London, Oct 21 (EFE).- An estimated 100,000 people took to the streets of London on Saturday, police said, marching near Downing Street, the British Prime Minister’s residence, to protest the bombing of Gaza.
Chanting slogans such as “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” the demonstrators walked among flags and banners reading “Free Palestine” and “Stop the massacre.”
More than 1,000 London Metropolitan Police officers provided security for the protest, which flooded the center of the British capital for the second consecutive weekend and forced the temporary closure of the Marble Arch tube station on the commercial artery of Oxford Street.
The National March for Palestine demonstration was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Scotland Yard arrested two people in Trafalgar Square during the day for firing pyrotechnic rockets at its officers, and also increased security around the Israeli Embassy, where some groups gathered in the afternoon.
“This is in solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters who are facing genocide, who have been expelled from their own country, who have been displaced. This is for all the innocent people,” a protester who identified himself as Muhammad told EFE.
Another participant, Hayad, of Iraqi origin, explained that “Palestine has been occupied for more than seventy years.
“We have experienced war, we have experienced injustice. What is happening in Palestine is really shameful for the whole community because of the killing, the genocide. We saw it in Iraq and we don’t want it to happen again,” he added.
Among the protest, there was also criticism of Rishi Sunak’s conservative government: “I’m protesting because I feel the government is complicit in the war crimes committed by Israel,” said Joe, a British teacher.
“I am here to make my voice heard and to show that not all British people support the actions of the state of Israel,” he continued.
Prior to the protest, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan told reporters at a press conference, “It is important to remember that while supporting the Palestinian cause or criticizing Israel is not in itself unlawful, any support for a proscribed organization such as Hamas or Hezbollah is unlawful.”
A few days ago, UK Home Office minister Suella Braverman sent a letter to chief constables in England and Wales saying that “explicit pro-Hamas symbols and chants” were not the only “cause for concern”, but that “context is crucial.”
“Behaviours that are legitimate in some circumstances, for example the waving of a Palestinian flag, may not be legitimate such as when intended to glorify acts of terrorism,” she wrote.EFE gx/ics