Thousands of pro-Palestine protesters march in UK cities as 'fireworks thrown at cops' in London

4 November 2023, 15:34 | Updated: 4 November 2023, 21:18

Protests are taking place across the UK
Protests are taking place across the UK. Picture: Alamy/Getty/Social media

By Emma Soteriou and Chay Quinn

Thousands of pro-Palestine protesters have gathered in cities across the UK - with police "actively engaging" with a sit in at Charing Cross railway station.

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Huge crowds gathered in cities including London, Manchester and Newcastle on Saturday as pro-Palestine protesters called for Israel to declare a ceasefire in Gaza.

It marked the fourth weekend of protests, with a sea of Palestinian flags seen near Trafalgar Square after having moved down Regent Street from Oxford Circus.

People at the march in central London could be heard chanting "Gaza, stop the massacre" and "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free".

The Met confirmed that they made 11 arrests over the course of the day - including some for a breach of a dispersal order which was implemented after the force said fireworks were thrown at it's officers.

The force said: "A Section 35 Dispersal Order has been authorised by Superintendent May- Robinson at 1843 hours in order to disperse a group on Trafalgar Square who have been firing fireworks into crowds & towards police officers.

"The Dispersal Order will remain in place until 0100 hours 5/11/23."

In a post to X, formerly Twitter, the British Transport Police said a sit-in protest at Charing Cross has stopped some passengers from accessing trains and platforms at the London station, with officers in attendance to ensure the safety of those using the station.

In an update, the BTP wrote: "The actions of protesters are preventing the station from being used or operated for its intended purposes.

"This is in breach of Section 7 Public Order Act 2023. Officers are actively engaging with protesters to enforce this legislation."

Police clash with protesters in London
Police clash with protesters in London. Picture: Getty

Police earlier stepped in after protesters sat down in the middle of Oxford Circus and completely blocked the road.

They said the demonstration was being "closely monitored" as it made its way through the capital.

Meanwhile, in Newcastle, thousands gathered outside the city's museum, with signs reading: "Israel get out of Palestine."

Read more: Sickening poster at the Cenotaph: Met investigation as calls grow to stop protesters targeting 'sacred' Remembrance Day

Read more: 'Don't test us, you will pay dearly': Netanyahu's warning to Hezbollah after leader says war is on 'more than one front'

People at a rally in Trafalgar Square
People at a rally in Trafalgar Square. Picture: Alamy

It comes as there are growing concerns that demonstrations could disrupt Remembrance weekend.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are planning to take to the streets of London on Armistice Day on Saturday November 11.

There are fears the march could disrupt the two-minute silence commemorating the war dead, and the daytime and evening Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, with the latter performance usually attended by members of the royal family.

Protesters in Southend during the day of action
Protesters in Southend during the day of action. Picture: Alamy

Rishi Sunak previously warned that protests on Armistice Day would be "provocative and disrespectful".

He said there is a "clear and present risk that the Cenotaph and other war memorials could be desecrated".

The Met Police said officers will be deployed across the capital that weekend as part of a "significant policing and security operation".

It said protest groups have not indicated plans to march on Remembrance Sunday on November 12, but a significant demonstration is expected on the Saturday.

Organisers of the demo have pledged to avoid the Whitehall area where the Cenotaph war memorial - the focus of national remembrance events - is located.

Demonstrators held up mock body bags in protest at the war in Gaza.

Activists held placards reading "Bombing hospitals is terrorism" and "it's not conflict, it's genocide" outside the BBC headquarters in Glasgow.

Bloodied "bodies" were held up in protest at the deaths of more than 3,000 Palestinian children killed in the past three weeks.

They were tagged with the BBC logo and accompanied by a sign that read "Every child's future in Gaza lies in a body bag".

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