Saturday saw a pro-Palestinian march in downtown London, with tens of thousands of people chanting for a permanent end to the Israeli-Gaza conflict. Since last month’s start of the Israel-Hamas conflict, several significant demonstrations have taken place in various European cities, including the British capital, on weekends. The most recent of them is the National March for Palestine. Protests broke out on the second day of a four-day truce that had provided the Gaza Strip with much-needed humanitarian supplies and the first break for inhabitants after seven weeks of conflict.
A genuine dispute has broken out in Britain about the right to peaceful assembly and the authority of the police to suppress what some Jews see as racist, antisemitic, or bigoted speech or behavior in response to the pro-Palestinian demonstrations. A man was arrested by the Metropolitan Police on charges of inciting racial hate after the discovery of a sign with Nazi symbols. In addition to the four others, “literature showing a swastika within a Star of David” was the reason for their detention.
High-ranking government officials urged the police to crack down harder on antisemitism during the demonstrations, so they distributed pamphlets outlining the specific acts that would be considered criminal offenses.
Pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian demonstrators were among those who participated in a Paris march commemorating the International Day to End Violence Against Women.
Marchers carried Palestinian flags and “Free Palestine” placards. Many demonstrators showed their support for “Palestine’s women who are being slain.” With the chants “We are women, we are proud, we are Jewish, and we are outraged,” Jewish women voiced solidarity, joining the march to oppose the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas, including rapes and deaths.
The nonprofit Campaign Against Antisemitism has also planned a march on Sunday, with tens of thousands of participants, to demonstrate support for the Jewish community in the United Kingdom.