London police: 450 arrested since start of pro-Palestinian protests, 193 of them for antisemitic offenses

Anti-Israel activists wave Palestinian flags as they gather for a protest in Trafalgar Square in central London on March 30, 2024, calling for a ceasefire in the Israel/Hamas conflict. (Benjamin Cremel/AFP)
Anti-Israel activists wave Palestinian flags as they gather for a protest in Trafalgar Square in central London on March 30, 2024, calling for a ceasefire in the Israel/Hamas conflict. (Benjamin Cremel/AFP)

With tens of thousands expected to attend a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel march in London later today, the Metropolitan Police says the cost of policing the protests has now reached approximately £38.5 million (approximately $48 million).

The London police force has struggled to manage tensions sparked by the Israel-Hamas war, with Jewish residents saying they feel threatened by repeated pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel marches through the streets of the UK capital.

In addition, the police force says 450 arrests have been made since the marches began, with 193 of them detained for antisemitic offenses.

The majority of those offenses involved placards, chanting or expressions of hate speech, police say.

Met Police Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist tells British media that the force aims to police the events “without fear or favor,” and notes that they “been a particular cause of fear and uncertainty in Jewish communities.”

However the senior officer says the protests have not reached the threshold where they would be determined to carry a risk of “serious public disorder.”

At the same time as today’s pro-Palestinian march, a separate demonstration arranged by the pro-Israel Enough is Enough group will take place nearby. The Campaign Against Antisemitism said that it cancelled its planned walk at the same time amid safety concerns.

Though the pro-Palestinian marches have been largely peaceful, a British counterterrorism official said last month the protests have made the streets of London “a no-go zone for Jews every weekend.”

Demonstrations have also featured people glorifying Hamas, and antisemitic incidents and chants.

British Jews say they have been subject to verbal abuse by some pro-Palestinian supporters since October 7, and there have been recorded incidents of physical violence as well.

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