Pro-Palestinian protest organisers plan national day of action on Saturday

Pro-Palestinian protest organisers have planned a national day of action on Saturday, instead of a large march in central London.

The direct action will take the form of more than 100 smaller rallies at various locations across the UK.

London will see 10 events, including rallies in Islington, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets.

Previous weekends have seen thousands of protesters and counter-protesters converging on the capital.

Israel-Hamas conflict
London will see 10 events, including rallies in Islington, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets (PA)

A spokeswoman for organisers Stop The War Coalition said that Saturday’s rallies come ahead of a national demonstration planned for the following Saturday.

“Groups around the country are organising local rallies and marches to basically build for the national demonstration that has been called for next Saturday,” she said.

The spokeswoman added that most of the rallies will have speakers, and some will still march.

“I think most of them have speakers from various organisations that are involved in the main marches, and then trade unionists,” she said.

“Some of them have trade unionists as speakers, and some of them are marching, like the one in Highbury.

“We are marching to (Labour shadow attorney general) Emily Thornberry’s office from Highbury and Islington station, but some of them are static, so it depends really.”

Israel-Hamas conflict
Previous weekends have seen thousands of protesters and counter-protesters converging on the capital (PA)

Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said the rallies were organised to show that “ordinary people” support a ceasefire.

“This Saturday, ordinary people across the UK will come out again to show the vast majority of them support a ceasefire,” he said.

“They will show their solidarity with Palestinians who are suffering unimaginable harm.

“They will also demand the root causes are not forgotten – Israel’s decades-long military occupation of Palestinian territories and its system of apartheid against Palestinians.

“We demand justice for the Palestinian people – their right to self-determination and to live in freedom, safety, and with full human rights.”

The Metropolitan Police said that a “significant” policing operation is planned for the capital this weekend.

They said they would target deployments in areas “with significant Jewish or Muslim communities”, which they said “continue to experience increased uncertainty and fear in light of events in the Middle East and their impact here in London”.

Temporary Commander Karen Findlay, who is leading the operation, said: “Whilst there is no single large central protest event on Saturday, our policing priorities remain the same across the local events that are due to take place.

“We are here to ensure that people can exercise their right to protest but to make sure that is done lawfully, and that unreasonable disruption to the lives of other Londoners is kept to a minimum.

“Our officers will intervene swiftly where they see offences taking place. In particular, I want to reiterate that there is no place for hate in London. Hate crime will not be tolerated.

“Regrettably, while the majority of protesters coming out in recent weeks have been peaceful, we have continued to see people taking part in offensive chanting or intentionally carrying placards that cross the line from political statements into racially or religiously aggravated offences.”

The British Transport Police have issued Section 14a orders prohibiting protests on Saturday at many of London’s main rail stations.

The orders will be in place between 10am and 11pm at Waterloo, Charing Cross, King’s Cross, London Bridge, Euston, Liverpool Street, Marylebone, Paddington, Victoria and St Pancras.

Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said: “We have been made aware of several planned demonstrations due to take place on Saturday November 18 across railway stations in London.

“We fully respect the rights of people to protest lawfully but where we believe this could cause serious disruption to the railway services, we must act.”