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Hundreds of thousands attend 7th national march for Palestine in London

January 13, 2024 at 5:12 pm

An aerial view of thousands of people, holding banners and Palestinian flags, stage a demonstration in support of Palestinians, and demanding ceasefire as they march towards Parliament Square in London, United Kingdom on January 13, 2024. [Raşid Necati Aslım – Anadolu Agency]

A pro-Palestine march began on Saturday in the heart of London, marking the seventh demonstration in the British capital since Israel’s onslaught on the Gaza Strip began in early October, Anadolu Agency reports.

Drawing hundreds of thousands of participants, the event was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), which has lauded the protests as constituting “one of the largest, sustained political campaigns in British history.”

This demonstration is part of a global day of action, mobilizing for a comprehensive cease-fire in Gaza across 60 cities and over 30 countries.

The groups departed from Bank junction in the City of London at roughly midday, heading via Fleet Street and Victoria Embankment to Parliament Square, where speeches are to take place.

READ: 135 more Palestinians killed as Israel continues onslaught on Gaza: Health Ministry

The PSC, expecting about 250,000 participants in the march, which is the first since the new year began, acknowledged the myriad of developments in the region during this period.

Notably, the march featured the presence of Little Amal, a giant puppet representing a Syrian child refugee, who will join a group of Palestinian children in the procession. The symbolic addition aims to draw attention to the plight of refugees in the region.

Home Secretary James Cleverly, in anticipation of the protest, voiced confidence in the Metropolitan Police’s ability to ensure order and safety during the event.

He endorsed the use of police powers to manage the protest and address any potential criminal activities.

Around 1,700 officers are on duty to police the march on Saturday, including many from forces outside London, with attendees warned that those who intentionally push legal limits on placards and slogans could face arrest.

‘Hands off Yemen’

One thing that sets this march apart from its predecessors, which followed a different route through the city, was the diverse array of flags and banners unfurled throughout the crowd.

Alongside the familiar calls for a free Palestine and cease-fire in Gaza, it featured banners supporting South Africa, which has filed charges of genocide against Israel with the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and Yemen, where members of the Houthi group are blocking Israel-affiliated ships from entering the Red Sea.

The rally drew attention to the ongoing conflict in Yemen, with protesters holding banners with the demand, “Hands off Yemen.”

Protesters holding banners with the demand, "Hands off Yemen" in London, United Kingdom on January 13, 2024.

Protesters holding banners with the demand, “Hands off Yemen” in London, United Kingdom on January 13, 2024.

The UK and US, with the support of Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands, conducted airstrikes Thursday against military targets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, following a string of Houthi attacks in the Red Sea that destabilized trading routes.

“We won’t stop until a permanent cease-fire is achieved,” a protestor told Anadolu, asserting that the demonstration was sending a strong message that “the world is waking up to the interconnectedness of our struggles.”

“South Africa’s case against Israel resonates with us, and we’re here to demand justice for all those facing injustice, be it in Gaza, Yemen, or anywhere else,” she added.

South Africa, which filed the case in December, accused Israeli authorities of perpetrating genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. It requested provisional measures from the court to protect Palestinians, including by calling upon Israel to immediately halt military attacks.

South Africa laid out a list of alleged genocidal acts by Israel on the first day of the hearing Thursday, while Israel defended itself Friday.

Israel has killed more than 23,800 Palestinians in Gaza since an Oct. 7 cross-border offensive by Palestinian resistance group Hamas. The military campaign has also caused mass displacement, destruction, and hunger.

READ: 53% of Israelis believe Tel Aviv did not defeat Hamas, 22% believe army lost war