Met Police make 2 arrests at pro-Palestine march as 'hundreds of thousands' attend

A woman with Stop The Genocide painted on her face during a Pro-Palestinian Rally
Pro-Palestinian protesters descended on London in their thousands, chanting, singing and waving placards -Credit:Guy Smallman/Getty Images

Two men were arrested during the pro-Palestinian march through Central London today (Saturday, April 27). The first arrest was for allegedly holding a placard with a swastika printed on it and the second for shouting an alleged racist remark to counter-protesters as they marched by, according to the Met Police.

Thousands of people rallied with the pro-Palestine march organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) which marched from Parliament Square to Hyde Park where speeches were heard. A static counter-pro-Israeli protest organised by Enough is Enough was stationed on Pall Mall which meant the PSC march had to walk right by them.

The man with the alleged swastika placard was arrested in Parliament Square just before 1pm, before the march had yet set off down Whitehall to end in Hyde Park. The second arrest took place on Pall Mall as the PSC march went by the Enough is Enough protesters and was allegedly shouting racist remarks.

READ MORE: MP criticises students who just 'wanted to spend time shouting' at him during Palestine protest

Ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made speeches at the stage set up in Hyde Park and was at the forefront of the march itself. Chants of "From the river to the sea Palestine will be free" were heard as well as placards saying "stop the genocide".

The Palestinian ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot said: “Change will come, campus by campus, city by city, country by country. The tide is turning because this is a global movement for change, a global assertion of popular power, of people’s power.”

A third protest 'walk' had been planned by the Campaign Against Antisemitism for today but was cancelled after the organisers said threats were made by “hostile actors” who posed a risk to the safety of Jews, PA reported.

This is the 13th PSC protest since they began every week seven months ago on October 9 last year. The total cost of policing these protests has been about £38.4 million, Scotland Yard say. In total, 44,722 Met Police officer shifts have been dedicated to the policing of these events. Officers have had to be brought in from around the country on a number of occasions, using up an additional 9,679 officer shifts and 6,339 officer rest days have been cancelled so far.

Before today's protest, there had been 415 arrests during these events. 193 of these have been for anti-Semitic offences, 15 of them were for terrorism offences. A further two were made today.

Sky reporter Sabah Choudhry said on speaking to counter Enough is Enough protestors she found many British Jews believed "London is a no-go zone for Jews".

Met Police Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said: "The cumulative impact of almost seven months of protest is felt widely, but it has been a particular cause of fear and uncertainty in Jewish communities. While there has been a Jewish presence on many of the PSC marches, there are many more Jewish people who do not travel into the centre of London on protest days, or who avoid the tube, hide their identities or otherwise change their behaviour. It is a reality that should concern us all."

He also addressed calls to ban the weekly protests but explained that the public disorder required for a ban to be enacted is "incredibly high" and has not been seen at the protests so is not possible. While this is the case he said the police "can use powers under the Public Order Act" to manage disruption and maintain safety.

During the protest a Section 60AA order was enacted which allowed police to remove face coverings from people who concealed their identity.

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