Palestine rally and pro-Israel demo in London


LONDON: Palestinians, their supporters and activists of other human rights organisations held a demonstration outside the American embassy and marched through the central London on Saturday. Police were forced to intervene after a rally for Palestine encountered pro-Israel counterdemonstrators in the streets of the UK capital.
According to reports, pro-Palestine protesters were forced to stop several times on their planned route between Grosvenor Square and Parliament Square when a small but vocal group waving Israeli flags appeared in their path. Brief shouting matches occurred before scores of police officers descended upon the scene, separating the two groups with cordons and shunting the pro-Israel activists down side streets away from the main rally before dispersing them.
On a handful of occasions, the two groups encountered each other, spitting vitriol back and forth before the police stepped in and established cordons separating them. “Terrorist!” shouted one pro-Palestine supporter at a man with an Israeli flag. “Vile Jew hater!” he shot back.
Organizers said thousands of pro-Palestine supporters had turned out to express solidarity with the cause, in a rally timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, in which Britain lent its support to a Jewish national homeland. Many attendees said that the theme of the march, “Make it Right for Palestine,” was particularly resonant a century after Balfour was issued.
On the streets of Mayfair, shoppers gawked and security guards at some of London’s luxe boutiques whispered behind shuttered doors as the pro-Palestine rally encountered the counter protest. Despite charges from the pro-Israel contingent to the contrary, pro-Palestine demonstrators strongly denied accusations of anti-Semitism.