Far-right protesters have clashed with police ahead of a demonstration in the British capital.
Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered in central London to march in support of Palestine, chanting “stop the bombing of Gaza” and “ceasefire now”.
Saturday’s “National March for Palestine” was the latest in a series of rallies in the British capital to show support for Palestinians since Israel launched an air and ground attack on the Gaza Strip following an Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on southern Israel. .
About 1,200 Israelis were killed and more than 240 captured in the Hamas attack.
Israel’s attacks aimed at destroying the Palestinian Authority, which rules Gaza, have killed more than 11,000 people in 34 days, including more than 4,500 children.
Former British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and MP for Islington also took part in the rally and called for a ceasefire.
Ceasefire now. pic.twitter.com/zGe3pCtR9R
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 11, 2023
UK government ministers have called for Saturday’s parade to be canceled as Armistice Day marks the end of the First World War and commemorates those killed in action.
On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told reporters that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner should be held responsible for security after the police officer defied demands to ban pro-Palestinian protests on Armistice Day.
Right-wing protesters were arrested
Police said 82 people were arrested in central London on Saturday “to prevent a breach of the peace”. They were part of a group of counter-protesters protesting an ongoing pro-Palestinian rally in the city.
A mile (1.6km) from the start of the rally, around 1,000 people lined the streets to watch commemorations at the cenotaph war memorial hours before Saturday’s protest began.
In the crowd, some Right-wing counter-protesters They protested the pro-Palestinian march, chanting messages including “We want our country back.”
Clashes broke out between police and right-wing protesters near the cemetery. Police used batons to keep the demonstrators at bay, and celebrations at the memorial were not interrupted. Clashes broke out in other parts of the city, including Chinatown, and near the Parliament complex.
Following the clash near the cemetery, police said the counter-protesters were not a group and that officers were monitoring them as they moved to other parts of London. If they try to attack a pro-Palestinian march, police said, “we will use all the powers and tactics at our disposal to prevent that from happening.”
“The scenes of disorder we witnessed by the far right at Cenotaph are a direct result of the Home Secretary’s words. The job of the police has been made very difficult,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan posted on X.
Interior Secretary Suella Braverman recently called pro-Palestinian demonstrations a “hateful march” and said police were “favorite” and taking a soft stance on pro-Gaza rallies.
“The Met has my full support in taking action against anyone spreading hate and breaking the law,” Khan’s post added.
The disorderly scenes we witnessed by the far-right at the cemetery were a direct result of the Home Secretary’s words. Police work has become very difficult.
The Met has my full support in taking action against anyone who spreads hate and violates the law.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) November 11, 2023