300,000 join pro-Palestinian rally in London as scores of counter-protesters arrested

Nov 11, 2023, 11:35 AM

Attendees pay their respects at the Cenotaph ahead of a pro-Palestinian rally. (Carlos Jasso/Bloomb...

Attendees pay their respects at the Cenotaph ahead of a pro-Palestinian rally. (Carlos Jasso/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

(Carlos Jasso/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

LONDON, UK (CNN) — Around 300,000 people turned out for a large pro-Palestinian rally in London on Saturday as police arrested scores of counter-protesters for attempting to confront the marchers.

There was heavy police presence in central London’s Hyde Park Corner as protesters chanted “free, free Palestine” and “ceasefire now.” They were also heard chanting “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

A spokesperson for London’s Metropolitan Police told CNN that an estimated total of 300,000 people attended the demonstration, which coincided with annual Armistice Day commemorations, Veterans Day in the US.

Police said they arrested 82 counter-protesters “to prevent a breach of the peace.” They said they had “faced aggression from counter-protesters.” who stormed the area “in significant numbers” as the rally was building up.

One pro-Palestinian protester told CNN she was “flabbergasted at the hypocrisy of those supporting Ukraine but not Palestine.”

“Some politicians may be on our side, but they are too afraid to speak out,” she added.

Another protester said the number of people who had turned out for the march was “inspiring.” “We need to speak out for the voiceless,” they added.

Far-right scuffle with police

The police had promised to use “all the powers and tactics available to us” to stop the counter-protesters confronting the pro-Palestinian march.

Earlier in the day, a CNN team on the ground heard shouts and observed a heavy police presence as a group of far-right protesters tried to storm the war memorial which had been placed in an exclusion zone for protection.

Far-right organizer Tommy Robinson led a small but noisy demonstration to try and reach the Cenotaph, a symbolic landmark which is located in Whitehall, the London district where the Prime Minister and government departments reside.

During the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the UK has traditionally observed a two-minute silence to commemorate the moment guns fell silent marking the end of World War I in 1918.

Video posted on the ground from the anti-racist group Hope Not Hate showed far-right protestors dressed in black pushing the police lines at various points around Whitehall.

The unrest follows a political row over the pro-Palestinian protests earlier this week when Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman went off-script to accuse police of being too lenient on the demonstrators.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had initially attempted to stop the pro-Palestinian protest from going ahead.

While later accepting that the march would take place, Sunak stuck to his line that choosing to protest on this particular weekend is “not just disrespectful but offends our heartfelt gratitude to the memory of those who gave so much so that we may live in freedom and peace today.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the disorder seen at London’s Cenotaph on Saturday was a “direct result” of the words of Braverman.

“The scenes of disorder we witnessed by the far-right at the Cenotaph are a direct result of the Home Secretary’s words. The police’s job has been made much harder,” said Khan on social media, adding that London’s Metropolitan Police has his “full support to take action against anyone found spreading hate and breaking the law.”

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

The effects of destruction caused by air strikes on homes seen on November 30, 2023 in Khan Yunis, ...

JULIA FRANKEL Associated Press

New York Times report says Israel knew about Hamas attack over a year in advance

Israel's military was aware of Hamas ' plan to launch an attack on Israeli soil over a year before the devastating Oct. 7 operation.

20 hours ago

Israeli troops gather with their military vehicles on the border with the Gaza Strip on November 30...

 Alex Marquardt, MJ Lee, Arlette Saenz, Michael Callahan and Christian Edwards, CNN

Truce could be renewed if Hamas provides list of hostages for release, sources say

Israel and Hamas continued to negotiate through mediators Friday over the potential release of hostages from Gaza.

21 hours ago

Rep. George Santos (R-NY) is surrounded by journalists as he leaves the U.S. Capitol after his fell...

Kevin Freking

House expels New York Rep. George Santos. It’s just the sixth expulsion in the chamber’s history

House expels Republican Rep. George Santos of New York in a bipartisan vote after critical ethics report on his conduct.

23 hours ago

FILE - Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor poses for a photo in 1982. O'Connor join...

Mark Sherman

Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court, has died at age 93

Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, has died. She was 93.

24 hours ago

The logo of the social media platform TikTok is displayed on a mobile phone in Hanoi on October 6. ...

Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN

Judge dismisses Indiana state’s lawsuit against TikTok over child safety concerns

A judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state of Indiana against TikTok.

2 days ago

Fingerprint samples...

Sarah Dewberry, CNN

Rock climbers found her body buried in rural Nevada over 26 years ago. Authorities just revealed her identity

Over 26 years after a woman’s body was discovered buried beneath a pile of rocks in rural Nevada, authorities have announced her identity.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

300,000 join pro-Palestinian rally in London as scores of counter-protesters arrested