Thousands demonstrated in pro-Palestinian rallies across the United Kingdom on Saturday with the largest in London—a march from the BBC’s New Broadcasting House to Downing Street.
More than 1,000 police officers were deployed in London. The Metropolitan Police arrested 15 persons for assaults against emergency workers and setting off fireworks in public places, the BBC reported.
One person allegedly threw an object at a police van near Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. By 5:30 p.m., seven people had been arrested, including four for wearing masks in areas of central London where concealing one’s identity is forbidden by law.
The rallies came exactly a week after Hamas launched a terrorist assault against Israeli communities around the Gaza Strip. According to the latest numbers released by the Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday, Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,400 Israelis, wounded more than 3,500 others and abducted more than 120 others.
It was the largest single-day slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust.
Pro-Palestinian supporters around the world have celebrated or excused the attack. At the London rally, protesters chanted, “From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, Palestine will be free,” a call for Israel’s destruction.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman asked police chiefs earlier in the week to consider whether the slogan should be viewed as an “expression of a violent desire to see Israel erased from the world,” making it a “racially aggravated” public order offense, the BBC reported.
Protesters were also seen with pictures of paragliders taped to their backs, in apparent identification with the Hamas paragliders that flew over the Gaza Strip’s border fence as part of the Oct. 7 air, land and sea offensive against Israel.
Police closed off a section of Kensington High Street in west London, put up barricades and lined them with officers to stop protesters from approaching the Israeli embassy.
At one point, police rushed to protect a lone pro-Israeli protester carrying an Israeli flag as Palestinian supporters surrounded and attacked him.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor told the press on Friday that there had been a “massive increase” in antisemitic incidents in London since the Hamas attack, the BBC said.
Rallies took place in other cities, including Liverpool, Bristol, Cambridge, Norwich, Coventry, Edinburgh and Swansea.
In Glasgow, thousands marched at an event organized by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.