Around 200,000 protesters marched across central London on Saturday to protest against Israel’s continuing assault on Gaza and the U.K. government’s involvement in arming, funding, and providing diplomatic cover to Israel. The national demonstration, which coincided with a day of action in other cities around the world, saw around 1,700 police officers put into action.
The massive demonstration comes as the U.K. joined a U.S. bombing campaign against the Houthi (Ansar Allah) rebels in Yemen in retaliation for their sustained blockade of ships in the Red Sea destined for Israeli ports.
London has seen several large-scale protests since Israel began its current offensive on Gaza after the Hamas assault on October 7, leaving a growing death toll that currently stands at around 23,000.
While right-wing politicians and commentators in the U.K. charge pro-Palestine protesters with being radical Islamists or anti-Semitic, the demonstrations have been remarkably calm and attended by mainly average people and groups across the political spectrum. Six people were arrested at the January 13 demonstration, according to the Metropolitan Police.
British member of Parliament Jeremy Corbyn (Independent-Islington North) was among the speakers calling for a ceasefire during the rally portion of the demonstration. “A ceasefire must happen. Justice must prevail.”
The international day of action came just days after South Africa presented a historic case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians. South Africa laid out a fact and research-based argument with evidence to support their claims of genocide that were based on five points: mass killings, bodily and mental harm, forced displacement and food blockade, destruction of the healthcare system, and preventing Palestinian births. The final judgement could take years to reach but an interim sentence could be made within weeks.
Niko Georgiades contributed to this report for Unicorn Riot.