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Tens of thousands take to the streets for pro-Palestine march

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of central London on Saturday to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The march, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), was the first protest to pass near the Israeli embassy since October. 

An exclusion zone enforced by the Met remained around the embassy to keep protesters more than 100 metres away.

The demonstration gathered south of Marble Arch, near Park Lane, and set off at around 1.30pm along Knightsbridge and Kensington Road, ending at the junction with Kensington Court, where speeches took place. 

The Met issued a dispersal order which meant speeches finished by 5pm, with protesters leaving the area by 6pm.

Around 1,500 officers from forces across the UK were on duty policing the march.

Five people were arrested in one incident, on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker. Police said there were seven other arrests.

The protest comes as Israel escalates its military offensive in Palestine following the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, which saw about 1,200 people killed and about 250 others taken hostage.

The health ministry in Gaza said more than 28,600 people, mainly women and children, have been killed in Israel’s campaign so far. 

Commander Kyle Gordon, leading the policing operation, said: “The conflict in the Middle East continues to have a profound and polarising impact here in London. 

“Since the attacks in Israel on October 7, many in our Jewish and Muslim communities have been fearful and uncertain about their safety. Recent figures published on hate crime across both these communities reminds us why we must continue to take such concerns seriously.

“There are also many people who feel very strongly about the continuing military action in Gaza and wish to make those views known through protest.

“Our role as the police is not to take a stance on the merits of that position, nor is it for us to specifically dictate how people express their views, providing they are doing so within the law.”

Pictured top: Protesters at a pro-Palestine march in central London in November (Picture: Claudia Lee)

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