Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters are expected to march in central London on Saturday to demonstrate against the resumption of Israel’s bombing of Gaza.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has announced it will be holding another protest in the capital following similar events in the past two months. Supporters will meet in the City of London then march past St Paul's Cathedral, up Fleet Street then along Embankment and on to Whitehall. The march will finish in Parliament Square. An accessible route for people who want a shorter version will start under Waterloo Bridge then join the rest of the march.
— PSC (@PSCupdates) December 7, 2023
In the last major protest on Armistice Day, organisers said more than 800,000 people attended. During the march, clashes erupted between police and far-right groups who were protesting against the demonstration, with over 120 arrests made.
There has been mounting pressure on the Met Police to take stricter action against incidents of antisemitism during the demonstrations, with critics claiming that changes of “from the river to the sea”, are antisemitic, while other protestors have been accused of showing support for Hamas.
Former home secretary Suella Braverman was blamed for inflaming tensions ahead of the march in an unauthorised article in which she had accused police of "double standards" at protests. Rishi Sunak later condemned the “wholly unacceptable” violence by far-right groups and “Hamas sympathisers” on the march on 11 November.
Saturday’s event is the latest protest since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October. Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters also marched on 25 November during a temporary truce. Last week, demonstrators gathered across the UK, with the PSC arranging ceasefire rallies and vigils in London, Cardiff, Hull and Coventry.
The Israel bombardment began after more than 1,400 people in southern Israel were killed by gunmen from Hamas - the UK-proscribed terrorist organisation which runs Gaza - during its assault on 7 October.
Since then, the Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry has said more than 16,015 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory strikes, which have caused destruction to civilian neighbourhoods.
PSC director Ben Jamal said: “This Saturday, ordinary people across the UK will come out again to show the vast majority of them support a permanent ceasefire. They will show their solidarity with Palestinians who are experiencing unbearable suffering.
“They will also demand the root causes are not forgotten - Israel’s decades-long military occupation of Palestinian territories and its system of apartheid against Palestinians. We demand justice for the Palestinian people – their right to self-determination and to live in freedom, dignity and with equality.”
A spokesperson for the Met Police told Yahoo News UK that updates about their plans for the march would be posted ahead of it taking place.
Yahoo News UK has contacted the PSC for further comment.
Response to pro-Palestine marches
While organisers of the pro-Palestine marches say they are only calling for Israel to stop their retaliatory strikes on Gaza, some members of the Jewish community say the protests have made London a “no-go zone for Jews”.
Organisers of the march against antisemitism in London last month called the rally, that was attended by tens of thousands of people, the largest gathering against antisemitism London had seen since the Battle of Cable Street in 1936.
That event saw hundreds of thousands of people blocked a planned march by Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists through an area populated by many Jewish families at the Cable Street march 87 years ago.
Former prime minister Boris Johnson was among the high-profile figures joining last month’s demonstration, a day after crowds gathered in the capital once again to demand a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict.
Organisers Campaign Against Semitism set up the protest amid fears about rising antisemitic incidents sparked by the crisis in the Middle East.
Chief rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis told the crowd that there had been “an alarming rise of antisemitism” since Hamas’ 7 October attacks.
The start of the march saw English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, arrested by police after he tried to join marchers.