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Tens of thousands march in London for permanent ceasefire in Gaza

One protester was arrested Saturday on suspicion of inciting racial hatred for carrying a placard with Nazi symbols, the police said

Demonstrators gather at Whitehall in London as they protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, November 25, 2023.
Demonstrators gather at Whitehall in London as they protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, November 25, 2023.HOLLIE ADAMS (REUTERS)

A protester was arrested Saturday in London on suspicion of inciting racial hatred, as tens of thousands of people turned out on central London’s streets for a pro-Palestinian march calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

The National March for Palestine, which aimed to finish in Whitehall, central London, was the latest in several huge protests that have dominated the British capital’s streets every weekend since the Israel-Hamas war began last month.

The Metropolitan Police said it arrested a man on suspicion of inciting racial hatred “near the start of the protest.”

“Officers spotted him carrying a placard with Nazi symbols on it,” police said.

Officers handed out leaflets at the march that sought to clarify what would be deemed an offence, after the force faced pressure from senior government officials to be tougher on alleged displays of antisemitism at the protests.

“Anyone who is racist or incites hatred against any group should expect to be arrested. As should anyone who supports Hamas or any other banned organisation,” said Deputy Assistant Police Commissioner Ade Adelekan.

“We will not tolerate anyone who celebrates or promotes acts of terrorism – such as the killing or kidnap of innocent people – or who spreads hate speech,” he added.

In Paris, a march staged for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women drew both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli activists as well as other groups.

Some protesters, waving Palestinian flags and posters reading “Free Palestine,” walked in a show of solidarity with “Gaza and Palestine’s women who are being murdered.”

A group of Jewish women also joined the march to denounce crimes committed by Hamas, including rapes and killings, chanting, “We are women, we are proud, we are Jewish and we are angry.”

Meanwhile, some pro-Palestinian protests were organized over the weekend in France’s major cities including Strasbourg, Lyon and Marseille.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the Islamist group, also protested Saturday outside the Egyptian Embassy in London. Tens of thousands of people are also expected to take part in a march organized by the Campaign Against Antisemitism charity on Sunday.

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