No fewer than 80 people were arrested on Saturday in London during a clash between police and a group of protesters.
It was that about 300,000 pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through central London on Saturday, with police arresting nearly 100 far-right counter-protesters to stop them ambushing the main rally.
According to The Independent, the police faced “unacceptable violence, including people throwing missiles and a metal barrier” as far-right groups stormed a Remembrance event at the Cenotaph on Saturday afternoon.
The Metropolitan Police was quoted by the Independent saying, “Those using violence were solely intent on confronting officers.”
The police said dozens of far-right protesters have been arrested after groups clashed with officers in Central London, with 82 arrested in Tachbrook Street, Pimlico to prevent a breach of the peace, adding that another 10 people were also arrested for other offences, including possession of offensive weapons, affray and possession of drugs.
Scottish First Minister, Humza Yousaf, accused Suella Braverman of encouraging the far-right groups by “fanning the flames of division” and urged her to resign.
Incidents continued throughout the day, with police in riot gear trying to contain protesters near the House of Commons, in train stations and in side streets, with footage showing police officers with batons working to control the crowds.
Pro-Palestinian protesters could be heard chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, a rallying cry which is viewed by many Jews as antisemitic and a call for Israel’s eradication.
Others carried banners reading “Free Palestine”, “Stop the Massacre” and “Stop Bombing Gaza.”
Since Hamas’s assault in southern Israel on Oct. 7, there has been strong support and sympathy for Israel from Western governments, including Britain’s, and many citizens. But the Israeli military response has also prompted anger, with weekly protests in London demanding a ceasefire.
About 21,000 people took part in a pro-Palestinian rally in Brussels on Saturday, and in Paris, left-wing lawmakers were among some 16,000 protesters who marched with pro-Palestinian banners and flags to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Some French leftist politicians have welcomed President Emmanuel Macron’s call this week for a ceasefire, including in an interview with the BBC released late on Friday in which he opposed Israel’s bombing of Gaza.
A protest against antisemitism has been called on Sunday by senior French lawmakers.