Historic pro-Palestinian march: 300,000 in London demand end to Gaza bombardment
Around 300,000 demonstrators marched through London demanding an end to Israel's bombardment of Gaza, which organisers say was the biggest pro-Palestinian March in British history.
Despite the heavy rain and wind, London witnessed another impressive protest in solidarity with Palestinians.
Organisers estimated that over 300,000 protesters took to London streets, declaring it was the largest pro-Palestine march in Europe in two decades.
"Thank you to the 300,000 of you who took to the streets for Palestine today! The largest pro-Palestine demo in British history and one of the 10 largest protests in British history," tweeted the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
"We are making history! We go again next Saturday!"
The protest was organised by Friends of Al-Aqsa, the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition and other groups.
The massive protest marched from Marble Arch to Whitehall and Parliament Square. Demonstrators held high "Free Palestine" signs and unfurled Palestinian flags while setting off green smoke flares.
The crowds called for an end to the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza that have intensified since October 7.
Such was the turnout that Marble Arch station had to briefly close its platform. The impassioned procession moved through central London before gathering en masse outside Downing Street.
There were other protests in the UK and around the world, including in the US, Spain, Malaysia, and Australia.
UK public opinion at odds with politicians
The protests come amid a rising civilian death toll since fighting escalated two weeks ago. According to reports, Israeli attacks on Gaza have killed at least 4,385 Palestinians, including 1,756 children. Meanwhile, over 1,400 people have been killed in Israel.
On Saturday, a convoy of 20 humanitarian trucks entered Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. This marked the first aid shipment to reach the area since the start of the conflict last month.
The impressive size of the protests in the UK, which shows the strength of the feeling from the public, comes as a recent poll shows overwhelming support among British adults for an immediate ceasefire.
The YouGov poll found that 76% of respondents supported an urgent ceasefire, compared to just 8% who opposed it and 16% who were unsure.
When asked whether there should be a ceasefire given the significant loss of civilian lives, 58% responded that there "definitely should be" one and 18% felt there "probably should be."
The poll, conducted on October 19 with 2,685 UK adults, found ceasefire support across the political spectrum — around 88% for Labour supporters and 73% of Conservative supporters wanted to see an end to the fighting.
The British public's united call for urgent peace efforts to halt the further loss of civilian lives puts them at odds with the UK Government and Labour.
The government is facing increasing pressure over its staunch support of Israel. On Wednesday, 40 UK parliament members called for an immediate ceasefire and backed humanitarian access to provide medicines, fuel, food and water in Gaza.
Despite broad political consensus, the UK government has yet to join the push for urgent de-escalation efforts.
Labour leader Keir Starmer's vocal support for Israel has deepened rifts within the UK's opposition party.
On October 17, multiple Labour councillors resigned after they said Starmer and the shadow foreign secretary had not called for a ceasefire and de-escalation and "instead endorsed collective punishment, blockade, siege and mass civilian casualties."