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Middle East crisis: Six arrests as thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters gather in central London for ‘global day of action’ | UK News

Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters have marched through central London – a day after the UK joined the US in attacking Houthi bases in Yemen.

The Iran-backed rebel group, which supports Hamas, has been targeting commercial shipping in the Red Sea.

It has vowed to damage vessels it believes are heading to and from Israel until there is a ceasefire in Gaza.

Middle East crisis – follow latest

One speaker in Parliament Square on Saturday said British planes had been “flying where they do not belong”.

A few Yemeni flags were spotted on the march, Sky News correspondent Ivor Bennett said.

One placard read “Hands off Yemen”. According to its bearer, the only way to stop Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea is to support a ceasefire in Gaza.

Another placard read: “UK + US wants war. Yemen supports Palestine. Gaza wants to live.”

Six arrests have been made, two of which were “in relation to offensive placards”, the Metropolitan Police said.

Another three people were arrested on suspicion of showing support for a proscribed organisation – an offence under the Terrorism Act.

One person was held for being in possession of “stickers to be used for criminal damage”.

A “significant policing presence” of about 1,700 officers was planned by Scotland Yard, which handed out leaflets.

Part of a leaflet handed out by the Met Police
Part of a leaflet handed out by the Met Police

The protesters want Israel to stop its military operations in Gaza, which followed the Hamas attacks in Israel on 7 October.

Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, accused the British government of “complicity” with Israel.

Speaking in Parliament Square, he said Palestine was a “nation of freedom fighters”, adding: “I stand before you with a broken heart but not a broken spirit.”

He also congratulated South Africa for bringing a genocide case against Israel at the UN’s International Court of Justice.

That case has “gone down well with demonstrators”, Ivor Bennett said, with one woman saying she was “ecstatic” at the news.

Protesters in central London

Mary Lou McDonald, the president of Sinn Fein, told the crowd that a better situation for the Palestinian people is possible.

“When I say this, standing in London, in common cause with you, (having) walked our own journey out of conflict, building peace for 25 years, this can happen,” she said.

“This must happen and we will ensure that it does.”

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed protesters in Parliament Square, while his former shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, could be seen leading the march as it left Bank.

There were restrictions, including: any person participating was warned not to deviate from the specified route; the speeches had to end by 4.30pm; the whole event had to end by 5pm.

No participant was allowed to enter the area around the Israeli Embassy.

Protesters in central London

James Cleverly, the home secretary, said he had been briefed by Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley on plans to “ensure order and safety” during the protest.

“I back them to use their powers to manage the protest and crack down on any criminality,” he said.

Arrests after Keir Starmer confronted by pro-Palestine activists in Glasgow | Politics News

Two people have been arrested after Sir Keir Starmer was confronted by pro-Palestine activists in Glasgow.

The Labour leader was met by activists holding Palestinian flags as he arrived at Glasgow Central Station on Thursday evening.

Sir Keir has faced criticism over his stance on the Israel-Hamas war since voting against a ceasefire in Gaza and claiming “Israel has the right” to withhold power and water from Palestinian civilians.

A wave of Labour frontbenchers, including senior MP Jess Phillips, resigned last month in order to back an SNP motion calling for a ceasefire – while some Labour councillors have quit the party over Sir Keir’s position on the war.

As he arrived in Glasgow, one protester shouted: “Keir Starmer you are facilitating Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Stop the massacre of over 7,000 babies.

“Freedom for Palestine, stop the genocide. You’re responsible for killing babies in Gaza.”

Another activist shouted: “Starmer, why did you vote for continued genocide?”

Others called him a “war criminal” and said “you should be in prison”.

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Labour hit by wave of resignations

The protest continued outside the Crowne Plaza hotel, where activists accused Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar of “supporting genocide”.

Sir Keir was in Glasgow to speak at a Scottish Labour winter gala fundraising event.

He was also confronted during his train journey to Scotland, with a passenger asking him: “Keir, how many more children in Palestine have to die before you call for a ceasefire?

“Over 7,000 children have died. Over 7,000 children have been slaughtered by Israel. This is unacceptable.

“What happened to human rights? What happened to democracy?”

Read more:
Why does Starmer not support a ceasefire in Gaza?
People ‘upset and hurt’ by Labour’s initial reaction to Israel-Hamas war
Analysis: Starmer tries to woo Tory voters but is it worth riling up Labour’s left-wing?

Responding to the footage, Ellie Reeves, Labour’s deputy national campaign co-ordinator, said: “I’m sorry to see those scenes, we have set out what we think is the right thing.

“We welcomed and called for the cessation in hostilities that we saw last week.

“I’m sorry that that hasn’t held and there’s now been further violence.

“We’re facing a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and everything needs to be done to avoid that.

“I want to see a further cessation of hostilities, the rest of the hostages released, but also aid going into Gaza.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said the force was “aware” of the protests, adding: “Two people have been arrested in connection with assaulting police officers at Congress Road and inquiries are ongoing.

“There have been no reports of any injuries at either protest.”

Scottish Grand National protests: 25 arrests after disruption at Ayr racecourse | UK News

Twenty-five people were arrested after animal rights protesters attempted to disrupt the Scottish Grand National on Saturday.

Animal Rising claimed dozens of supporters had made it onto the track and posted a video on their Twitter feed showing at least four activists breaking through the fence around the racecourse at Ayr, with some making it onto the track.

None of them successfully attached themselves to jumps and gates and they were not able to cancel or delay the big race, which was won by pre-race favourite Kitty’s Light.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs, of Police Scotland, said a “prompt and professional response by stewards and Police Scotland officers prevented this group from causing any disruption”.

He also revealed that there had been a further attempt to disrupt a later race involving a smaller group of protesters.

Mr Mairs said: “Both incidents resulted in people being safely removed and no injuries have been reported.

“Overall, there have been 25 arrests so far across the day and inquiries are continuing.”

Animal Rising activists target the Scottish Grand National
Protesters were not able to delay the race

Read more:
Animal rights groups call for jump racing ban after three horses die at Aintree
Third racehorse dies during Grand National meeting – as 118 arrested over protests before event

Sarah McCaffrey, of Animal Rising, said last week’s protest against the Grand National at Aintree had started a “crucial conversation about our relationship with animals and nature”.

“Today we continue that conversation. As a society, we love animals, but we have to find a way to care for them without harming them,” the protester said.

“This conversation is particularly important in Scotland where we have so much potential for nature and wildlife to thrive.

“We can all build a world that we are proud to be part of. An end to horse racing, as well as a transition to a plant-based food system, are key elements of this kinder, safer future.”

Ayr racecourse’s managing director David Brown praised the swift action of the police and security teams on course.

“The race went off to time, there was no notable delay and the professionalism of the team up here in Scotland was a credit to them, they dealt with it in a very efficient manner,” he said.

“What a great race it was and a great story, for Christian Williams to win it for the second year in a row with Kitty’s Light, after he finished second last year. I think for me this is Scotland’s showpiece race and it all ran to time.”

Last Saturday, more than 110 people were arrested for criminal damage and public nuisance offences after they tried to stop the Grand National at Aintree.

Nine protesters made it onto the race track and tried to attach themselves to fences. The race was delayed by 15 minutes by their actions.

Three murder arrests after man, 60, dies at scene of fight in east London | UK News

A murder investigation has been launched after a 60-year-old man died at the scene of a fight in east London.

The Metropolitan Police were called at just gone midnight on Sunday to reports of a fight at the junction of Ford Road and Broad Street in Dagenham, east London.

Officers and the London Ambulance Service rushed to the location, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of murder, and detectives “remain keen to hear from any witnesses”.

The victim has not been formally identified, and his name has not been released, but officers say his next of kin have been spoken to and are being supported by specialist officers.

“A post-mortem examination will be held in due course,” the police added.

Two of the three men, a 26-year-old and a 36-year-old, were arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and remain in police custody.

The third man, 23, was later arrested on suspicion of murder and is also being held in police custody.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command are leading the investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn said: “At this stage we believe an altercation happened between a group of men and the victim, who was with a friend. This then became physical, leading to the victim sadly suffering fatal injuries.

“We have three men in custody, but would still like to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident or the lead up to it as soon as possible.”

Anyone who can help is asked to contact police on 101 and give reference 36/14AUG. To remain anonymous, contact independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.