Met Police arrested ten people after 100,000 protestors took to the streets of London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Cardiff in defence of civilians in Gaza and West Bank after Hamas’ deadly attacks on Israel brought violent response.
The force said the arrests were in relation to offences involving fireworks, public order, and assaulting an emergency service worker.
Five officers received minor injuries while they monitored events in the capital after a similar event last week saw tens of thousands turn out in solidarity with Palestinians trapped in the Gaza strip.
More than 4,100 people are confirmed to have been killed in Gaza as a result of a sustained campaign of airstrikes in reaction to an incursion by Hamas militants which saw more than 1,400 Israelis killed – the vast majority of whom were civilians.
London’s protest got off to a peaceful start, with large crowds waving Palestinian flags taking to the streets of central London. By 2pm, the Met Police said more than 100,000 people had joined the march which bypassed Marble Arch on its way to Whitehall.
By 5pm, police officers confirmed just one person had been arrested at today’s protest, and that this was in relation to an incident from last week’s event. Pictures from this afternoon show two protestors being detained by police and officers are on the scene outside the Israeli Embassy.
Meanwhile in Cardiff, around 1,000 demonstrators descended on the Welsh capital to call on the British and Welsh governments to insist on an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and for ‘full humanitarian aid’ to be sent in.
Hundreds also took to the streets of Salford, Birmingham, Belfast and Dublin today and many were seen waving flags and carrying ‘Free Palestine’ posters.
The protests come as the UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced he has spoken with Israeli officials to remind them ‘of their duty to respect international law’.
LONDON: A woman attends the pro-Palestinian march while holding a placard
SALFORD: Protest for Palestinian rights held outside the BBC headquarters at Salford Quays Manchester
BIRMINGHAM: Protestors hold up Free Palestine signs as they march through the city centre
LEEDS: People gather following the pro-Palestine march
People participate in a March for Palestine and gather on Trafalgar square on October 21
Members of the UK’s Jewish community join the London protests on Saturday in support of Palestinians
A man is detained by police as Palestinians supporters take part in a demonstration in central London
Demonstrators hold up flares, flags and placards during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London
BIRMINGHAM: The front of a hundreds-strong crowd demonstrating over Palestine
Thousands took to the streets in London on Saturday to take part in peaceful protests in solidarity with the Palestinian people
SALFORD: Protesters during a pro-Palestine demonstration outside MediaCityUK, the BBC headquarters in Salford Quays
Police officers detain a protestor during a ‘March For Palestine’, in London
Around 1,000 Met Police officers are on duty to monitor events in the capital after a similar event last week saw tens of thousands turn out in solidarity with Palestinians trapped in the Gaza strip
This is the second consecutive weekend where pro-Palestine protests took place across the UK. Maggie Morgan, from the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign Cardiff, told the BBC the march was to show support for the people of Palestine but also to say ‘not in our name, we’re not having this’.
Pictures from London’s protest show two protestors being detained by the Metropolitan Police.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, the force said: ‘Officers are on scene on Kensington Hight Street, Bayswater Road and outside the Israeli Embassy.
‘There are groups of protesters on both Kensington High Street and Bayswater Road who officers are engaging with.’
Addressing the crowd gathered in Dublin, Zoe Lawlor, chairwoman of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: ‘Take this immense energy and solidarity and channel it into action,’ she said.
‘There must be an immediate ceasefire, the illegal siege of Gaza must be lifted and humanitarian aid allowed in.’
Crowds also turned out in Northern Ireland in a march organised by Belfast Stands with Palestine. Hundreds took part in the procession in the city centre to the BBC Northern Ireland headquarters.
Alongside the London march, controversial Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir – which means ‘Party of Liberation’ and first emerged in Britain in the 1980s – are holding their own protest outside the Egyptian and Turkish embassies.
Advertising for the Hizb ut-Tahrir event shows members of the group are demanding that ‘the armies of Muslim countries move to free Palestine’, adding it ‘is the only way to rescue the Muslims under attack’.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in more than 40 countries and both Tony Blair and David Cameron considered banning the group during their premierships, but were reportedly advised by police chiefs that it could become more radical if forced underground.
Other marches in support of Palestinian civilians also took place in the UK on Saturday, including a small protest outside Windsor Castle.
Demonstrators protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas
Demonstrators held large signs and banners as they protested for the second weekend in a row
Protesters during a pro-Palestine demonstration outside MediaCityUK in Salford
Protesters arrive at the start of the march at Marble Arch tube station in London on Saturday
People gather on Trafalgar square as they participate in a March for Palestine
Pro-Palestine march in Salford Quays
BIRMINGHAM: People take part in a demonstration in support of Palestine
Multiple Palestinian flags were also spotted at Anfield during the Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton.
Images from London on Saturday show a large police presence around the Israeli embassy, including more than 20 police vans and dozens of officers in riot gear patrolling the streets.
Large metal and concrete barriers were placed in front of the entrance to the embassy, with officers seen stacking riot shields inside the gates.
Simon Redwill, of Chelsea, said he was at the protest to support the Palestine ‘fight’.
The solicitor, 44, said: ‘Israel is a terrorist state. The British government and Joe Biden need to take this seriously.
‘People are angry and fed-up.
Protesters gather and march during their ‘National March for Palestine – Stop the War on Gaza’ in central London
People take part in a ‘March For Palestine’, in London on October 21
Heavy security around Westminster for the March for Palestine on Saturday
Protesters let off smoke flares and chanted pro-Palestine slogans
Children and the elderly were among those who turned out to protest on Saturday
‘Today has been amazing. This won’t stop.’
Another demonstrator, when asked if he had sympathy for the Israeli people killed in the conflict, said: ‘No. Not at all.’
Artist Justin Ponting, 44, of Westminster, said: ‘I have sympathy for the innocent people killed on both sides of the conflict. But Israel is the antagoniser.
‘I believe they are to blame for what happens. They are invading land which is not theirs.
‘I feel bad for British Jews but they need to realise Israel is to blame.’
The protest follows a largely peaceful series of marches in cities across the UK last weekend, although isolated incidents including young women with images of paragliders attached to their backs and a woman in Glasgow yelling ‘remember where the Jews were in 1940’ sparked outrage in the days that followed.
At least 4,100 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since terror group Hamas, which controls the region, launched a horrific attack against Israel earlier this month, killing more than 1,400 people and taking a further 200 hostage.
The vast majority of those killed in the attack, which was launched via the ground and air through the use of paragliders, were civilians.
A participant at the March for Palestine displays the flag
Protesters gather in Whitehall after marching through the streets of central London
People protest in Whitehall in support of Palestinians trapped in Gaza
BIRMINGHAM: Huge flag is carried and displayed by protestors
Pro-Palestinian protesters hold placards and show Palestinian colors on a march through the British capital
A demonstrator waves a Palestinian flag, at a protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza
The march route ended in Whitehall close to Downing Street, where tens of thousands gathered
Saturday’s protest saw people peacefully demand aid and support for the Palestinian people
Thousands of protesters march through central London in National March for Palestine
Damp weather did not put off the huge crowd of protesters on Saturday
More than 4,100 people are confirmed to have been killed in Gaza as a result of a sustained campaign of airstrikes
More than 100,000 people turned out to the streets in London on Saturday
People stand in Trafalgar Square as they take part in a ‘March For Palestine’
Huge crowds marched through central London in solidarity with those trapped in Gaza and the West Bank
Protesters during a pro-Palestine march organised by Stop the War Coalition and Palestine Solidarity Campaign in central London
WINDSOR: A small gathering of pro-Palestine protesters outside Windsor Castle on Saturday
Israel launched a barrage of attacks on Gaza targeting Hamas militants, and initially besieged the strip to prevent food, water and medical aid from entering the region
The Israeli embassy, pictured on Saturday, is the centre of a large police protection operation
Protesters held placards, banners and even painted their faces in the colours of the Palestinian flag
People participate in a March for Palestine on October 21, 2023 in London
BIRMINGHAM: Crowds gathering for a Free Palestine demonstration
Hamas have been accused of massacring entire villages and murdered 250 people at a music festival during their attack on October 7.
At least nine Britons were killed with a further seven missing in the assault which saw entire families, including babies and the elderly, shot dead and mutilated.
In retaliation, Israel launched a barrage of attacks on Gaza targeting Hamas militants, and initially besieged the strip to prevent food, water and medical aid from entering the region.
On Saturday morning the first international aid trucks were allowed to cross into Gaza using the Egyptian border crossing.
Amid the rising tensions in the Middle East, the Met Police have deployed around 1,000 officers to patrol the capital this afternoon.
The force announced that since the start of the conflict, it has seen a 1,353 percent increase in anti-Semitic offences and a 140 percent increased in islamophobic offences.
A pro-Palestinian protester dances as others watch in Trafalgar Square on Saturday
Police officers guard the entrance to Downing Street as protesters travelled to Whitehall
People travelled from across the UK to join today’s protest, including a group from Bristol
Amid the rising tensions in the Middle East, the Met Police have deployed around 1,000 officers to patrol the capital this afternoon
The rally was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in collaboration with the groups Friends of Al-Aqsa, Stop the War Coalition, Muslim Association of Britain, Palestinian Forum in Britain, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Cyclists bearing Palestine flags travel through central London on Saturday
A demonstrator scales a traffic light during a huge protest in support of Palestinians on Saturday
A free Palestine protest in Windsor town centre heads towards the castle
Groups of police officers were seen standing outside the Israeli embassy on Saturday
At least 20 police vans were seen in the vicinity of the embassy by midday on Saturday
Dozens of police officers amassed outside the Israeli embassy in London
The Met Police says it is deploying around 1,000 officers on Saturday amidst expected pro-Palestinian protests
In a statement released on Friday, the Met said it is expecting ‘another significant demonstration in central London organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.’
The march began at Marble Arch at midday, and will travel along Park Lane, via Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square before ending up in Whitehall.
Videos online showed protesters chanting slogans such as ‘Israel is a terror state’ and ‘free Palestine’.
Many let off smoke flares and gathered at iconic London landmarks such as Trafalgar Square.
Pro-Palestinian protesters in central London on Saturday chanted ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’, despite an ongoing controversy around the slogan’s meaning.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has previously branded the slogan antisemitic and claimed that it is ‘widely understood’ to call for the destruction of Israel.
While Jewish groups including the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust, have asked prosecutors to clarify if chanting the slogan is a criminal offence.
However, those who defend the slogan describe it as a ‘long-standing protest chant’ that calls for a homeland for the Palestinian people.
A small group of pro-Palestinian protesters held a separate demonstration in central London on Saturday calling for ‘Muslim armies’ to rescue the people of Palestine.
The group of around 100 people, believed to be members and supporters of Hizb ut-Tahrir, stood on Balfour Mews, just off the street from the path of the main protest.
Speakers addressed the crowd in Arabic. A large banner read ‘Muslim armies, rescue the people of Palestine’.
Hizb ut-Tahrir released a statement on its site this week which called for armed invasion of Israel by Muslim nations.
The Met announced that since the start of the conflict, it has seen a 1,353 percent increase in anti-Semitic offences and a 140 percent increased in islamophobic offences
Officers patrolled central London streets holding riot helmets on Saturday
In a statement released on Friday, the Met said it is expecting ‘another significant demonstration in central London organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’
Police officers set up road blocks in Kensington in anticipation of protests
Dozens of police officers amassed outside the Israeli embassy on Saturday morning
It read: ‘The Muslim Community in Britain urges the Muslim armed forces to take immediate action to free Palestine from occupation.
‘These armies exist to uphold the dignity of Muslims, a duty that goes beyond any nation-state boundary.
‘Palestine holds great significance as the land of the Prophets. It is incumbent upon the Muslim armies to steadfastly defend it against all forms of aggression and occupation.
‘The Muslim community in Britain expresses deep concern and strongly condemns decisions and agreements made by Muslim rulers that protect the Zionist entity.
‘The Muslim community firmly believes that Palestine is a blessed Islamic land. Any action that contributes to the continued occupation or silence on the matter is a crime against Islam, a betrayal of the Ummah, and a violation of the Islamic duty to safeguard the blessed land.’
Meanwhile in Tel Aviv, people gather to show support for the families who are missing loved ones taken as hostages.
People react as residents of Tel Aviv show support and solidarity with the families of hostages who are being held in Gaza
A boy lights a candle as people gather to show support for the families of missing people and some 200 hostages
Demonstrators carry posters during a demonstration calling for the release of Israeli hostages held by Palestinian militants
Spokespeople for Hizb ut-Tahrir insist they do not support Hamas, but want better conditions for civilians in Gaza.
The Met has introduced Section 12 protest restrictions which mean anyone deviating from the prescribed routes could be subject to arrest.
It is also enforcing a Section 14 notice, which forbids protesters from entering the certain streets next to the Israeli embassy.
Meanwhile in Tel Aviv, people gather to show support for the families who are missing loved ones taken as hostages.
Demonstrators carried posters during the demonstration calling for the release of Israeli hostages held by Palestinian militants.