Charlotte Church joins pro-Palestine march in London

UK

Charlotte Church and Jeremy Corbyn joined thousands of pro-Palestine protesters in London to demand a ceasefire in Gaza, days after a government official said the capital’s streets have become a “no-go zone for Jews”.

Organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), the march stretched from Hyde Park Corner to the US Embassy in Nine Elms.

It marked the fifth major demonstration in the capital so far this year, and the PSC’s tenth since 7 October.

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While marching through central London, protesters chanted “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and waved banners demanding a “ceasefire now”.

Singer Charlotte Church, who led a choir in singing “from the river to the sea” last month, insisted that the marches have had “a strong, a peaceful, loving message”.

A pro-Palestine march took place in London on Saturday 9 March. Pic: PA
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The march stretched from Hyde Park Corner to the US Embassy in Nine Elms. Pic: PA

Protesters are demanding an immediate ceasefire of Israel's war on Hamas.
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It marks the fifth major demonstration in the capital so far this year, and the PSC’s tenth since 7 October.

Ahead of the latest demonstration, the UK’s counter extremism tsar claimed the protests are turning London into a “no-go zone for Jews every weekend”.

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Speaking to the PA news agency, Church said: “There’s been singing, there’s been drumming, yes, there’s been emotion but, in the majority, that emotion has been love, has been compassion, because that’s why we’re all here.

“We’re all here because we cannot bear what we’re witnessing. We cannot bear to see civilians, children, women slaughtered…

“We’re also showing that we are absolutely not going to tolerate our government being a part of propping up an apartheid regime.”

The march stretched from Park Lane at Hyde Park Corner to the US Embassy in Nine Elms. Pic: PA
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Pic: PA

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign said they expected "hundreds of thousands" to attend. Pic: PA
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The Met Police said they arrested five people during the march. Pic: PA

The war started after an attack by proscribed terror group Hamas on southern Israel on 7 October, in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 240 taken hostage.

Israel retaliated with air strikes and later a ground offensive, and so far, Hamas-run Gaza health authorities say nearly 31,000 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more bodies are feared buried under rubble.

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The Met Police said it arrested five people during the march, including a woman for holding an offensive placard and two men for chanting offensive slogans.

One man was also arrested for assault, and another under the Public Order Act who was seen carrying a shield and wearing a helmet.

Former Labour leader Mr Corbyn, who now sits as an independent MP, vowed “there will be as many of them as it takes”.

“It’s all very well for Joe Biden to say they’re going to build a port to deliver aid,” he said.

“(It would) be far better if they stopped delivering arms to Israel and made sure there was a ceasefire.”

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Jeremy Corbyn took photos with protestors at a pro-Palestine march in central London. Pic: PA
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Jeremy Corbyn called the march “huge, and there will be as many of them as it takes”. Pic: PA

The protest comes a day after International Women’s Day, and saw female volunteers from Friends of Al-Aqsa join to “highlight the Palestinian genocide as a gendered issue”.

The group said gender equality “cannot be achieved whilst civilians in Palestine are under continued bombardment”.

The UK's counter extremism tsar claimed London is a "no-go zone for Jews every weekend".

‘None of us are scared’

The UK’s counter extremism tsar Robin Simcox wrote in The Daily Telegraph last week that a “permissive environment for radicalisation” is developing.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has also promised to clamp down against “extremist forces trying to tear us apart”, and Michael Gove is expected to set out a new definition of extremism in the coming days.

A counter-protest to the pro-Palestine marches was held in Victoria, central London, on Saturday afternoon and organiser Itai Galmudy said: “Jews are not afraid… we’ve had enough of those anti-Israeli hate marches that are full of inflammatory language towards Jews and Israelis. And we just want to say enough is enough.”

But speaking to Sky News at the demonstration, Gillian Mosley, a Jewish director marching as part of the Jewish Bloc for Palestine, said claims the capitol is a “no-go” area are “absurd”.

“Obviously I’m surrounded by Jews,” she said. “I also live in central London and have lots of Jewish neighbours, and none of us are scared.”

Gillian Mosley said claims London is a 'no-go zone' for JJews are 'absurd'.
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Gillian Mosley, a Jewish director marching for Palestine, said “none of us are scared”.

Pic: PA
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Pic: PA

PSC hails ‘unprecedented’ tenth march

Ben Jamal, director of the PSC, said after the march that it was “unprecedented” to see “this many people marching for this length of time”.

“You’ll see people here come from all walks of life, young and old, many people here with young children,” he said.

“They see children’s bodies being pulled out of the rubble, they look like that, they say ‘it could be my child, that could be my brother, that could be my sister’.

“‘I want it to stop and I want my government to take action’. That’s why they’re marching.”

Before the march, the Met Police said the cost of policing Gaza-related protests in London had reached over £32 million and had required 35,464 officer shifts and more than 5,200 officer rest days to be cancelled.

While it didn’t say how many were estimated to have attended the march, the force said more than 2,300 officers policed 11 major events on Saturday and 500 officers from outside the Met’s area were brought in to assist.

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