12 arrested as thousands join pro-Palestinian march in London

Participants assault police officers as they arrest man for holding antisemitic placard; others arrested for refusing to remove face coverings, supporting outlawed organization

Pro-Palestinian activists and supporters wave flags and carry placards during a National March for Palestine in central London on February 17, 2024. (JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)
Pro-Palestinian activists and supporters wave flags and carry placards during a National March for Palestine in central London on February 17, 2024. (JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched in London on Saturday, with police making 12 arrests for alleged offenses including inciting racial hatred and assaulting emergency workers.

The demonstrators gathered at Park Lane in the center of the British capital holding banners demanding a “ceasefire now” while chanting “free Palestine.”

Pro-Palestinian marches have become a regular feature on Saturdays in London ever since Israel mounted a military response to the Palestinian terror group Hamas’s devastating attack on October 7 that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

“People are very, very concerned that there’s going to be a disaster piled upon an already existing disaster in Rafah,” John Rees, from Stop the War Coalition, told AFP, referring to a looming Israeli ground offensive in the last remaining Hamas stronghold in the Strip.

“What I hope is that we can avert this tragedy being made permanent,” he said.

London’s Metropolitan Police said 12 people were arrested, including two for displaying antisemitic placards.

“A man was seen in the crowd with an antisemitic placard. When officers went in to arrest him they were assaulted, resulting in six arrests,” the force posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Two other people were arrested for refusing to remove face coverings when required to do so, while another person was arrested on suspicion of support for a proscribed organization in relation to a placard.

IDF troops seen in the Gaza Strip in a photo released by the IDF, Feb. 17, 2024. (IDF Spokesperson)

The war erupted when Hamas led a massive cross-border attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip. Some 3,000 attackers who invaded the south of the country rampaged murderously through communities, slaughtering those they found and committing wholesale atrocities including gang rape, torture, and mutilation.

Terrorists also abducted 253 people of all ages who were taken as hostages in Gaza. Of those, 130 are still captives in Gaza, including 30 who are presumed dead, according to Israeli figures.

Israel responded to the attack with a military offensive to destroy Hamas, remove it from power in Gaza, and free the hostages.

Negotiations via international mediators for a ceasefire that would see the remaining hostages released have reportedly ground to a halt.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said Saturday that 28,858 people have been killed in the enclave since the start of the war, and a further 68,667 have been wounded.

These figures cannot be independently verified and do not distinguish between Hamas members and civilians. They also include Palestinians killed as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. The IDF says it has killed nearly 11,000 Hamas operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

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