Hundreds of Thousands of Pro-Palestians March in London

Protesters show placards during a pro-Palestinian protest in London on Saturday. Alberto Pezzali/AP


London’s Metropolitan Police put the number of protesters at over 300,000, while organizers say it could also have been one of the largest protests in British political history, suggesting 800,000 people took part in the march in what was the largest pro-Palestinian rally in the city since the Israel-Hamas conflict began a month ago. The pro-Palestinian march drew a diverse crowd, with many families and children taking part.

Saturday’s rally came amid a growing political row over British Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s suggestion that London’s police had been biased in their handling of pro-Palestinian protests and her labeling of the protests as “hate marches. As a result British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak replaced Suella Braverman as Home Secretary by James Cleverly.

Cleverly was replaced as Foreign Secretary by the former Prime Minister David Cameron.

Protesters marched overwhelmingly peacefully through the city, meeting at London’s Hyde Park and walking to the U.S. Embassy. The Met police reported “no issues” with the protest itself, saying that it had stuck to the prescribed route. The route for Saturday’s march, which coincided with Armistice Day, was intentionally drawn up by protest organizers to avoid London’s war memorials such as the Cenotaph, where two minutes of silence were held to commemorate the U.K. war dead an hour before the march began.

London’s police did, however, report incidents of far-right violence in the city, with about 100 counterprotesters arrested.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan blamed the far-right violence on the home secretary’s language. Scotland’s leader Humza Yousaf called for the home secretary to resign, saying the far-right had been “emboldened” by her.

The Met Police said Saturday evening that they had detained a breakaway group of 150 pro-Palestinian protesters, sometime after the main demonstration had ended.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Saturday evening that he condemned “the violent scenes we have seen from far-right groups and Hamas sympathizers. All criminality must be met with the full and swift force of the law.”

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