UK

Thousands join protest calling for ceasefire between Israel and Hamas

People have taken part in marches on previous weekends (Lucy North/PA)
People have taken part in marches on previous weekends (Lucy North/PA) People have taken part in marches on previous weekends (Lucy North/PA)

Thousands of pro-Palestine protesters are calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as they march from Bank to Parliament Square on Saturday.

The march began at Bank Junction at midday and will finish in Westminster later this afternoon, following a route that takes it past St Paul’s Cathedral and Somerset House.

People on the march held signs with the words “Free Palestine” and “End the siege”.

Some protesters chanted: “One, two, three, four, occupation no more, five, six, seven, eight, Israel is a terrorist state.”

Smoke rises from the Gaza Strip after Israeli strikes
Smoke rises from the Gaza Strip after Israeli strikes Smoke rises from the Gaza Strip after Israeli strikes on Saturday (Leo Correa/AP)

They also chanted the controversial slogan: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

An exclusion zone is in place prohibiting any protesters from assembling around the Israeli embassy.

A post on Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s website says: “Join us in the streets of London for our National March for Palestine on Saturday December 9 to call for a full ceasefire and an end to the war on Gaza.”

Previous weekends have seen thousands of protesters and counter-protesters converging on the capital.

The Metropolitan Police tweeted that a man had been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence.

“As the march formed up, officers identified a man with a placard making comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany,” the force said.

“He has been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence.

Earlier, the Met Police said that protesters must stick to the agreed route, under Section 12 of the Public Order Act.

“Further conditions are in place that mean speeches must end by 4pm and the assembly at the end of the protest must end by 5pm,” it said.

It comes after the UK chose to abstain on a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza – a motion that was vetoed by the US.