Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinians march in London as war roils world

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Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched in London and other cities on Saturday to demand Israel stop its bombardment of Gaza, as the Israel-Hamas war entered its third week and its ripples spread around the globe.


On the day a trickle of aid entered Gaza, where more than 1 million people have left their homes because of the conflict, protesters gathered in the rain at Marble Arch near London’s Hyde Park before marching to the government district, Whitehall.


Police estimated the crowd winding its way through central London at up to 100,000.


Waving Palestinian flags, participants called for an end to Israel’s blockade and airstrikes launched in the wake of a brutal incursion into southern Israel by the Hamas militant group that controls Gaza.


The war has raised tensions around the world, with both Jewish and Muslim communities feeling under threat.


British authorities have urged demonstrators to be mindful of the pain and anxiety felt by the Jewish community. London’s Metropolitan Police force says it has seen a 13-fold upsurge in reports of antisemitic offenses in October compared to last year. Reports of anti-Muslim crimes have more than doubled.


Police said there had been “pockets of disorder and some instances of hate speech during protests, but the majority of the protest activity has been lawful and has taken place without incident.


Police in Berlin banned a pro-Palestinian demonstration that was scheduled for Sunday in the centre of the city, German news agency dpa reported. Police in the German capital have stopped several similar events in recent weeks, citing the potential of violence and antisemitic hate speech. Some pro-Palestinian demonstrators have taken to the streets anyway, resulting in clashes with police.


Authorities have allowed a pro-Israel demonstration on Sunday that is expected to gather thousands of people in central Berlin.


Elsewhere, several hundred people marched through Rome on Saturday, some holding signs saying Palestine, Rome is with you, and No peace until we get freedom.


Israel carries out war crimes there, crimes against humanity there, and the international community has never acted, said Maya Issa, president of the Movement of Palestinian Students in Italy, which organised the demonstration.


In Australia, thousands marched through central Sydney on Saturday, shouting Shame, shame Israel and Palestine will never die.


Authorities in Gaza say more than 4,300 people have been killed in the territory since the latest war began. More than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, mostly civilians slain during Hamas’ deadly incursion on October 7.


Israel continued to bombard targets in Gaza on Saturday ahead of an expected ground offensive. A small measure of relief came when 20 trucks carrying humanitarian aid were allowed to enter Gaza across the southern Rafah border crossing with Egypt.


The war sparked protests across the Arab world and beyond on Friday, including in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians burned tires and threw stones at Israeli military checkpoints. Israeli security forces responded firing tear gas and live rounds.


Crowds gathered in Israel’s northern neighbour Lebanon; in Iraq at the country’s border crossing with Jordan; in Jordan itself; in cities and towns across Egypt; in Turkiye’s capital Ankara and its most populous city of Istanbul; and in Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco and South Africa.


In New York, hundreds of protesters from Muslim, Jewish and other groups marched to US Sen. Kristen Gillibrand’s Manhattan office, many shouting cease fire now. Police later arrested dozens of protesters who blocked Third Avenue outside Gillibrand’s office by sitting in the road.


Brooklyn-based Rabbi Miriam Grossman told the crowd she knows many people grieving the loss of family members killed in the Hamas attack or have friends and family taken hostage. Yet Grossman said she also knows many Palestinians living in terror as they lose contact with loved ones in Gaza.


In Mexico City, dozens gathered outside the Israeli Embassy on Friday evening, lighting candles and chanting Free Palestine.


Pro-Israel demonstrations and vigils have also been held around the world, many focused on securing the return of hostages captured by Hamas.


Rome’s Jewish community on Friday remembered the more than 200 people believed held by Hamas by setting a long Shabbat table for them outside the capital’s main synagogue and empty chairs for each of the hostages.


On the backs of each chair was a flyer featuring the name, age and photo of each missing person. On the table were candles, wine and loaves of challah, the braided bread typically eaten during the Friday night meal.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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