “shame on you.”
Sometimes, the protest turned into a physical altercation. A male individual was apprehended on Whitehall for attacking an officer, who was then transported to a hospital. Another person was taken into custody on Waterloo Road for allegedly committing a racially-motivated disturbance and making death threats.
Journalists also observed police officers detaining someone near Downing Street before protesters started getting into altercations with them.
PA reported that individuals engaged in physical altercations by throwing punches and kicks, prompting officers to instruct the demonstrators to disperse. Subsequently, one individual was forcefully restrained and removed from the scene while other protestors chanted “let him go.”
Shouts of “Allahu Akbar”, the phrase in Arabic meaning “God is great”, could also be heard.
A temporary authorization under Section 60 and Section 60AA has been implemented until midnight, granting police the authority to conduct stop and search procedures in the London boroughs of the City of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea.
Section 60 AA stipulates that an individual must eliminate any objects that could potentially be used to hide their identity, such as masks.
The controversial chant of “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” was heard from the crowd, referencing the area between the Mediterranean and River Jordan. In a statement earlier this month, Suella Braverman stated that it is commonly believed that the chant is a call for the annihilation of Israel, a view shared by many Jewish organizations. However, pro-Palestinian activists argue that the slogan represents the desire for all Palestinians to have freedom, equality, and justice.
According to reports, other slogans chanted were “Cease providing weapons to Israel. End attacks on Gaza” and “We stand in solidarity with Palestine.”
A protester named Chrif El Amraoui expressed his emotions to the BBC, tearfully questioning why innocent children continue to lose their lives on a daily basis. He asks, “Why? Why do they want more lives to be taken?”
Abdul Mahfuudi, along with his children, participated in the protest and shared with the BBC: “Our main concern is for them to put an end to the killings of children. They must stop.”
The UK has so far stopped short of calling for a ceasefire, with Rishi Sunak’s government instead advocating for humanitarian pauses to allow aid to reach people in Gaza.
The proposed strategy has gained support from the Labour party’s leader, Keir Starmer, even though it has caused disagreement with about 25% of his fellow MPs who are advocating for a halt in action.
On Friday, the Israel Defence Forces announced that their air and ground forces were intensifying operations in Gaza, making it the most intense day of bombing since the start of the war.
The Israeli Defense Forces have confirmed that approximately 100 aircrafts conducted strikes on 150 Hamas targets underground overnight. Additionally, internet and mobile services have been greatly disrupted since Friday evening.
The United Nations general assembly, on Friday, strongly urged for a prompt and lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and insisted on unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance to the blockaded Gaza Strip.
The United Kingdom was among 45 countries that chose not to vote on the proposal, which received support from 120 nations. Only 14 countries, including the United States and Israel, voted against it.
In the midst of a worsening situation, demonstrators have once again gathered in the streets in hopes of persuading the UK government to call for a halt in fighting.
According to Sisters Uncut, a group of activists, over 200 individuals participated in a sit-in on the concourse of London Waterloo station, where they chanted “ceasefire now” during a demonstration.
Over 1,000 officers from the Met Police were present for the demonstration, as stated by the force on X.
On X, the Met declared that there is no room for hate crime in London.
Police will react to any illegal activity that they witness and take prompt action, but there may be things that go unnoticed at the time.
“We will also review footage from CCTV and photos/videos provided by the public to identify any crimes.”
Protests are scheduled to take place in Manchester and Glasgow on Saturday, in addition to other locations throughout the UK.
A demonstration was scheduled to occur in the center of Bristol on Sunday, and the Avon and Somerset police anticipated a turnout of 2,000 to 5,000 individuals.
This report was contributed to by PA.