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Thousands rally in London in solidarity with Palestinians amid Israeli strikes on Gaza

Protesters carry placards and a large Palestinian flag along Whitehall during a 'March For Palestine', part of a pro-Palestinian national demonstration, in London, on October 14, 2023, (Photo by AFP)

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of London and other UK cities to show their support for Palestinians amid Israel’s airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip, calling for an end to the occupying regime’s crimes and the liberation of Palestine.

The pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in front of the BBC News headquarters amid strict security on Saturday, as they waved Palestinian flags and carried placards reading "freedom for Palestine", "end the massacre" and "sanctions for Israel".

The demonstrators then marched toward the parliament building and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Downing Street office.

The protest rally was held despite government warnings that anyone who shows support for the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas could face arrest. According to local authorities, over 1,000 police officers were present to monitor the demonstration.

Ismail Patel, chairman of the Friends of Al-Aqsa campaign said “all just people around the world, not just in Britain, must stand up and call for this madness (to end)... Otherwise, in the next few days, (we) might see a catastrophe unfolding."

Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Britain also said he has attended the rally to send a message of solidarity to the Palestinian people, particularly those in Gaza, who are under bombardment and blockade.

He also noted that those present were also conveying a message to UK political leaders, who he accused of "giving permission for Israel to commit acts of war crime".

Saturday’s rally is the second protest in London since Hamas launched its large-scale operation against Israeli-occupied territories last weekend.

Similar anti-Israeli protest rallies were also held in capitals of Sweden, Spain and Italy.

The latest protest in London comes as the British authorities have sided entirely with Israel even as bombs rain down on civilian populated areas in the besieged Gaza.

Sunak accused Hamas of “barbaric acts of terrorism” on Wednesday, saying anyone in the UK supporting the resistance group would be held accountable.

Israel launched deadly strikes on the coastal area last Saturday after the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement waged a surprise attack, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, against the occupying regime.

Hamas said that its operation came in response to Israel’s violations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East al-Quds and growing settler violence.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, more than 2,260 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli strikes so far. More than 260,000 people have also been displaced in Gaza, with over 175,000 taking shelter in UN schools.

The Western governments, in particular the US, Britain, Germany, and France, have offered “steadfast support” to Israel amid the regime’s incessant bombing of the besieged Gaza Strip over the past few days.

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