Pro-Palestinian rally in central London will be policed by 1,000 officers

March will begin at Park Lane and see protesters express their views for the second consecutive Saturday

Protesters march towards the Houses of Parliament during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in central London. Bloomberg
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More than 1,000 police officers will be on duty for a pro-Palestinian march in central London on Saturday.

It will be the second such protest after thousands took part in another one last weekend, amid growing international concern over the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Police said the march will begin at Park Lane and make its way to Trafalgar Square before finishing on Whitehall, near Parliament Square.

More than 1,000 officers will be deployed to police the event, including officers specially trained to deal with public order offences – anyone deviating from the route or entering an area around the Israeli embassy could be guilty of a public order offence.

While the UK government said that demonstrators must be "free to peacefully express their views", it warned police would "take the strongest action" where anti-Semitism and other forms of hate are promoted.

Marchers have a right to protest but should "be mindful" of the "fear and distress felt by many families in this country", a Downing Street spokesman said.

Metropolitan Police warned that any support for a proscribed organisation such as Hamas or Hezbollah is unlawful.

Anyone wearing, carrying or otherwise displaying symbols that are supportive of a proscribed organisation can be arrested while the same is true for chanting of slogans, the Met said.

The force said it had been working closely with representatives from London’s Jewish and Muslim communities since the attacks in Israel.

Officers have made 21 arrests for hate crime offences in the community this week.

They include a man suspected of defacing posters of missing Israelis in Camden and another man in relation to 10 incidents of Islamophobic graffiti on bus stops in the New Malden and Raynes Park area.

Figures revealed by the Met show that between October 1 and October 18 there were 218 anti-Semitic offences compared with 15 in the same period last year and an increase in Islamophobic offences, from 42 to 101.

These represent percentage rises of 1,353 per cent and 140 per cent respectively.

Updated: October 20, 2023, 3:42 PM