Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched through central London on Saturday to call for a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, the latest in a series of weekend demonstrations in the capital since the seven-week war began.
Saturday’s rally, which involved 45,000 campaigners according to police estimates, took place during a four-day truce between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, the first break in the fighting, but protesters said that was not enough.
Police, who were handing out leaflets to warn demonstrators against breaking the law, said they had made 18 arrests as of 1900 GMT, including a man who was spotted carrying a placard with swastikas on and six people who refused to disperse after the march.
More than 120 protesters were arrested during a march earlier this month, when skirmishes broke out between police and far-right groups who had gathered to protest against the pro-Palestinian demonstration.
A protest against antisemitism is planned in London on Sunday and London’s Metropolitan Police said more than 1,500 officers would be on duty over the weekend to handle the two protests.
Former interior minister Suella Braverman was fired by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak after an unauthorised article in which she had accused police of “double standards” at protests showing support for Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations.