Met use CCTV to scan pro-Palestine protest and make arrests

Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protestors took to the streets of London once again on Saturday, calling for a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Organisers of the protest, which marched from Park Lane to Whitehall, estimated around 300,000 people attended. 

It was the first London march since Armistice Day, when more than 100 counter-protesters were arrested.

Police said that 18 people had been arrested at the march by 7pm, but the “overwhelming majority” protested lawfully.

More than 1,500 officers were deployed to police the demonstration. Police handed out leaflets to protesters, warning about words or images that could break the law.

The 18 arrests were for offences including inciting racial hatred, distributing material likely to stir up racial hatred, supporting a proscribed organisation, refusing directions to disperse, possessing an offensive weapon and assaulting an emergency worker.

The policing operation involved specialist “Voyager” teams working in an operations room to monitor CCTV to identify suspects.

These teams located two men wearing green headbands with white Arabic script. A spokesman from the Met said: “While these headbands were not necessarily identical to those worn by the proscribed terrorist organisation, Hamas, they were similar.

“There were sufficient grounds for officers to suspect they were wearing signs and symbols that could indicate support for a proscribed organisation.”

The Voyager teams guided officers through the crowds to make the arrests.

At around 5pm, a breakaway group began to march up Whitehall, setting off flares.

Police detained the whole group to be searched under Section 60 of the Public Order Act.

Conditions under Section 12 of the Public Order Act were then imposed to disperse the march.

The Met said the majority of the demonstrators left the area “without further incident”, but six people were arrested for breaching the dispersal order.

The protest coincided with a four-day pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas.

The Israeli government’s bombardment of Gaza has killed more than 14, 500 people – a third of them children – according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The bombing comes in retaliation to the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel that killed 1,200 people and took more than 240 hostages.

The temporary truce between Israel and Hamas has so far led to the release of 26 Israeli hostages and 39 Palestinians from Israeli prisons.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan, said: “I would like to acknowledge the overwhelming majority who came into London today and exercised their right to protest lawfully.

“Regrettably, there was still a small minority who believed the law did not apply to them. 

“We said we would intervene decisively where offences took place and that is what they did.”

Pictured top: Protesters at the Pro-Palestine demonstration on Armistice Day (Picture: Claudia Lee)

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