Over 10,000 pro-Palestine supporters march through London calling for Gaza ceasefire

People during a pro-Palestine march in central London. Credit: PA

More than 10,000 pro-Palestine supporters have marched in central London calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Hundreds of officers from the Metropolitan Police were on duty with additional dispersal powers as the march started at Portland Place and headed to Whitehall.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said it was the “eighth national march held for the Palestinian people”, following the Hamas attacks on southern Israel on October 7 in which 1,300 people were killed and more than 240 kidnapped before Israel retaliated with months of attacks on the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding thousands.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said on Saturday that 107 people were killed over the past 24 hours, bringing the wartime total to 27,238, with more than 66,000 people have been wounded.

Scotland Yard estimated around 10,000 demonstrators had marched through the West End of London on Saturday, with the crowd doubling to 20,000 for the speeches in Whitehall.

Demonstrators carried banners which read “end the killing” that were accompanied by harrowing images of the bloodshed since the conflicted erupted.

Other banners declared “free the children”, “freedom to Palestine” and “Boycott Israel”.

Police said people were seen trying to disrupt the protest in Haymarket and a woman was arrested on suspicion of setting off a smoke bomb or flare.

A second woman, who was allegedly chanting slogans that may incite racial hatred, was arrested over a suspected public order offence.

Officers were 'on the look out for offensive placards and banners', with staff also monitoring the protest by CCTV to sport other offences or to find suspects, a spokesman said.

PSC director Ben Jamal said: “We are marching again because we know we are on the right side of history and we will stand always with the oppressed and never with the oppressor.”

Ahead of the march, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Ward, who is leading the policing operation, said: “We respect the right of people to protest, but other Londoners and visitors have rights as well.

“I understand the cumulative impact of repeated protests since October on businesses, residents and those who want to travel into the West End.

Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking at a rally during a pro-Palestine march in central London. Credit: PA

“Getting the balance between competing rights can be difficult, but we will do it independently, impartially and always within the law.”

Earlier this week, Britain said future funding for a UN relief agency that helps Palestinians hinges on the outcome of inquiries into allegations that staff took part in the October 7 attack on Israel.

Foreign Office minister Andrew Mitchell said the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is “critical” to delivering humanitarian aid into Gaza and the region, but added the UK is “appalled” by the allegations of agency staff being involved in the atrocities.

The UK joined the US, Australia, Italy and other countries in pausing funding for UNRWA after it sacked a number of staff accused of taking part in the October attack.

The funding pause has sparked concerns about the impact the decision will have on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza as the Israeli bombardment continues.

The row over funding for UNRWA comes amid rising tension in the Middle East after a drone attack on Sunday killed three US troops and injured dozens more in north-eastern Jordan, near the Syrian border.

Several opposition MPs have pressed the UK Government to suspend arms sales to Israel following an interim ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The ICJ stopped short of ordering a ceasefire in Gaza in a genocide case filed by South Africa, but it demanded that Israel tries to contain death and damage in its military offensive.

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