Thousands join pro-Palestinian march in London, 12 arrests

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Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched in London on Saturday, with police making 12 arrests for alleged offences including inciting racial hatred and assaulting emergency workers.

The demonstrators gathered at Park Lane in the centre of the British capital holding banners demanding a “ceasefire now” while chanting “free Palestine”.

“People are very, very concerned that there’s going to be a disaster piled upon an already existing disaster in Rafah,” John Rees, from Stop the War Coalition, told AFP.

“What I hope is that we can avert this tragedy being made permanent.”

London’s Metropolitan Police said 12 people had been arrested, including two for displaying anti-Semitic placards.

“A man was seen in the crowd with an anti-Semitic placard. When officers went in to arrest him they were assaulted, resulting in six arrests,” the force posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Two other people were arrested for refusing to remove face coverings when required to do so, while another person was arrested on suspicion of support for a proscribed organisation in relation to a placard.

Pro-Palestinian marches have become a regular feature on Saturdays in London ever since Israel mounted its military response to Hamas’ unprecedented attack on October 7.

The attack resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Militants also took about 250 people hostage, 130 of whom are still in Gaza, including 30 who are presumed dead, according to Israeli figures.

Israel’s retaliatory assault on Gaza has killed at least 28,858 people, mostly women and children, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.

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