Thousands join pro-Palestinian march in London

  18 May 2024    Read: 1211
Thousands join pro-Palestinian march in London

Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched through central London on Saturday, reiterating calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The protest marked the 76th anniversary of what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba - the mass displacement of people after the creation of Israel in 1948.

The Metropolitan Police said it had held "regular discussions" with organisers the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) to minimise disruption.

The Met said seven arrests were made during the PSC event, with officers intervening in incidents involving "offensive placards and chants, violence and sexual assault".

One man was arrested for "carrying a coffin with offensive language on it", the force added.

Another man, 22, was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an officer.

At the counter-demonstration, police said a 74-year-old man was arrested on "suspicion of a provocation of violence".

Ch Supt Colin Wingrove, leading this weekend’s policing operation, said police "made swift interventions to make arrests where criminal offences were suspected".

The pro-Palestinian march was the 14th such event held in London since the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October, in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 240 kidnapped.

After the 7 October attack, Israel launched an offensive in Gaza that has killed more than 35,000 people, according to the territory's Hamas-run health ministry.

Demonstrators, some carrying "ceasefire now" placards, were heard singing and chanting as they made their way from Regent's Street to Whitehall, where they gathered for speeches.

One protester, Sandi, a Palestinian who has family in Gaza, said that she had not heard from her relatives there for the last 10 days.

"The internet connection is down, so sometimes it's longer - weeks - that I don't hear from them," she told the BBC.

"Like everyone else in Gaza, they're suffering from a lack of safety, access to food, internet, medical aid and freedom of movement."
The PSC said demonstrators were calling "again for action to end the genocide in Gaza".

The UN's top court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), is considering a case brought by South Africa in January accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel has rejected the claim as false and "grossly distorted".

The ICJ is not expected to deliver a ruling on the genocide case for several years.

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