LONDON: Over 300,000 pro-Palestinian activists flooded central London on Saturday, converging for the “National March for Palestine” on Armistice Day.
The significant turnout, despite far-right counter-protests, marked the latest expression of global solidarity with Palestinians, urging a ceasefire in response to Israel’s actions in Gaza.
In a tense atmosphere near the Cenotaph war memorial and Westminster, a “significant number” of far-right groups clashed with police, resulting in nearly 100 arrests to prevent disruptions. Riot gear-clad officers faced provocations, with some protesters hurling bottles, prompting a robust response from the authorities.
The heightened tensions drew criticism from London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Scotland’s first minister, Humza Yousaf, who held Interior Minister Suella Braverman responsible. Braverman’s earlier comments accusing the police of favoritism toward “pro-Palestinian mobs” were cited as fueling the far-right’s actions.
Taking to social media, Khan remarked, “The scenes of disorder by the far-right at the Cenotaph are a direct result of the Home Secretary’s words.”
Despite the clashes, the police reported a “very large” turnout at the pro-Palestinian rally, emphasizing their commitment to preventing encounters between the two groups. The authorities vowed to employ all available powers and tactics to maintain order and avert confrontations.