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Around 100,000 people took part in pro-Palestine demonstrations in London and throughout the UK (Picture: PA)

Thousands of people have gathered in central London today to take part in a pro-Palestine march and to call for an end to Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza.

Protesters started the demonstration at Marble Arch at around 2pm before heading to Whitehall and ending at Parliament Square.

Follow the latest updates on the Israel-Hamas conflict on our live blog

Those in attendance held banners, waved flags and shouted ‘Free Palestine’ as they made their way towards Downing St to call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza.

According to the Metropolitan Police, approximately 100,000 people were in attendance- a significant increase over the 70,000 expected to attend.

Protesters gathered at Marble Arch and marched to Downing Street (Picture: Reuters)

One woman attending the march, who asked not to be named, said: ‘As a Palestinian who’d like to return home one day, as a Palestinian who has brothers and sisters in Gaza, and family, I wish we can do more – but protest is what we can do at the minute.’

Another protester, Mahmoud, 30, said the situation in Gaza is like nothing seen since the Second World War.

‘What’s going on in Gaza is crazy,’ he said. ’It hasn’t been (like that) in any other place since the Second World War.

‘There are some governments saying that Israel has the right to self defence… what about the Palestinians?’

A demonstrator takes part in a protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas (Picture: Reuters)

Similar demonstrations took place in other cities throughout the UK and Ireland (Picture: Reuters)

Police had cautioned before the march that anyone showing support for Hamas, banned as a terrorist organisation in Britain, would face arrest, and any incident of hate crime would not be tolerated.

But despite some ‘pockets of disorder’ during the demonstration, the majority of activity had been ‘lawful and taken place without incident’.

Rumours circulating online suggested that some in attendance were waving Islaminc State flags, but the Met said that specialist officers had confirmed these were actually the ‘shahada’, a declaration of faith in Islam.

People were also heard chanting ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ – despite controversy over the meaning of the slogan.

The slogan was branded antisemitic by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, but defenders of the slogan say it is a ‘long-standing protest chant’ that calls for a homeland for the Palestinian people.

Outside of London, another large rally took place outside the BBC’s MediaCity headquarters in Salford, Greater Manchester, over its reporting of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Other demonstrations also took place in Cardiff, Glasgow and Birmingham.

Police said the protest had been lawful and passed without incident (Picture: Sinai Noor/Shutterstock)

In Salford, the BBC was accused of ‘bias’ in its coverage of the conflict.

Martin Odoni, from Eccles, who attended the rally, said: ‘I’m Jewish and every time Israel commits an atrocity it claims it’s doing it in the name of Jewish people.

‘I think it’s my duty to come out here and show, actually, a lot of Jews do not support what Israel is doing. An awful lot of us are not Zionist at all.

‘When they’re massacring Palestinians I more than don’t approve, I utterly condemn it.’

On his criticism of the BBC, he added: ‘Well, look at the headlines they put up.

‘When Israelis are killed they say these Israelis were killed by Palestinians.

‘When Palestinians get killed, it’s Palestinians died when Israel attacked.

Protesters during a pro-Palestine demonstration outside MediaCityUK, the BBC headquarters in Salford Quays (Picture: PA)

‘There’s a blatant bias in the way the BBC reports these events and somebody’s got to tell them.’

The BBC has also been criticised over its use of language to describe Hamas and its coverage of the immediate aftermath of the bombing of a hospital in Gaza City.

A BBC spokesperson said: ‘Careful consideration has been given to all aspects of our coverage to ensure that we report on developments impartially and accurately.

‘In amongst thousands of hours of news broadcasting, there will always be some errors – and live reporting will always bring with it huge challenges, particularly when it is on the ground in the toughest of circumstances.

‘Where we do get things wrong, we always hold up our hands – as we did this week when one of our correspondents was wrong to speculate – along with others – about the cause of the al Ahli hospital explosion, even if he at no point reported that it was an Israeli strike.

‘We have confirmed that we will continue to refer to Hamas as a proscribed terror organisation by the UK Government and others.

‘What the BBC does not do is use the word terrorist without attributing it, nor do we ban words.

Muslim protesters pray in Whitehall (Picture: Shutterstock)

The BBC has been criticised for its language regarding thr ongoing conflict (Picture: Shutterstock)

‘We also confirmed that for some days we had not been using ‘militant’ as a default description for Hamas, as we have been finding this a less accurate description for our audiences as the situation evolves.’

Elsewhere during the day, a London tube driver went viral after a clip of him leading a chant of ‘free, free Palestine’ over the tannoy was circulated on social media.

Minister for London Paul Scully said staff should ‘focus on their day job’ in response, and warned against stoking tension in the capital.

Tory minister Mr Scully said: ‘At a time when there’s not enough emphasis on the difference between the horrific terrorist attacks by Hamas and the legitimate concerns of Palestinians in Gaza, it’s really important that Londoners don’t stoke the tension in our capital where Jews live peacefully alongside Muslims.

More: London

‘Informed protest can bring change. But on-trend bandwagons can cause rifts and fear in communities, increasing the threat to the safety of some passengers travelling among those crowds.’

A spokesperson for British Transport Police said they are investigating the incident.

The Gaza Strip has been blockaded and bombarded by Israel after its Hamas rulers launched a series of terrorist raids on October 7.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly civilians attacked in the October 7 incursion. Over 4,100 people have been killed in Gaza, according to Palestine’s health ministry.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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