Police arrest 13 as tens of thousands of protesters march through London in support of Gaza ceasefire

9 December 2023, 19:29 | Updated: 11 December 2023, 14:24

London, UK. 9th Dec, 2023. Pro Palestine march against Israeli military action in Gaza, Palestine. Credit: JOHNNY ARMSTEAD/Alamy Live News
London, UK. 9th Dec, 2023. Pro Palestine march against Israeli military action in Gaza, Palestine. Credit: JOHNNY ARMSTEAD/Alamy Live News. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

Some 13 people have been arrested, mostly for offensive placards, as thousands of protesters gathered in Parliament Square today to call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

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Protesters marched from Bank Junction to Westminster. Many of the participants held signs with the words "Free Palestine" and "End the siege".

Some protesters were also heard chanting: "One, two, three, four, occupation no more, five, six, seven, eight, Israel is a terrorist state."

The controversial slogan - deemed antisemitic by many - was also heard as people shouted: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."

The Metropolitan Police announced following the demonstration that 13 protesters were arrested, mostly for offensive placards.

A woman who was wanted for an offence at a previous protest on October 28 was identified using the Met's specialist Voyager CCTV monitoring team.

The march came the day after the UK abstained from a vote on the United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. The same motion was vetoed by the US.

Read More: Erdogan accuses West of ‘barbarism’ and Islamophobia over war in Gaza

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Lebanese-American Nadim Hussami, 44, who was participating at the protest said that the UK Government should demand a ceasefire.

"They should ask for an immediate ceasefire and not veto or abstain from UN Security Council resolutions," he said.

Jocelyn Cruywagen, from South Africa, said that no one can be free until Palestinians are free.

"We were oppressed by white people, as black South Africans we had to fight for our freedoms, we are still not entirely free," she said.

"It takes so much time. The words of Mandela are, if the Palestinians are not free, we cannot be free, the world can not be be free."

She echoed similar calls for the Government to call for a "permanent ceasefire".

"They should ask for the land to be restored to the Palestinians," she said. "The wall needs to come down."

London, UK. 21 Oct 2023: A pro-Palestinian protester in Whitehall is carried away by police after being arrested for refusing to remove his face covering at a demonstration against Israeli attacks on Gaza.
London, UK. 21 Oct 2023: A pro-Palestinian protester in Whitehall is carried away by police after being arrested for refusing to remove his face covering at a demonstration against Israeli attacks on Gaza. Picture: Alamy

Kelly Hunter, 60, said she felt "helpless" watching the news. "I have come on every single one, I am a Londoner," she said.

"I feel helpless, I can't sleep at night. I am watching this genocide. I will do everything I can in my power to march against it."

Previous weekends have seen thousands of protesters and counter-protesters converging on the capital.

It comes as the death of another Israeli hostage was confirmed. Sahar Baruch, 25, was confirmed dead by his kibbutz and a hostages' group.

Hamas yesterday released a video claiming to show the aftermath of a failed Israeli rescue operation in Gaza.

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