United Kingdom

Israel-Gaza conflict: Thousands march in London to demonstrate against Gaza violence

Thousands have people have gathered on the streets of central London to protest in solidarity with Palestinians amid the ongoing conflict with Israel.

“Immediate action” is needed by the UK government, organisers say, to help end the “brutal” violence against the people of Palestine.

By Saturday afternoon, thousands of people had marched through Hyde Park in central London, chanting “free, free Palestine”, and gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Kensington.

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Demonstrators marched through Hyde Park

Organisers say that 100,000 people had joined the crowds in Kensington outside the embassy.

On a makeshift stage on Kensington High Street, Labour’s Diane Abbott told the crowd: “We must remember we are part of an international movement.

“This is a worldwide movement for justice.

“Palestinian people are having their land seized… and they are now being killed in their homes.

“All of this is illegal.”

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is also expected to speak.

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Husam Zumlot, Palestinian ambassador to the UK, told those gathered: “This time is different. This time we will not be denied any more. We are united. We have had enough of oppression.

“Today we are saying enough, enough with the complicity. Thank you for standing with us.”

It comes after thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee their homes after days of sustained attacks.

Since Monday evening, Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, has fired hundreds of rockets towards Israel, which responded by attacking the Gaza Strip with tanks and air strikes.

In Gaza, at least 126 people have died, including 31 children and 20 women, while in Israel, seven people have been killed, including a six-year-old boy and a soldier.

On Saturday afternoon, the Israeli Defence Forces brought down a building in Gaza City that housed media outlets such as Associated Press and Al Jazeera, claiming Hamas were also using the building.

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Israeli air strike destroys media building in Gaza

Occupants were given around an hour to leave the offices, with the blast captured on live television.

Saturday’s demonstration in London was organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Stop The War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Muslim Association of Britain.

A spokesperson for the organisers said: “It is vital that the UK government takes immediate action.

“It must stop allowing Israel’s brutal violence against and oppression of the Palestinian people to go unpunished.

“The bombardment of Gaza which is killing civilians including children is a war crime.

Demonstrators on Kensington High Street, as they protest near to the Israeli embassy in London, during a march in solidarity with the people of Palestine amid the ongoing conflict with Israel. Picture date: Saturday May 15, 2021.
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Protestors gathered on Kensington High Street

“The UK Government is complicit in these acts as long as it continues to offer Israel military, diplomatic and financial support.”

The Metropolitan Police said: “Officers are engaging with a group of people who have gathered for a demonstration in central London this afternoon.

“A policing plan is in place to ensure everybody is kept safe and to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

As well as London, there are also a number of smaller demonstrations across the UK, including in places like Leeds and Cardiff.

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