Two arrested as thousands of Palestine supporters march on London calling for ceasefire in Gaza

27 April 2024, 12:36 | Updated: 27 April 2024, 16:03

Two arrested as thousands of Palestine supporters march on London calling for Gaza ceasefire
Two arrested as thousands of Palestine supporters march on London calling for Gaza ceasefire. Picture: Alamy / Met

By Danielle De Wolfe

Two men have been arrested during a pro-Palestine demonstration in London, the Metropolitan Police have confirmed.

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The arrests were made as Palestine supporters marched through central London on Saturday afternoon, with organisers preparing for hundreds of thousands of people to take part.

In a social media post, the Met confirmed that one man was arrested for holding a placard with a swastika, with a second man arrested for making racist remarks towards counter-protesters.

The march, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) gathered at Parliament Square from midday and set off 30 minutes later.

The route will end at Hyde Park, where some people will give speeches.

The Metropolitan Police said on social media: "A few minutes ago (officers) spotted a man in the crowd at Parliament Square with a placard with a swastika on. He is now under arrest and on his way to custody."

It later said: "Officers have arrested a man who shouted a racist remark towards those in the Enough Is Enough protest. He is on his way to custody."

London, UK. 27  April, 2024.  Speakers in Parliament  Square ahead of the National March for Palestine.
London, UK. 27 April, 2024. Speakers in Parliament Square ahead of the National March for Palestine. Picture: Alamy

Ben Jamal, director of the PSC, said ahead of the march that it was "fuelled by love for the principle of the dignity and rights of all human beings".

He added: "As mass graves of Palestinians are uncovered in Gaza, the call for an immediate ceasefire and for an end to weapons sales to Israel is now supported across the political mainstream and by huge swathes of the British public.

"Those marching know that they are on the right side of history."

Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was among the marchers at the front of the crowd, with large numbers of Metropolitan Police officers also seen.

By about 1.30pm, the march had encountered a static pro-Israel counter-protest on Pall Mall. The Palestine supporters also came across an anti-Ulez demonstration.

Read more: Calls for Met Chief Mark Rowley to resign are ‘nonsense and dangerous’, antisemitism tsar tells LBC after protest row

Read more: Chief representative of British Jews calls for antisemitism probe into UK’s biggest teaching union

Meanwhile a march against anti-Semitism that was planned for Saturday was cancelled amid fear for participants' safety.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism said the risk to the thousands of people who wanted to take part in the London demonstration was too great.

The group said they had identified "hostile actors (who) seem to have intended to come to any meeting locations that we announced".

London, UK. 27  April, 2024.  Speakers in Parliament  Square ahead of the National March for Palestine.
London, UK. 27 April, 2024. Speakers in Parliament Square ahead of the National March for Palestine. Picture: Alamy

It comes after the Campaign Against Antisemitism's CEO Gideon Falter was embroiled in a row with the police last week at a pro-Palestinian march.

Mr Falter was threatened with arrest for trying to walk near the march, with one officer describing him as "openly Jewish". The force has since apologised.

Anti-Semitism has increased markedly in the UK since Hamas' October 7 attacks on Israel.

Two people hold up pro-Israel and against anti Semitism signs
Two people hold up pro-Israel and against anti Semitism signs. Picture: Alamy

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said the force aimed to police "without fear or favour", adding that protests in London had "been a particular cause of fear and uncertainty in Jewish communities".

Caller accuses anti-Semitism campaigner Gideon Falter of 'setting up the Met'

He said the events had caused some Jewish people to stay away from central London on protest days, avoid the Tube, hide their identities or otherwise change their behaviour.

Palestine protesters in London last week
Palestine protesters in London last week. Picture: Getty

The pro-Palestine marches have cost the police over £38 million since they started last October.

Some 415 arrests have been made during protests - including 193 for anti-Semitic offences and 15 terrorism arrests, mostly for the alleged support of Hamas.

Police said the bar for banning protests was very high, and the Palestine marches had not met it.

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