Pro-Palestinian protestors march through London to call for ceasefire (2024)

Demonstrators marched through the streets of central London today to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and protest the sale of weapons to Israel as the war in the Middle East entered its ninth month.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign joined peace groups and students from across the country in a march from Russell Square to Parliament Square early this afternoon.

Saturday marked the 18th time thousands turned out to march for Gaza, blighted by Israeli bombing since Hamas' brutal incursion into southern Israel late last year.

Banners called for the end to hostilities, listing the names of children killed in the conflict and urging an end to arms sales to Israel. Controversial chants of 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free' were heard from the crowd.

'Enough is Enough' counter protesters standing in solidarity with Israel joined at the Strand in London around 12:30pm. They were to remain in the area as PSC demonstrators passed by another route.

Israeli demonstrators called for the return of the remaining hostages brutally captured by Hamas last year, as Israel welcomed the release of four brought back into Israel by military helicopter earlier today.

Groups from around the country turned out to call for an end to the hostilities

A Pro-Palestinian protester holds a megaphone ahead of a march for Palestine on Saturday

Pro-Israel protesters stage a counter demonstration from the Strand in Central London today

Pro-Israel supporters hold placards and wave Israeli flags as they march in central London, on June 8

Protesters hold placards and wave Palestinian flags as they take part in a 'National March for Gaza'

A protester with a placard listing the name of children killed in the violence joins the Palestinian march through central London on June 8

The Met Police said conditions had been agreed with both the pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian contingents with regard to where and when the protests would take place.

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The PSC march formed at 1:30pm, following a routedown Southampton Row, Kingsway, Aldwych, Arundel Street, Temple Place, Victoria Embankment, Horse Guards Avenue, Whitehall, to end in Parliament Square.

The Enough is Enough counter-protest formed on the Strand on the junction of Milford Lane after 1230 hours.

A sea of Israeli flags were seen waving alongside Union Flags, LGBT flags and banners on the Strand today in support of Israel.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Andy Valentine, who is leading this weekend's policing operation, said: 'Everyone in London has a right to protest, and we continue to balance that with every Londoner's right to go about their lives without fear or serious disruption.

'We have been in discussions with the PSC, Enough is Enough, religious leaders from both the Jewish and Muslim communities, community groups and businesses.

'The conditions put in place on the PSC march and the Enough is Enough counter-protest consider and balance the impact these events have on London and the right to protest, and seek to minimise disruption.

'We recognise the strong views of those participating in both protests. We urge everyone to exercise their right to protest calmly and within the law to avoid any unnecessary conflict.

'We have faced unprecedented public order demand since October and continue to take rapid enforcement action against anyone who crosses the line during events.'

At the pro-Palestine march, demonstrators held signs and mannequins, including one branding Angela Rayner the 'Angel of Death'.

The image was placed on a cardboard cutout covered in red paint to signify blood.

One woman carried a headless mannequin in a bloodstained baby row.

Some of the crowd chanted 'Keir Starmer you can't hide we charge you with genocide' and 'Rishi Rishi, you're a liar, we demand a ceasefire'.

Others included 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.'

Referring to the space between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, some consider this a call for Israel not to exist.

Organisers played music, banged drums and led popular chants including 'Free free Palestine'

Protests have continued around the world for the last eight months, with Israel and Hamas unable to carve out a permanent peace deal.

A week-long truce was agreed in November, with Israeli hostages returned to Israel in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

But delegations have since been unable to make significant progress in talks, despite mediation from Qatar, Egypt and the United States.

Israel today celebrated the rare success of the IDF in returning four hostages alive after an operation in Gaza they said took weeks of planning.

Noa Argamani, who was famously seen being driven into Gaza on the back of a motorbike on October 7, was joined by Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40, as the IDF returned by helicopter from Nuseirat.

A man with a mask of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a doll covered in red paint, with a bandolier, during a 'National March for Gaza' in central London today

Protesters were seen carrying mock body parts and effigies of children wrapped in blankets, representing the young killed in the hostilities between Israel and Hamas

A protester holds a placard reading 'Stop bombing children' during today's demonstration

Pro-Israel protesters hold flags and banners during a protest in London on June 8

People wave to IDF forces taking off in a helicopter after bringing hostages to Tel HaShomer hospital on June 8, 2024 in Ramat Gan, Israel

A helicopter and Isaeli Special Forces stand outside Tel HaShomer Hospital in Tel Aviv today

Noa Argamani, kidnapped by Hamas on October 7, is reunited with her father

Noa Argamani was seen kidnapped on the back of motorbike during the horrifying terrorist attacks

Noa was one of just 19 women that are still being held by the terror group

Israel says more than 130 hostages remain, with about a quarter of those believed dead, and divisions are deepening in the country over how to bring them home.

In a statement, the IDF said: 'The hostages were rescued by the IDF, ISA and 'Yamam' forces from two separate locations in the heart of Nuseirat.

'They are in good medical condition and have been transferred to the 'Sheba' Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre for further medical examinations.

'The security forces will continue to make every effort to bring the hostages home.'

Benjamin Netanyahu praised the military in a statement, translated from Hebrew: 'The entire nation salutes you and the courageous fighters who today risked their lives in order to save lives.

'Yet again you have proven that Israel does not surrender to terrorism and acts with boundless valor and resourcefulness to return home our hostages.'

The rescue operation comes at a sensitive time with Israel facing mounting pressure over the reports of civilian casualties in Gaza, and the worsening humanitarian crisis.

Israel's offensive has killed at least 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza's Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between fighters and civilians in its figures.

The world watched in horror as reports emerged claiming 39 people had been killed in a UN school in central Gaza earlier this week.

The IDF claimed the compound was being used as a Hamas command post.

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz was widely expected to announce his resignation from the emergency government today - but cancelled a statement planned for this afternoon after Israel announced the hostage releases.

With Gantz gone, Netanyahu would lose the backing of a centrist bloc that has helped broaden support for the government in Israel and abroad, at a time of increasing diplomatic and domestic pressure.

Instead, Netanyahu would have to rely more heavily on the political backing of ultra-nationalist parties, whose leaders angered Washington even before the war and who have since called for a return to a complete Israeli occupation of Gaza.

Analysts expect this would likely increase strains already apparent in relations with the United States and intensify public pressure at home, with the months-long military campaign still not achieving its stated goals - the destruction of Hamas and the return of 120 remaining hostages held in Gaza.

Smoke billows in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza strip amid Israeli bombardment on June 6

The Gaza Strip continues to endure heavy bombardment, sparking outcry from aid groups

Palestinians evacuate dead and woundedin Deir al Balah today following Israeli strikes

A Palestinian girl watches as others check a UN-school housing displaced people hit during Israeli bombardment in Nuseirat, on June 6

Israel began its land invasion and sustained aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip in October after Hamas gunmen stormed into southern Israel and started shooting indiscriminately.

Around 1,200 people were killed in Israeli during the Hamas attack and around 250 people were taken hostage.

Horrifying scenes showed Hamas and other factions wielding Kalashnikov-style assault rifles as they stormed into towns and a music festival in Israel.

In the months since, Israel has pounded the dense Gaza Strip with aerial attacks, displacing the vast majority of the population.

Around 80 per cent of Gaza's 2.3 million people have fled their homes, severe hunger is widespread and UN officials say parts of the territory are experiencing famine.

Israel has stated its war objectives to be returning the hostages and definitively vanquishing Hamas, the de facto governing authority in Gaza.

Hamas, rejecting Israel's right to exist and committed to its destruction, has justified the October 7 attack as a response to what it called Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.

Pro-Palestinian protestors march through London to call for ceasefire (2024)
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