Dozen arrested as 30,000 pro-Palestine demonstrators march through central London calling for Gaza ceasefire

17 February 2024, 17:08 | Updated: 17 February 2024, 19:37

More than 200,000 pro-Palestine demonstrators march through London calling for Gaza ceasefire
More than 200,000 pro-Palestine demonstrators march through London calling for Gaza ceasefire. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

A dozen people have been arrested at a pro-Palestine march in central London as thousands took to the streets to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

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The arrests in Hyde Park on Saturday afternoon were made in connection with a string of alleged offences - including alleged racial hatred, suspicion of supporting a proscribed organisation, and assaulting emergency workers.

One man was arrested after he was allegedly seen on the march holding an anti-Semitic placard, police said.

It comes as around 30,000 people took to the streets to demonstrate this afternoon, police said - adding that the "overwhelming majority" of people who took part were peaceful and acted lawfully.

Demonstrators chanted "casefire now" and "free Palestine" as they held banners on the march towards a designated area near the Israeli embassy.

Palestine protest, calling for a Ceasefire Now marches from from Hyde park to the Israeli Embassy, Saturday
Palestine protest, calling for a Ceasefire Now marches from from Hyde park to the Israeli Embassy, Saturday. Picture: Alamy

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Speeches were made, including from Palestinian ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot and former Labour Party leader and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Zomlot said: "Hang on to your anger, hang on to your enragement, hang on to your horror and use it, use it in the pursuit of justice."

After calling for "justice" for the Palestinian people, Mr Corbyn said he would be voting in support of a ceasefire motion being held by Westminster next week, due to be tabled by the Scottish National Party.

The first arrest this afternoon was made before the march officially began. The Met Police announced on X at 1.30pm that the individual in question had been taken into custody for a proscribed organisation in relation to a placard.

Jeremy Corbyn MP joins the front of the march - A Palestine protest, calling for a Ceasefire Now marches from from Hyde park to the Israeli Embassy
Jeremy Corbyn MP joins the front of the march - A Palestine protest, calling for a Ceasefire Now marches from from Hyde park to the Israeli Embassy. Picture: Alamy

The police force said later: "Officers have made nine further arrests during an incident at Hyde Park Corner.

"A man was seen in the crowd with an antisemitic placard. He has been arrested for inciting racial hatred.

"When officers went in to arrest him they were assaulted, resulting in six arrests for assaulting an emergency worker.

"Two other people were arrested for refusing to remove face coverings when required to do so by officers under Section 60AA of the Public Order Act."

At around 4pm, the Met announced one further arrest "for an antisemitic placard".

Under a Section 60AA order, anyone wearing a face covering "for the purpose of concealing their identity" should remove it when asked to do so, police said. The order is in place until 8pm this evening within the designated area.

It also provides officers with additional search powers "to prevent further violence", the Met added.

A Section 35 dispersal order is also now in place until 11pm, meaning anyone refusing a direction to leave the area can be arrested.

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