Police say 13 protesters arrested during march from Bank Junction to Parliament Square
Thousands of pro-Palestine protesters gathered in Parliament Square, London, on Saturday to call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
The protesters marched from Bank Junction to Westminster, with many holding signs with the words “Free Palestine” and “End the siege”. Some protesters chanted: “One, two, three, four, occupation no more, five, six, seven, eight, Israel is a terrorist state.”
They also chanted the controversial slogan: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
The Metropolitan police said that 13 protesters were arrested, mostly for offensive placards. Police said that one woman was arrested after the force’s specialist Voyager CCTV monitoring team identified her as being wanted for an offence that occurred at a previous protest on 28 October.
On Friday the UK abstained on a UN security council resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, a motion that was vetoed by the US.
Lebanese-American Nadim Hussami, 44, said that the government should demand a ceasefire. “They should ask for an immediate ceasefire and not veto or abstain from UN security council resolutions,” he said.
Jocelyn Cruywagen, from South Africa, said that no one can be free until Palestinians are free. “We were oppressed by white people, as black South Africans we had to fight for our freedoms, we are still not entirely free,” she said. “It takes so much time. The words of Mandela are, if the Palestinians are not free, we cannot be free, the world cannot be free.”
She said that the government must call for a “permanent ceasefire”. “They should ask for the land to be restored to the Palestinians,” she added. “The wall needs to come down.”
Kelly Hunter, 60, said she felt “helpless” watching the news. “I have come on every single one, I am a Londoner,” she said. “I feel helpless, I can’t sleep at night.”
Previous weekends have seen thousands of protesters and counter-protesters converging on the capital.