Home ยป Tens of thousands at pro-Palestinian march in London

Tens of thousands at pro-Palestinian march in London

Tens of thousands of people are taking part in a pro-Palestinian march in central London.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) march is calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war.

Saturday’s march will be the first protest to go near the Israeli embassy in west London since a static rally in October.

Some 1,500 officers have been deployed to police the protest, which is so far largely calm and peaceful.

However, six people were arrested in one incident, on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker, and police said there were four other arrests.

One person was detained on suspicion of supporting a proscribed organisation, one person on suspicion of inciting racial hatred, and two were detained for refusing to remove face coverings,

BBC News saw tens of thousands of people at the start of the march at Marble Arch. Demonstrators have said it is one of busiest marches they have attended so far.

PSC criticised the government and Labour for refusing to call for an immediate ceasefire.

The campaign group’s Ben Jamal said there was “mounting pressure from world leaders” on Israel.

“The moral imperative is clear. An immediate ceasefire is a simple, absolute necessity,” he said.

Tens of thousands at pro-Palestinian march in London

It is the first demonstration in the area of the Israeli embassy since a protest was held two days after the 7 October attacks on Israel by Hamas, a group designated as a terror organisation by the UK government.

Police restricted the start time of the march to ensure an event taking place at a synagogue would finish prior to the protest passing by the building.

The march set off along Park Lane around 13:30 GMT, and will make its way along Knightsbridge and Kensington Road to near the Israeli embassy in Kensington, where speeches will take place.

Protesters have been told by police the march must stop by 17:00 and demonstrators must leave by 18:00.

They will be kept more than 100m away from the embassy grounds, behind barriers controlled by officers.

Cdr Kyle Gordon also appealed for marchers to stay within the law, after the force dealt with a number of offences involving placards and hate speech at previous protests.

Israel launched its military offensive after waves of Hamas fighters burst through Israel’s border on 7 October, killing about 1,200 people – mainly civilians – and taking about 250 others back to Gaza as hostages.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says more than 28,600 people, mainly women and children – have been killed in Israel’s campaign. Israel says its aim is to destroy Hamas and secure the return of the hostages.

Israel is being urged not to send ground forces into Rafah in southern Gaza and on the Egyptian border, where many Palestinians now living after areas closer to their homes were affected by fighting.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for a pause to fighting to get aid in and hostages, and a “sustainable ceasefire”.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has said the government supports a “move from a pause – to get aid in and hostages out – towards a sustainable ceasefire, leading to a long term political solution, including a Palestinian state”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told BBC News on Saturday “we all want to get to a ceasefire” in Gaza, but stopped short of calling for an “immediate” ceasefire.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Sir Keir said: “We do need to get to a ceasefire, we all want to get to a ceasefire. The question is how do we get there? The fighting has to stop. Any assault on Rafah must be repelled, we must not allow that to go ahead”.

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