A protest in solidarity with the people of Palestine turned ugly in London on Saturday as a police officer was hospitalised after being hit on the head with an ‘object’ and hundreds held a sit-in at Waterloo.
More than 100,000 demonstrators arrived in the capital on Saturday as some let off fireworks and flares on a statue of David Lloyd George.
Police confirmed that a man was arrested on Whitehall after an officer was ‘struck in the head with an object’ as images showed Met Police officers clashing with protesters in the capital as the mood turned sour.
A 20-second clip showed the moment three Met police officers restrained the suspect thought to have hit the officer as seas of people watched on in shock.
Marches took place in major cities across the UK on Saturday including London, Glasgow, Belfast and Bath for the third week in a row after Israeli forces last night declared an expansion in its ground operations in response to attacks by Hamas on October 7.
A man was arrested on Whitehall after an officer was ‘struck in the head with an object’ – witnesses claim the weapon was a megaphone
Met police made a second arrest in London as a man in Waterloo Station was heard shouting ‘racist remarks’
Officers were seen clashing with protesters as things became heated on Saturday afternoon
British Transport Police officers are surrounded by hundreds of pro-Palestine protesters outside Embankment station
More than 100,000 people turned out onto the streets of London on Saturday
Met Police made a second arrest at the sit-in in Waterloo after a man was heard shouting ‘racist remarks’. He was arrested on suspicion ‘of a racially aggravated public order offence and making threats to kill’, police confirmed.
More than 200 people staged a sit-in on the concourse of the station, chanting ‘ceasefire now’, according to activist group Sisters Uncut.
By 5pm the sit-in had ended as Sisters Uncut accused police officers of ‘threatening us with arrest’ and ‘suppoortng genocide’.
On October 7 at least 1,400 Israelis were killed by Hamas terrorists in a shock incursion into the state. Since then, the Hamas-run Palestinian health authority says more than 7,700 people have been killed in the Israeli response, which has included heavy bombardment by airstrikes.
There are now new section orders in the London Boroughs of the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
‘Commander Gordon has authorised a Section 60 and Section 60AA authority at 1524 hours today’, Met police posted on X.
‘This applies in the London Boroughs of the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Both powers will remain in place until midnight tonight.’
Protesters waved flags and sat on top of telephone boxes in London on Saturday
When asked if the dramatic video was connected to the arrest, a spokesperson for Metropolitan police responded: ‘The arrest was on Whitehall so this appears to be the same incident’
Hundreds of activists blockaded Waterloo station on Saturday in solidarity with Palestinians
The Met has deployed more than 1,000 officers and said they will ‘intervene’ if protestors shout ‘jihad’ during the demonstrations, while London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the force ‘will do everything in its power to tackle hate’
Many protesters in Waterloo held signs accusing Israel of ‘genocide’
The 20-second clip showed three Met police officers restraining the suspect as seas of people surrounded the dramatic incident while screaming in shock
A Section 60 gives Police Officers the power to search a person or vehicle for weapons or dangerous instruments. A Section 60AA gives Police Officers the power to require an item they are wearing for the purposes of wholly or mainly concealing their identity to be removed.
The protest comes as they call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war.
Activists, who chanted ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ despite controversy around the slogan’s meaning, have been told to stick together and not to talk or interact with the police.
The chant is a controversial form of protest which has been condemned as anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic – something Palestinians and their supporters deny.
The protest comes on a day in which Israeli tanks have rolled into Gaza as a full ground invasion looms.
Among those speaking at the rally were former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his long-time ally Diane Abbott.
Leaflets which praise terrorist group Hamas and signs which call for the conflict to ‘radicalise you’ have been also spotted at the demonstration.
A booklet which appears to praise terrorist group Hamas has been handed out and on show at various tables across the protest. The pamphlet described the terror group as a ‘resistance movement’.
It says it shows ‘unconditional’ support for Hamas, said it won ‘wide popularity’ among Palestinians and went on to say: ‘We consider Hamas to be a resistance movement against Zionism and imperialism.
‘From this perspective we unconditionally support Hamas when it is engaged in military or non-military struggles against Israel.’
British transport Police look on as hundreds of activists blockade Waterloo station
Diane Abbott MP speaks at the pro-Palestine rally on Saturday
Protestors, with their faces covered and dressed in all black, were also captured climbing the Lloyd George on Parliament Square while setting off ruby red flares
It also described Hemas fighters as having ‘extortionary heroism’ in the leaflet which was freely handed out at a Socialist Worker stand.
It was in the booklet, with the title ‘A revolutionary perspective on Hamas’, written by Mostafa Omar, of the Revolutionary Socialists, Egypt. It was first written in July 2014.
Police were seen clashing with pro-Palestinian protesters. Officers appeared to be detaining someone close to Downing Street before demonstrators began scuffling with them.
Punches and kicks were thrown and officers ordered the demonstrators to move away.
One person was taken to the floor and carried away to chants of ‘let him go’ from other protesters.
Cries of ‘Allahu akbar’, the Arabic phrase for ‘God is great’, also rang out.
Other shocking signs at the event today included one which said: ‘Let your heartbreak politicise you, let your heartbreak radicalise you, let your heartbreak organise you’.
One source said: ‘That is a vile message. It could be seen as a call for radicalisation.’
Another said: ‘Little Britain, I know this will come as a surprise to you, but – this didn’t start on October 7, 2023.’
Another, carried by a woman said: ‘October 7th was not Day 1.’
Marches took place across the UK, including in Newcastle, Manchester and Glasgow but the biggest protest was in London.
The march, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, set off from Victoria Embankment at midday and is due to finish at Parliament Square at 4pm. Extraordinary aerial images show the scale of this weekend’s protest.
One woman was knocked over by a police horse startled by the sound of fireworks near the Houses of Parliament. She was trampled on but the Met Police said she sustained minor injuries and didn’t require hospital treatment.
Protesters took to the streets waving Palestinian flags, chanting ‘Free, Free Palestine’ and ‘Israel is a terrorist state’. Others held placards up which read ‘Freedom for Palestine’ and ‘Stop bombing Gaza’.
Protesters hold up placards as they gather to take part in a ‘March For Palestine’ in London today
Activists waving Palestinian flags march down the River Thames in London as a fresh round of protests takes place today
Campaign groups came out in their masses to voice their support for Palestine amid a bombardment from Israel
Protesters let off flares as they march through London towards Parliament Square this afternoon
Protesters of all ages were seen marching through the capital as the war rages on in the Middle East
Demonstrators have taken to the streets for a third weekend running to call for a ceasefire in the Middle East
Police are seen outside the Embassy of Israel ahead of a pro-Palestinian demonstration in central London. A ring of steel will be formed around the Embassy
The officer was sent to the hospital. It comes around the same time that a shocking video was shared online of a group of police officers tackling a protestor to the ground
Another group were heard singing: ‘Gaza Gaza don’t you cry, we will never let you die. In our thousands in our millions, we are all Palestinians’.
The health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip says more than 7,300 people have been killed in Israel’s raids since, including 3,000 children.
Demonstrators, including campaigners and families, have marched down the River Thames, crossing over Westminster Bridge to the Southbank before tehy head to The Strand over Waterloo Bridge and finish at Whitehall.
Baby dolls covered in fake blood were spotted at the protest, in addition to a placard which had a babygrow attached to it and said: ‘My only ‘mistake’ is being born in Gaza.’
Seas of people have also immersed in Waterloo Station as protestors, holding ‘free Palestine’ placards refuse to leave.
Images show dozens of people sitting in rows and waving flags as they cause disruption for communters.
The Met has deployed more than 1,000 officers and said they will ‘intervene’ if protestors shout ‘jihad’ during the demonstrations, while London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the force ‘will do everything in its power to tackle hate’.
A video emerged of a pro-Palestinian protester chanting ‘jihad’ at one event but officers had said no offences were identified in the footage from the demonstration.
Yesterday, the Met stopped short of vowing they would arrest people saying the term, saying only that they would ‘intervene’.
Ahead of the weekend, Kyle Gordon, who is leading the force’s command team, told a press briefing: ‘If somebody is calling for jihad specifically against Israel the officers will intervene, gather the information, report it back into us and we’ll be working with colleagues (from counter-terrorism) in relation to what the best course of action is.’
People of all ages can be seen protesting in the support of Palestine at Waterloo station
A placard which had a babygrow attached to it and said: ‘My only ‘mistake’ is being born in Gaza’
Demonstrators march through central London in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza
Protesters climb bus shelters and staircases to wave their Palestinian flags during today’s march
Protesters gather in their numbers ahead of today’s march through the streets of the capital
Tens of thousands of protesters lined up ready to march through London in support of those in Gaza
The Met, who will form a ring of steel around the Israeli Embassy again today with powers from Section 12 of the Public Order Act, has also issued a fresh appeal in the hunt for people with photos of paragliding terrorists and a ‘I support Hamas’ sign at previous marches.
There have also been calls to clampdown on the ‘from the river to the sea chant’, which Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick previously said ‘envisages explicitly the erasure of Israel from the map’.
The chant has been widely heard at pro-Palestine demonstrations against Israel’s retaliatory military action in Gaza. The Met has allowed the chant despite the Home Secretary asking them to crack down on anti-Semitic slogans.
Suella Braverman last week described the chant as a ‘staple of anti-Semitic discord’ and was ‘widely understood as a demand for the destruction of Israel’.
Meanwhile, Mr Jenrick said last week: ‘I don’t think there is any place for that chant on the streets of the UK. That is a highly incendiary chant, which is extremely intimidating to British Jews.
A protester lets of a smoke flare on the statue of David Lloyd George in Parliament Square –
Protesters display a large Palestinian flag as they walk over Westminster Bridge with the Palace of Westminster, home of the Houses of Parliament behind
Protesters take to the streets of London to support Palestinians who are caught in a war between Israel and Hamas
Protestors take to the streets of Westminster, central London in support of the Palestinian people
People gather for a National March for Palestine organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
More than 1,000 police officers are out on the streets of London today for the big march through the capital
A woman holds up a placard demanding a ceasefire in the Middle East as Israel seeks revenge for Hamas’ attacks
This is the route that protesters will take, starting at Victoria Embankment and ending at Parliament Square
Police officers prepare to barricade off access to the Israeli Embassy. Parts of Kensington High Street will be closed today
Metropolitan police announced the arrest on X with this aerial shot of the incident
Huge concrete blocks are being put in front of the entrance to the road which leads to the Israeli Embassy
‘I think a lot of people would be surprised by the Metropolitan Police’s analysis of that issue. And that’s something that we’re going to discuss with the police.’
Protests were also held in Belfast and Dublin on Saturday which called for an immediate ceasefire.
The rally in Dublin marched up O’Connell Street towards the GPO, and in Belfast protesters marched on Royal Avenue before gathering to listen to speakers at City Hall.
Crowds chanted ‘Free Palestine’ and ‘stop Gaza genocide’, with some carrying signs reading ‘it’s ethnic cleansing not conflict’ and ‘end Israeli apartheid’.
Some at the rally in Dublin carried bundles of white fabric stained red to signify children killed in Israeli air strikes.
A number of local politicians spoke at the rally in Belfast including Sinn Fein MLA Declan Kearney, SDLP councillor Paul Doherty, People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll, and Green Party councillor Anthony Flynn.
Mr Kearney told the PA news agency demonstrations in support of Palestine are ‘more important than ever.’
He said: ‘The bombardment of Gaza has intensified overnight and what we need to see is an unconditional ceasefire being called, urgent resolution of the humanitarian catastrophe that’s taking place across Gaza and we also need to have a decisive international intervention based upon rigorously impartial leadership, which guarantees and puts a talk process leading to a permanent peace solution and the Middle East.’
Sinn Fein councillors abstained from a motion before Derry City and Strabane District Council on Wednesday calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassadors to Ireland and the UK.
A small number of people shouted from the crowd while Mr Harvey spoke, calling on his party to also support expulsion of the ambassador.
It comes after police warned that Iranian agents are hijacking Britain’s UK pro-Palestinian protests.
Counterterrorism officers have held private discussions about Iran trying to stoke protests over Israel’s bombing of Gaza and have warned of increased hostile state activity in the UK.
Iran has been accused of playing a role in funding the Hamas and of stoking tensions in the Middle East by celebrating the barbaric attacks launched by the terrorists on Israel three weeks ago.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has also warned activists marching on London and other British cities to beware fake news from Iran.
Protesters hold placards and wave Palestinian flags as they walk over Westminster Bridge
The man was arrested on suspicion ‘of a racially aggravated public order offence and making threats to kill’.
The Met Police has deployed thousands of officers to help deal with the hundreds of thousands of protesters expected. Pictured: Protesters during today’s march in London
Demonstrators protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas
A sea of placards can be seen as protesters came out in their droves to support Palestine today
Protesters during a pro-Palestine march organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign in central London today
People hold up placards and Palestinian flags as they gather to take part in a ‘March For Palestine’ in London today
Mr Cleverly told reporters this morning: ‘Many people will recognise that there has often been attempts to subvert the actions of other people – it is perfectly possible to support the Palestinian people but also to condemn Hamas.
‘But sadly we do see people being manipulated, subject to disinformation, distortion and sadly I do think a small minority within those protests have got very much more negative aims.
‘I would say to everyone involved in the protests – be conscious of disinformation and manipulation.’
Today’s march comes amid a 1,357 per cent increase in anti-Semitic incidents and a 168 per cent spike in Islamophobic incidents.
There were 408 anti-Semitic incidents between October 1 and yesterday, compared with 28 during the same period last year, the Met revealed.
Stephen Silverman, of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, said calling for jihad following the October 7 massacres of 1,400 people in Israel was ‘extremely likely to be an offence of glorifying terrorism’.
Protestor holds sign which reads: ‘To stand with Palestine is to stand with humanity’
Protesters hold placards and wave Palestinian flags as they walk over Westminster Bridge during a ‘March For Palestine’
He added: ‘The public expects the Met to make arrests, not excuses.’
A stand-off approach last Saturday put the Met and Downing Street at odds, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saying such chants were a threat to the Jewish community and our democratic values.
A spokesman for Labour Against Anti-Semitism said: ‘In the context of the Israel/Palestinian conflict, jihad only has one meaning and that is the violence of holy war.
‘Allowing people to call for jihad on the streets of London is consistent with the ideology of Hamas.
‘It doesn’t just put the Jewish community at risk but is a threat to all communities. Londoners have previously been the victims of this ideology in terror attacks.’
Last night, Sadiq Khan tweeted: ‘Ahead of the weekend let me be clear: antisemitism and other hate crime will not be tolerated.
‘The Met will do everything in its power to tackle hate. I remain in close contact with the Commissioner, and continue to support his calls for the Govt to review hate laws & guidance.’
Commander Kyle Morgan said: ‘We’ve been clear over the last week that wherever possible we will police up to the line of the law.
‘Our most experienced and knowledgeable officers are working on the policing of these events, making sure we are utilising all legislation to its fullest extent.
‘I would encourage anyone who sees any crimes happening in the moment to report it to the nearest police officer.
‘Any footage or images of potential crimes should be reported to us – we have specialist teams whose role is to scour thousands of pieces of content identifying crime.’
Today’s march is aimed at demanding a ceasefire to stop the war which escalated even further last night.
Yesterday, the Met shared new photos of three women who wore hoodies with paragliders on them during last weekend’s marches in London
The pictures are understood to be a reference to motorised gliders used by Hamas during a deadly surprise attack on Israel three weeks ago
A protestor holding a placard reading ‘I fully support Hamas’ is also among suspects being sought by police
Hamas is proscribed in the UK as a terrorist organisation, meaning it is illegal to support it
Israel carried out aerial bombardments of northern Gaza overnight Friday into Saturday, illuminating the sky with explosions and fire
Israel says it has killed the architect of Hamas’ aerial incursion into the country three weeks ago – as tanks and troops rolled into Gaza after a night of carnage in which Tel Aviv destroyed 150 underground bases.
Asem Abu Rakaba was killed in one of the attacks carried out on alleged targets linked to the terror group, according to a statement issued by the Israeli military.
Abu Rakaba commanded the Hamas militants who infiltrated Israel on paragliders on October 7, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said; terrorists flew over the border into Israel to carry out the attacks that killed some 1,400 Israelis, mostly civilians.