LONDON, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators rallied in central London on Saturday to call on the British government to call for a ceasefire after the Israeli military expanded its air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip.
Aerial footage showed a large crowd of people taking part in a march organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which will end outside the Houses of Parliament after passing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Downing Street office.
Echoing Washington’s position, Sunak’s government has stopped short of calling for a ceasefire, instead advocating humanitarian pauses to allow aid to reach people in Gaza.
Britain has backed Israel’s right to defend itself after an October 7 attack by the militant group Hamas, which Israel said killed 1,400 people.
“It’s not enough for the superpowers to play games at this time. That’s why we’re here: we’re calling for a ceasefire, Palestinian rights, the right to exist, the right to live, human rights, all our rights,” protester Camille Revolta said.
“This is not about Hamas. This is about protecting Palestinian lives,” he added.
London police have faced criticism in recent days over slogans shouted by some protesters during another pro-Palestinian march in the capital last week that drew around 100,000 people. The protest was largely peaceful with a few arrests.
Ahead of Saturday’s event, police warned there would be no room for hate crimes and said 2,000 officers would be on duty across the city. Special restrictions were in place around the Israeli Embassy to control protests.
Earlier, Secretary of State James wisely urged participants in pro-Palestinian protests to be wary of misinformation and manipulation.
When asked by a reporter if there was a risk that Iran or other foreign actors would hijack the unrest-fueled protests, Wise said: “It’s absolutely possible to support the Palestinian people but also to condemn Hamas.”
“But unfortunately people are manipulated, misinformed, distorted, and unfortunately, I think the minority, the minority, have very negative intentions within those protests.”
Reporting by Yan Tessier, Ben Magory and Will Russell Writing by William James Editing by Helen Popper
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