Huge crowds marched through London as demonstrators continued their call for a cease-fire in Gaza, with police on hand to prevent conflicts with counter-protesters.
The “National March for Palestine,” coordinated by the Stop the War Coalition, began at 1100 GMT on Saturday after a two-minute silence to mourn Britain’s war dead was observed at The Cenotaph war memorial in central London.
Huge crowds of protesters carried Palestinian flags in black, red, white, and green and held placards reading “Stop Bombing Gaza” just over a month after Israel began bombing the besieged enclave in response to an attack on Israel conducted by the Palestinian group Hamas.
According to the Gaza-based health ministry, Israel’s air and ground operations in Gaza have killed nearly 11,000 Palestinians in five weeks. Protesters screamed “free Palestine” and “ceasefire now” as the march began. During earlier marches in solidarity of Gaza’s inhabitants, the Metropolitan Police made nearly 100 arrests.
Minor scuffles erupted throughout the event as counter-protesters sought to break through police lines, many of whom were dressed in black with their faces masked and brandishing England’s St George’s flag and the Union Jack. Missiles were later fired at officers in the neighboring Chinatown district, according to the Met on X (previously Twitter).
Taylor stated that counter-protesters would most likely include football hooligans and that police would “likely” have to use force against “pockets of confrontation” at some point. The head of the far-right English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, was among the counter-protesters, according to British media.