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40,000 march in London for return of Hamas hostages

The event was one of the largest displays of U.K. solidarity with Israel since the start of the war.

Tens of thousands of marchers in London called for the release of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, London, UK, June 2, 2024. Source: X/@DanielaGrudsky.
Tens of thousands of marchers in London called for the release of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, London, UK, June 2, 2024. Source: X/@DanielaGrudsky.

Some 40,000 people marched through the streets of London on Sunday afternoon to demand the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, in one of the largest public displays of British support for Israel since the start of the war.

Carrying Israeli flags along with yellow ribbons and balloons, solidarity symbols for the captives, people sang along to Israeli music as they marched from Holborn to Whitehall chanting “Bring them home.”

Marchers wore stickers with the number 240, which represents the number of days the hostages have been held in captivity.

During the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack, 251 people were kidnapped, of whom 124 remain in Gaza. That figure was revised downward from 125 on Monday with the IDF’s announcement that the body of paramedic Dolev Yehud had been located in the kibbutz.

The “United We Bring Them Home” march included families of Israeli hostages. It was organized by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum U.K. and the 7/10 Human Chain organization, and supported by various U.K. Jewish and pro-Israel organizations.

The march was part of an event marked in 23 other countries on Sunday calling for the return of the hostages, including the United States, Australia, Germany, Spain and France. On Saturday night in Tel Aviv, an estimated 120,000 people called on the Israeli government to implement a hostage deal presented by U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday.

According to a Jewish News report, the Metropolitan Police estimated the crowd at Sunday’s march in London at around 40,000, reporting one arrest.

“An altercation between a passerby and a member of the public resulted in the passerby being arrested for common assault,” according to the report. Police also said that a bottle was thrown at the group, causing no injuries. The suspect had not been identified.

Speakers included family members of the hostages, honorary president of the Conservative Friends of Israel Lord Polak CBE, and professor Daniel Shek, former Israeli ambassador to France, the BBC reported.

U.K. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis also attended.

“It’s not easy to stand up proudly and publicly as Jews in these times,” said Lord Polak. “Today, we shout loudly together: ‘Bring them home!’”

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