Met uses new facial recognition system for arrests at pro-Palestine march

The Met used new facial recognition technology to make arrests for suspected offences at a pro-Palestine march on Saturday.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in London to call for an end to Israeli attacks in Gaza.

The Met estimated 30,000 people packed into Trafalgar Square, Westminster, for a rally led by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

A total of 29 people were arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred, violence and assaulting a police officer.

Two people were arrested on suspicion of breaching the Terrorism Act for wording on their banner. 

One person was arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred and three people were arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer. 

Nine people were arrested on suspicion of public order offences, including two that were racially aggravated.

Ten people were arrested on suspicion of breaching a dispersal order while other arrests were made for suspected possession of an offensive weapon, violent disorder, affray and possession of cannabis.

The Met also reported fireworks were fired into crowds and towards police in Trafalgar Square, leaving four officers injured.

Some of the arrests were made using the Met’s new Retrospective Facial Recognition system.

In one case, a man suspected of making anti-Semitic comments during a speech was arrested after being identified on social media.

Protests have been held in London each Saturday since the war began last month.

On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there would be no ceasefire until all Israeli hostages were released by Hamas.

Israel has been bombarding Gaza with air strikes since the October 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas that saw 1,400 people killed and more than 200 taken hostage.

Since the attack, the health ministry in Gaza has reported that Israeli bombs have killed more than 9,000 people. 

Plans have been announced for a mass rally next Saturday, on Armistice Day.

Commander Karen Findlay said: “The vast majority of people demonstrated peacefully during an extremely busy day in central London, with protests in a number of locations requiring a policing presence.

“It is disappointing that various splinter groups were again responsible for behaviour which has no place in London and we are determined to deal with this robustly. 

“I would like to say thank you to all the officers on duty, including the support we had from a number of colleagues on mutual aid from other forces, all of whom worked tirelessly throughout a long day.”

Pictured top: Protesters during the October 14, pro-Palestine march through Westminster, a protest has been held each Saturday since the war began last month (Picture: PA)

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