Far-right protesters clash with police ahead of a demonstration in the British capital.
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in central London and began marching in solidarity with Palestine, chanting “Stop bombing Gaza” and “Ceasefire now”.
Saturday’s “National March for Palestine” is the latest in a series of rallies in the British capital to show support for the Palestinians since Israel launched an air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip following the attacks of the Palestinian group Hamas against southern Israel on October 7. .
The Hamas assault killed around 1,200 Israelis and took more than 240 prisoners.
Israeli attacks, which he says are aimed at wiping out the Palestinian group that rules Gaza, have killed more than 11,000 people in 34 days, including more than 4,500 children.
Former British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and MP for Islington also attended the rally and demanded a ceasefire.
Ceasefire now. pic.twitter.com/zGe3pCtR9R
– Jérémy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 11, 2023
British government ministers had called for Saturday’s march to be canceled because it falls on Armistice Day, which marks the end of the First World War and commemorates those killed in military action.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told reporters on Wednesday he would hold the Metropolitan Police commissioner responsible for security since the police chief had defied demands to ban pro-Palestinian protests on Armistice Day .
Right-wing counter-protesters arrested
Police said 82 people were arrested in central London on Saturday “to prevent a breakdown of the peace”. They were members of a group of counter-protesters opposed to the ongoing pro-Palestinian rally in the city.
Hours before the protest began on Saturday, a mile from the start of the march, around 1,000 people filled the streets to attend commemoration events at the Cenotaph war memorial.
Among the crowd, some right-wing counter-protesters opponents of the pro-Palestinian march chanted messages such as “We want our country back.”
Fights broke out near the Cenotaph between police and right-wing demonstrators. Police used batons to stop protesters and ceremonies at the memorial were not interrupted. Clashes also took place in other areas of the city, notably in Chinatown and near Parliament.
After the clash near the Cenotaph, police said the counter-protesters were not a single group and that officers were following them as they moved away towards other parts of London. If they tried to attack the pro-Palestinian march, “we will use every power and tactic at our disposal to prevent this from happening,” police said.
“The scenes of disorder witnessed by the far right at the Cenotaph are a direct consequence of the Interior Minister’s comments. Police work has become much more difficult,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a post on X.
Interior Minister Suella Braverman recently called pro-Palestinian protests “hate marches” and said police are “playing favorites” and taking a soft stance toward rallies in support of Gaza.
“The Met has my full support in taking action against anyone found spreading hatred and breaking the law,” Khan’s message added.
The scenes of disorder witnessed by the far right at the Cenotaph are a direct consequence of the Interior Minister’s comments. Police work has become much more difficult.
The Met has my full support in taking action against anyone found spreading hatred and breaking the law.
– Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) November 11, 2023