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UK police arrest 40 after pro-Palestinian rally

LONDON (AFP) – United Kingdom police yesterday said that 40 people had been arrested and three officers injured after protesters refused to disperse following a demonstration in London over Israel’s latest offensive in Gaza.

The British capital’s Metropolitan Police Service (Met) said the individuals were arrested late on Tuesday for offences including breaching public order conditions, obstructing roads and assaulting emergency workers.

It said two officers sustained minor injuries after being assaulted while a third, who was struck by a bottle thrown from within the crowd, suffered a “serious facial injury”.

The Met, as the force is widely known, said an investigation was under way to identify who threw the bottle.

Police had approved plans for the early evening protest – organised by a coalition including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign – outside the gates of Downing Street in central London.

But it imposed conditions including that the rally end by 8pm.

Up to 10,000 people attended, and the “vast majority” had left by the required time, but a group of around 500 remained to continue protesting, according to police.

“Officers engaged extensively before making a number of arrests for failing to comply with conditions,” the Met said in a statement.

“As they moved in, some in the crowd resisted physically requiring officers to use force to extract those who had been arrested.”

Further arrests followed later in the evening after the remaining demonstrators launched a breakaway march and were eventually corralled outside a train station, the Met said.

Israel’s renewed military attack in Gaza, concentrated on Rafah, have sparked fresh protests in London and other cities around the world.

The British capital has seen frequent marches protesting Israel’s response to the Hamas attack on its territory on October 7, stoking controversy and political debate over how they should be policed.

They have passed off largely peacefully, but police have made arrests at many for various offences, including promoting a proscribed organisation and assaults.

A pro-Palestinian supporter waves a Palestinian flag in front of Metropolitan Police (Met) officers during a rally in central London, England. PHOTO: AFP
Met officers clash with pro-Palestinian supporters during a rally outside Downing Street in central London. PHOTO: AFP