One million attend pro-Palestine march in London as far-right thugs clash with police
Nearly a million people gathered in London and called for an end to Israel's onslaught on Gaza, as police clashed with extreme rightwing thugs along the march route.
Organisers said up to a million people were at the rally, while the police said it was the largest protest in the UK since the recent Israel-Palestine war began and estimated over 300,000 participants.
The police reported that the Palestine protest proceeded as planned without incident; however, they had to manage the far-right violence and arrested approximately 100 of these rightwing agitators.
The pro-Palestinian march attracted a diverse crowd, including families and children. MPs Imran Hussain and Apsana Begum were at the rally, including Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the opposition. Palestinian ambassador Husam Zomlot also spoke at the event, as did actress Maxine Peake.
Many Jewish allies joined the march to demand peace and justice for Palestinians.
The Muslim Council of Britain said the “overwhelmingly peaceful event have one message for our government: an end to the violence and justice for the Palestinian people.”
Zara Mohammed, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, who joined the march said: “The Muslim Council of Britain commends the organisers of the peaceful Ceasefire Now march and urges ongoing advocacy for the Palestinian cause. It’s essential to persist in calling for an immediate ceasefire.”
Far-right violence at counterprotest
London's Met Police said they made 126 arrests, the majority were far-right extremists.
There were fights near the Cenotaph between the police and rightwing protesters. There were also clashes in other parts of the city, like Chinatown and close to the Houses of Parliament.
The Met Police mentioned that nine officers got hurt, with two needing hospital care for a broken elbow and a dislocated hip because of the alteration with the rightwing group.
"Groups of several hundreds [of counter-protesters] arrived, and seemed intent on confrontation, and intent on violence," the Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, Matt Twist, said in a statement.
"We've had arrests for possession of a knife, possession of a baton, possession of class A drugs, and assault on an emergency worker," Twist added.
Speaking about the Palestine march, Twist said it had not displayed the sort of physical violence carried out by the rightwing protesters.
He added that were some incidents of serious offences identified in relation to hate crime that it the police is investigating
Home Secretary Suella Braverman faced criticism for her part in "inflaming" tensions.
Some rightwing commentators, including the Home Secretary, claimed the pro-Palestinian march would disturb the Remembrance Day memorial service. She had called pro-Palestinian demonstrations "hate marches."
Critics accused the comments of acting like a "dog whistle" for far-right thugs, which included agitator Tommy Robinson, to cause disruption.
Following the clashes, Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf and London Mayor Sadiq Khan demanded Braverman's resignation.
Yousaf accused her of "fanning the flames of division" and said her position was now "untenable".
The London Mayor said the violent clashes with counter-protesters were a "direct result" of the Home Secretary's words.