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A protester waves a Palestinian flag while sitting on a set of traffic lights in Parliament Square after taking part in a ‘March For Palestine’ in London on October 28, 2023 (Picture: AFP/Getty)

Police have clashed with protesters in London today as around half a million people took to the streets to demand a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

In London on Saturday, demonstrators gathered with banners and posters and let off fireworks and red and green flares.

Crowds started to gather near the Golden Jubilee Bridge holding signs saying ‘Gaza, stop the massacre’ and ‘Free Palestine, end Israeli occupation’.

As they marched, a sound system led people to chant ‘Stop arming Israel. Stop bombing Gaza’, ‘We are all Palestinian’.

The event is thought to be one of the largest anti-war demonstrations in British history.

Hundreds of activists shut down Waterloo station by holding a sit-in protest (Picture: Getty)

More than 1,000 Metropolitan Police officers were in attendance at the demonstration, who warned the force would be vigilant in responding to crime.

‘Officers will respond to any criminality where they see it and take decisive action, but there may be things not seen in the moment,’ a Met spokesperson said.

‘We’ll also be reviewing CCTV and images/video shared by the public to identify offences.’

Several conditions have been imposed under the Public Order Act, including that protesters should follow a specified route and should not gather in a specified area outside the Israeli Embassy.

Over 100,000 people are believed to have attended (Picture: Reuters)

More than 1,000 police officers were in attendance (Picture: Reuters)

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A Section 60 and Section 60AA authority was also put in place until midnight, giving police stop and search powers in the London boroughs of the City of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea.

Elsewhere throughout the day, there were reports of violent clashes between police and protesters close to Downing Street.

Officers appeared to be detaining someone before demonstrators began scuffling with them.

Punches and kicks were thrown and officers ordered the demonstrators to move away.

Similar demomstrations took place throughout the UK (Picture: North News)

Violent clashed took place between police and protesters outside Downing St (Picture: PA)

One person was taken to the floor and carried away to chants of ‘let him go’ from other protesters.

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At around 2:30pm, over 200 activists shut down London Waterloo station by staging a ‘sit-in’ in the concourse, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Israel’s UK-backed attacks on Gaza, chanting ‘ceasefire now!’.

The protest comes after the Israeli military plunged Gaza into darkness and a communications blackout on Friday night, cutting off all phone and internet signals and launching an unprecedented bombing campaign which has claimed the lives of over 7,700 Palestinians to date.

Speaking on a stage at Parliament Square, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘The world’s nations voted at the United Nations last night in the General Assembly by an overwhelming majority to demand a ceasefire.

‘It’s not much to ask, a ceasefire, when children are being killed by weapons coming through the rooms of their homes.

‘It is in eternal stain that the British Government abstained on that vote.’

Alia Malak, a British-Palestinian activist in attendance at the sit-in, said: ‘Israeli leaders have been explicit about their genocidal aim to exterminate Palestinians in Gaza and are carrying out this slaughter live as the world watches. 

A series of protests have taken place since October 7 (Picture: Getty)

‘The British political and media elite who have let Israel get away with murder for 75 years have the blood of thousands of Palestinian children on their hands.’

‘The government must call for an immediate ceasefire right now. Then it must end its arms trade with Israel and take action to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine once and for all.’

Naomi Greenberg, a Jewish activist from the group Black Jewish Alliance who was also in attendance, said: ‘Israel is waging a genocide in Gaza using weapons our government sold them. The slaughter of my family members in the Holocaust was enabled by the same racist dehumanisation which we now see directed against the Palestinians by our own political leaders.’

‘I came here today to demand an immediate ceasefire and end to the blockade of Gaza – all of us must stand against the genocide being carried out in our name and with our tax money.’

A coalition of organisations, including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al-Aqsa, and Stop the War Coalition, helped organise the demonstrations (Picture: Getty)

Similar demonstrations took place throughout the country, including Glasgow and Manchester, where thousands gathered in St Peter’s Square to demand an immediate ceasefire.

On Friday, Manchester mayor Andy Burnham joined international calls for ‘a ceasefire by all sides and for the hostages to be released unharmed’.

But Foreign Secretary James Cleverley said calls for a ceasefire ‘aren’t going to help the situation’.

‘Of course we want to see Israel safe, peaceful and secure,’ he said, but added there was no indication from Hamas that they would accept or abide by a ceasefire.

Commander Kyle Gordon, who is leading the police operation in London, has insisted that the protest would be policed ‘right up to the line of the law’ and include discussions about ‘anything we’ve learnt from previous weeks’.

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