London pro-Palestine march live: 300,000 descend on capital as more than 90 counter-protesters arrested

Counter-protesters clash with police in Parliament Square in central London (PA)
Counter-protesters clash with police in Parliament Square in central London (PA)

Hundreds of thousands of pro-Palestinian activists marched through the capital on Armistice Day to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Huge crowds began marching from Park Lane near Hyde Park on Saturday afternoon. The route took them to the US embassy in Vauxhall, south of the Thames.

Chants of “free Palestine” and “ceasefire now” could be heard as the protesters set off.

Some 126 people were arrested throughout the day, with at least 92 of them being counter-protesters, the majority of which were "part of a large group who tried to reach the main march".

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist issued a statement about "the extreme violence from the right-wing protesters towards the police", which he described as "extraordinary and deeply concerning".

Around 150 pro-Palestinian demonstrators who were part of a "breakaway group" allegedly firing fireworks and wearing face coverings were detained in Grosvenor Place. Arrests were made after some of the fireworks "struck officers in the face", the Met said.

The force also said it is looking for two pro-Palestine demonstrators who were allegedly marching with Hamas-style headbands as well as others accused of anti-Semitic chants.

Rishi Sunak has condemned "the violent, wholly unacceptable scene we have seen today from the EDL and associated groups and Hamas sympathisers attending the National March for Palestine".

Good night

23:04 , Jordan King

That is the end of The Evening Standard's coverage of today's protests.

You can read a round-up of the most important events here.

Police chief will publish images of suspects at protests

21:59 , Jordan King

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said: "There were a number of serious offences identified in relation to hate crime and possible support for proscribed organisations during the protest that we are actively investigating.

"Locating and intercepting suspects in a crowd of the size we saw today will always be challenging, but we were further limited in our ability to do so due to the number of officers we had to deploy, from early in the day, in response to violence from the right wing groups in central London.

"We will soon publish images of some of those we suspect have committed these offences and as we have shown in recent weeks, we will pursue all available lines of enquiry to identify suspects and take action even after the conclusion of protests."

Nine police officers injured

21:16 , Jordan King

Nine police officers were injured during today's protests, Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said.

Two of them required hospital treatment with one fracturing an elbow and another suffering a dislocated hip.

Total of 126 people arrested on day of protests

21:14 , Jordan King

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist confirmed the number less than an hour ago, adding that some officers are still out working in London.

He said: "There are many officers still deployed across central London responding to any outbreaks of disorder and ensuring key sites are protected ahead of tomorrow's remembrance events.

"Many more are working in custody suites dealing with the 126 people who have been arrested so far.

"I am extremely proud of what our officers have achieved in challenging circumstances, including the many officers who came from across the country to help us keep London safe."

Assistant Commissioner condemns 'extreme violence from the right-wing protesters towards the police'

21:10 , Jordan King

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist issued a statement to condemn "the extreme violence from the right-wing protesters towards the police", which he described as "extraordinary and deeply concerning".

He said: "They arrived early, stating they were there to protect monuments, but some were already intoxicated, aggressive and clearly looking for confrontation.

"Abuse was directed at officers protecting the Cenotaph, including chants of 'you're not English any more'.

"This group were largely football hooligans from across the UK and spent most of the day attacking or threatening officers who were seeking to prevent them being able to confront the main march.

"Many in these groups were stopped and searched and weapons including a knife, a baton and knuckleduster were found - as well as class A drugs.

"Thanks to the considerable efforts of our officers, who put themselves in harm's way, nobody was able to reach the Cenotaph, which was protected at all times."

Police detain around 150 pro-Palestine protesters in Grosvenor Place

19:35 , Jordan King

The Met said it detained the "breakaway group" which was allegedly "firing fireworks and wearing face coverings".

"Officers are using their Section 60 and 60AA powers to detain and search those involved," the force said in a statement posted on X.

Seven arrests after protests in Glasgow

19:18 , Jordan King

Police Scotland said five men and two women had been arrested in Glasgow in relation to protests over the Israel-Gaza conflict.

A spokesperson said: "There were a number of demonstrations throughout Scotland today in relation to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

"In total there were seven arrests, five men and two women, made in separate incidents linked to the demonstrations, all in Glasgow city centre."

Dispersal order issued in City of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea

19:05 , Jordan King

The Met said a S35 Dispersal Order in the Boroughs of the City of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea has been authorised.

In post on X, the force explained: "This gives officers powers to disperse anti social behaviour as well as powers under S60 & S60AA to search for weapons & remove face coverings."

Michael Gove crowded by pro-Palestine protesters chanting 'shame on you'

19:01 , Jordan King

Michael Gove was crowded by pro-Palestinian demonstrators at Victoria station amid a day fraught with tensions over a rally and counter-protests held on Armistice Day.

Footage shared on social media showed the senior Cabinet minister flanked by a large police contingent trying to keep dozens of demonstrators away from him as he passed through the London railway station.

The flag-waving protesters crowding him were heard chanting "shame on you" as officers shouted at them to "get back".

In another clip, the Levelling Up Secretary was seen walking down a London street as protesters followed him chanting the same slogan.

Rishi Sunak condemns violence and 'unacceptable scenes'

18:34 , Jordan King

The Prime Minister released a statement on X, formally known as Twitter, where he condemned "the violent, wholly unacceptable scene we have seen today from the EDL and associated groups and Hamas sympathisers attending the National March for Palestine.

Battersea and Nine Elms stations unlikely to clear up soon

17:53 , Jordan King

Transport for London said "Battersea and Nine Elms stations are very busy and unlikely to clear for some time".

The Met says stations north of the river are clearer.

You can follow live updates on different lines here.

Protesters told to disperse as darkness falls on London

17:39 , Jordan King

The Metropolitan Police said speeches being held in Nine Elms have come to a close and people are being encouraged to make their way home.

Waterloo Station now operating normally - after pro-Palestine sit-in

17:37 , Jordan King

Towards the end of the pro-Palestine march march, activists also staged a sit-in at Waterloo Station.

The British Transport Police (BTP) said officers were urging people to disperse after an order was put in place prohibiting trespassory assembly at a number of London railway stations.

BTP said in a post on X: "Following engagement with protest liaison officers, protesters are refusing to leave Waterloo Station as agreed.

"Therefore we are moving to arrest phase."

But it went on to post later: "As we moved to our arrest phase in Waterloo Station, protesters began to disperse. No arrests were made.

"The station is clear now, and passengers are able to use the station as normal."

Protesters take part in a sit-in protest at Waterloo Station on Saturday (AFP via Getty Images)
Protesters take part in a sit-in protest at Waterloo Station on Saturday (AFP via Getty Images)

Counter protesters try to break through barrier to get to pro-Palestine marchers

17:32 , Jordan King

The Evening Standard reporters saw several counter-protesters trying to break through a barrier at Westminster to get to where pro-Palestine marchers were passing.

Police intervened and managed to hold the counter-protesters back.

Suella Braverman accused of emboldening 'far-right protesters' - Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf

17:27 , Jordan King

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf said Mrs Braverman had encouraged them with her inflammatory rhetoric and urged her to resign.

The SNP leader tweeted: "The far right has been emboldened by the Home Secretary. She has spent her week fanning the flames of division. They are now attacking the police on Armistice Day.

"The Home Secretary's position is untenable. She must resign."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "The scenes of disorder we witnessed by the far-right at the Cenotaph are a direct result of the Home Secretary's words. The police's job has been made much harder."

Met Police looking for pro-Palestine protesters allegedly 'marching with Hamas headbands'

16:59 , Jordan King

The Metropolitan Police have responded to a photo of two protesters allegedly wearing Hamas-style headbands, saying its officers are "actively looking for these individuals and will take proactive action when they are identified".

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gives speech at pro-Palestine march

16:23 , Jordan King

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said "on Armistice Day, we say ceasefire now" as he delivered a speech to pro-Palestinian protesters from atop a fire engine near Vauxhall.

He said: "It seems that there's one million of us here today in London showing our solidarity with the people of Palestine, so Suella Braverman and Rishi Sunak's attempt to stop this has been shamed for what it is. They should be ashamed also (of) their vote on the United Nations when they wouldn't even support a call for a ceasefire in Gaza. Shame on them.

"But it's also a global movement of people like ourselves, young, old, black, white, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, no particular religion, people from all walks of life marching together to try and bring justice for the people of Palestine. And I've just got news that a very effective demonstration in Australia has prevented a ship from travelling to Israel taking (arms there)."

Jeremy Corbyn at the 'National March For Palestine' in central London (AFP via Getty Images)
Jeremy Corbyn at the 'National March For Palestine' in central London (AFP via Getty Images)

He added: "Parliament is discussing many issues this week... on Wednesday evening around seven o'clock there will be a vote, a vote on an amendment to the King's speech which calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.

"I will be voting for that amendment and a few others will as well but I want all of you to write to your MP and say this is not a time for some shabby, shoddy political calculation of what personal advancement you'll get by voting against this motion or abstaining... On Armistice Day, we say ceasefire now."

Organisers ask pro-Palestine protesters to stop setting off fireworks

16:18 , Jordan King

Demonstrators in London have been twice asked to not set off fireworks by an organiser of the event.

"Please stop throwing fireworks", the pro-Palestinian crowd congregating at the end of the march in Nine Elms was told after one went off.

A second was set off soon after, and a man then said: "We just made the announcement about fireworks, it's genuinely about safety, please consider the people around you."

Protesters hang the Palestinian flag on the Irish Embassy

16:16 , Jordan King

Evening Standard journalists report pro-Palestine protesters hanging the flag on the building in central London to the cheers of other demonstrators.

10 more arrests made

15:40 , Jordan King

The Metropolitan Police said they have made an additional 10 arrests for several suspected offences, including the "possession of offensive weapons, affray and possession of drugs".

This is on top of the 82 counter-protester arrests "to prevent the breach of the peace" in Tachbrook Street.

'Counter-protesters came intent on confrontation,' police say

15:35 , Jordan King

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said counter-protesters went to the pro-Palestine march "intent on confrontation".

He said in a statement posted on X: So today, at the moment, we're dealing with two things. We're dealing with a counter-protest and we're dealing with the main Palestinian march.

"The counter-protest arrived early this morning, just after 9am, and groups of several hundred arrived and seemed intent on confrontation and intent on violence."

Mr Twist went on to say the arrests made have included possession of a knife, possession of a baton, possession of Class A drugs and assault on an emergency worker.

He continued: "There are a number of groups within this counter-protest who are split off and seem intent on seeking confrontation with the main Palestinian march and the policing operation, at the moment, is being effective in preventing that happening."

Mr Twist added that there are currently "no issues" with the pro-Palestine march, which hundreds of thousands of people have attended.

82 counter-protesters arrested

15:33 , Jordan King

Some 82 counter-protesters have been arrested during the pro-Palestine march in central London "to prevent a breach of the peace", the police said.

The Metropolitan Police added: "They’re part of a large group of counter-protesters we have been monitoring who have tried to reach the main protest march.

"We will continue to take action to avoid the disorder that would likely take place if that happened.”

Counter-protesters have been seen clashing with officers multiple times throughout the march.

Large police presence outside White Swan pub in Vauxhall

15:05 , Sami Quadri

A heavy police presence is in place outside the White Swan pub in the Vauxhall area of London.

Around 20 officers, including police on horseback, are separating counter-protesters, who are understood to be sitting inside the pub, from the pro-Palestine march.

The march is passing peacefully south.

Pictured: Palestinian flag wrapped around First World War monument

14:49 , Sami Quadri

A Palestinian flag has been wrapped around a First World War memorial near London’s Wellington Arch.

The statue commemorating those in the Machine Gun Corps was seen with the flag hanging from its waist.

Protesters were later seen climbing the statue, with one holding a megaphone and shouting: “Free, free Palestine”.

Hundreds gathered around the Wellington Arch as the pro-Palestine march filed past and there was a heavy police presence in the area.


Police encircle counter-protesters near Victoria Station

14:10 , Sami Quadri

Police have encircled a group of about 15 people, some clutching beer cans, outside the Duke of York pub on Victoria Street opposite Victoria Station, close to where people are marching.

An officer told the PA news agency they were counter-protesters who had caused “a bit of trouble” so they have been put under a “breach of the peace cordon” to keep them away from the main march.

Police stand guard near war memorial

13:54 , Sami Quadri

Police officers are standing sentry next to a war memorial on Grosvenor Gardens.

Stewards are urging participants to “keep to the left” and continue down Lower Grosvenor Place.

In the crowd, one sign says “Jews against genocide our grief will not be weaponised”.

Some people are wearing white poppies, a few are carrying olive branches.

Chants include “free, free Palestine”, “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free” and “ceasefire now”.

Sadiq Khan points finger at Braverman after far-right protesters clash with police

13:19 , Sami Quadri

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan blamed Suella Braverman for protesters’ clashes with police.

He tweeted: “The scenes of disorder we witnessed by the far-right at the Cenotaph are a direct result of the Home Secretary’s words. The police’s job has been made much harder.

“The Met have my full support to take action against anyone found spreading hate and breaking the law.”

Officers detain 'large group' of counter-protesters near Westminster Bridge

13:00 , Sami Quadri

Officers have detained a “large group” of counter-protesters near Westminster Bridge, the Met said.

The force added: “It is believed they are part of the group involved in the disorder earlier.”

Activist calls for Israel to stop 'killing children needlessly'

12:59 , Sami Quadri

Activist Steve Rains is attending the demonstration with his wife Jenny, 73, and son Adam, 39.

He said: "My parents fought in the wars for this country, and people talk about lest we forget -- it's not just about not forgetting the people who fought in the wars, but what they fought for. To stop this kind of thing happening - for children to be killed needlessly. There has to be another way."

Jenny added: "I'm a mother and a grandmother, I've got four kids and seven grandchildren. My uncle Charlie died in WW2, I'm wearing my poppy, and it's for people who die in all wars."


Counter-protester arrested on suspicion of possessing a knife

12:36 , Sami Quadri

A counter-protester has been arrested in Chinatown on suspicion of carrying a knife, police have said.

Far-right groups have clashed with the police but the majority have dispersed. Officers will remain in the area.

Pictured: Pro-Palestinian march sets off from Hyde Park

12:25 , Sami Quadri

Activists waving Palestinian flags begin marching on Oxford Street

 (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)
(Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

Met say counter-protesters 'threw missiles at officers'

12:02 , Sami Quadri

In an update on X, the Met said: “A group of counter protesters who left Whitehall and moved into Chinatown confronted and threw missiles at officers who tried to engage with them.

“Additional officers have been deployed to the area to identify, locate and deal with those involved. Our priority is keeping the public safe. We will not tolerate disorder in central London today.”

Counter-protesters chant "You let your country down" at police

11:55 , Sami Quadri

Counter-protesters began heckling police near the Cenotaph in central London ahead of a pro-Palestine demonstration on Armistice Day

Two minute Armistice silence begins

11:03 , Sami Quadri

Hundreds of people gathered at the Cenotaph to observe two minutes of silence to commemorate the UK’s war dead at 11am.

Pictured: Police officers take their positions by the Cenotaph

10:44 , Sami Quadri

Huge police presence near the Cenotaph ahead of the pro-Palestine march this afternoon

 (Jeff Moore/PA Wire)
(Jeff Moore/PA Wire)

Fight breaks out between police and groups attempting to reach Cenotaph

10:38 , Sami Quadri

Fights have broken out between police and groups attempting to reach the Cenotaph.

The large crowd of people bearing St George’s flags were seen walking along Embankment and shouting “England till I die”.

A line of police attempted to stop them from reaching Whitehall but the group pushed through, with some shouting “let’s have them” as officers hit out with batons.

The group appears to have reached Whitehall where the Cenotaph is situated.

Many more are pushing through, shouting “forward”.

Activists banned from protesting at Waterloo, Victoria and Charing Cross

10:23 , Sami Quadri

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said he granted consent for transport police to make orders banning protests at three London railway stations so that people can travel “free from intimidation”.

He said in a statement: “Armistice Day is a moment of solemn national reflection in remembrance of those who have given their lives in service of our country. It’s important that people can use our rail network to safely travel, free from intimidation.

“That’s why I have granted consent for the British Transport Police to make orders under Section 14A of the Public Order Act 1986 prohibiting planned protests at various London stations today, meaning anyone taking part will be subject to arrest.

“I will always back the British Transport Police to use their powers to keep people safe and I am grateful to their officers, especially those who are on duty today.

“While the right to peaceful protest is a key part of our democratic society, it cannot be at the expense of other people’s right not to be seriously disrupted or intimidated.”

Pictured: Pro-Palestine activists wearing high-vis jackets gather in Hyde Park

10:20 , Sami Quadri

Huge crowds have gathered in Hyde Park ahead of the pro-Palestine march in central London


Scores of activists gather in Hyde Park ahead of march

10:12 , Sami Quadri

Scores of people have gathered in Hyde Park for a “stewards’ meeting” ahead of the pro-Palestine match in central London.

They are all wearing high-vis jackets, while many have also donned keffiyehs, Palestinian scarves.

There is a heavy police presence at the nearby Wellington Arch, where more than 10 police vans are parked, including vehicles from Lancashire Constabulary and Cumbria Constabulary.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign expects 'mass peaceful protest'

09:20 , Sami Quadri

Organisers of the protest issued a statement saying they "have put a huge amount of effort into stewarding and safeguarding the march".

What Armistice events are happening over the weekend?

08:44 , Sami Quadri

A national two-minute silence will take place at 11am.

The Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall will be attended by the King and Queen and other members of the royal family on Saturday evening.

Remembrance Sunday events will take place at the Cenotaph in Westminster the following day.

Why is a pro-Palestine march taking place on Armistice Day?

07:52 , Sami Quadri

Hundreds of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters are set to travel to the capital on Saturday despite concerns over the demonstration clashing with Armistice Day.

When and where is it happening?

Protesters will officially gather at Hyde Park, about a mile from Whitehall at noon, before marching to the US embassy in Vauxhall, south of the Thames.

The planned demonstration is set to end at 4pm.

Speeches will be made on a stage set up near the end of the march, with former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, actors Maxine Peake and Juliet Stevenson, and Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestine mission to the UK, expected to take part.

Who is involved?

The coalition of groups behind the march are the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Stop the War Coalition, Muslim Association of Britain, Palestinian Forum in Britain and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Trade unions, political groups such as the Socialist Worker and various politicians will also attend.

Why is it happening?

Stop the War has insisted that the focus of the march is on stopping the killing in Gaza.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign says the UK Government, through its “endorsement” of Israel, has been rendered “complicit” in the deaths of people in Gaza.

Major policing operation as capital braces for Armistice Day pro-Palestine march

07:35 , Sami Quadri

The pro-Palestine rally on Saturday afternoon is expected to be one of the largest political marches in British history.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issued a plea for “unity” amid tensions over the demonstration coinciding with Remembrance Weekend.

There are concerns about the risk of counter-protests, particularly around the Cenotaph, even though the demonstration is not intended to go near the monument.

Scotland Yard will deploy nearly 2,000 officers across central London in a major policing operation over the weekend.

On the eve of the mass protest, the Prime Minister urged those taking part to do so “respectfully and peacefully” and to respect Armistice Day commemorations.

“This act of remembrance is fundamental to who we are as a country and I want to reassure those wishing to pay their respects, attend services and travel that they can and should do so,” Mr Sunak said in a statement.