More than 100,000 people took to the streets of London on Saturday in protest as they defended the rights of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank following the violent response to horrific Hamas terror attacks launched on Israel earlier this month.
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.
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.
The protest got off to a peaceful start on Saturday, 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.
Alongside the main 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.
Thousands took to the streets in London on Saturday to take part in peaceful protests in solidarity with the Palestinian people
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
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
People take part in a ‘March For Palestine’, in London on October 21
Heavy security around Westminster for the March for Palestine on Saturday
The Met Police says it is deploying around 1,000 officers on Saturday amidst expected pro-Palestinian protests
The Israeli embassy, pictured on Saturday, is the centre of a large police protection operation
Advertising for their 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.
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.
It 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.
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
Protesters during a pro-Palestine march organised by Stop the War Coalition and Palestine Solidarity Campaign in central London
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
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.
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
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’.
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.’
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.