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By Clara Lalanne
Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in London on Saturday to call for a ceasefire in Gaza amid ongoing bombardments by Israel after the deadly Hamas attack on its territory on October 7. online news
It was the fourth consecutive week that the British capital was the venue for a large rally in support of Palestinians since the attack by Hamas last month.
Israel unleashed a bombing campaign after Hamas gunmen stormed across the Gaza border on October 7, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and seizing more than 220 hostages, according to Israeli officials.
At the rally, held in Trafalgar Square in central London, protesters waved Palestinian flags and held placards calling for an immediate ceasefire.
One group of protesters held a bundle of fabric, representing a dead baby killed during the Israeli bombing campaign.
Sama Dababneh, 26, a Jordanian business consultant who came to the rally with her Palestinian friends, said they were tired of the stream of upsetting images coming from Gaza.
“We came here to support the ceasefire,” she said.
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“We spend the whole week consuming the news and this is very draining, so this is our only form of outlet.”
‘Provocative and disrespectful’
London’s Metropolitan Police estimate that around 30,000 attended the rally in central London on Saturday.
The force said it had arrested 11 people, including one for displaying a placard that could incite hatred.
Pro-Palestinian groups say they are planning to march in Britain’s capital on Saturday November 11, Armistice Day, to demand an immediate ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
On Friday British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that planning protests for November 11, a day of remembrance for soldiers killed in the two world wars and subsequent conflicts, would be “provocative and disrespectful”.
There was a clear and present risk that the Cenotaph and other war memorials could be desecrated in a protest, something which would “be an affront to the British public and the values we stand for,” he said.
Dababneh said she would be one of those protesting on Armistice Day.
“I am coming for sure,” she said.
“What is happening in Palestine shows that we didn’t learn anything from what happened before.”
Joanna Mazouzi, 50, said she attended the march because she cares about the suffering of the Palestinian people.
“They have a right to live on their own land, in their own country.”
“It’s huge and every week there are more and more, because the more Israel bombs and kills innocent, defenceless people, the more people will come.”
Abdullah Hussain, 37, unemployed, came to the rally with his two sons, both aged five.
“We see thousands of children dying, schools are bombed, hospitals are bombed, and it’s indiscriminate,” he said.
Pro-Palestinian protests took place in cities across the United Kingdom on Saturday, including in Sheffield, Manchester and Glasgow where protesters waved Palestinian flags and called for an immediate ceasefire.
© Agence France-Presse