Pro-Israel demonstrators in London’s Trafalgar Square holding up images of the missing while having their names read aloud from the steps of the National Gallery, demanding the release of hostages in Gaza.
A BBC reporter claimed that there was a heavy police presence and that security was tight in the square. The audience held up signs reading “free the hostages” and chanted “bring them home.”
It follows a day of pro-Palestine demonstrations in towns and cities across the United Kingdom.
There was widespread display of the Israeli flag, and the ceremony concluded with a minute of silence and a group prayer after remarks from members of parliament and Jewish community leaders.
One participant, Marie van der Zyl, head of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, remarked, “The world has got to understand that these hostages were ruthlessly and barbarically taken, they have to be released.
“The world should put pressure on those who can have any influence to release these innocent hostages who have suffered unbearable trauma and torment, let the hostage comes home.”
In a statement, Communities Secretary Michael Gove said, “Britain stands with Israel” and urged Israel to “stand strong.”
Speaking to the crowd, he stated: “There are no words to describe the suffering of families who have seen their relatives butchered in front of them and relatives who live in hope that those who were living peacefully in their homes just two weeks ago and are now in a Hamas dungeon should be freed.”
Families who have lost children to Hamas kidnappings met in Trafalgar Square earlier. The four London women who put up the installation used a pram for each of the missing children.
Hamas, listed as a terrorist organisation by the UK, the US, and the EU, attacked Israeli citizens on October 7 and killed dozens.
When gunmen broke through the security at the Gaza barrier and stormed settlements in southern Israel, they killed over 1,400 people. Survivors reported widespread crimes, including torture and the burning of bodies. The number of captives captured in Gaza alone is around 200.
Palestinians Being Killed in Gaza
More than 4,600 Palestinians, according to officials in Hamas-controlled Gaza, have been killed in Israeli retaliatory air attacks over the past two weeks. Nivi, a protester who attended the inauguration, claimed that her children had attended the same Israeli summer camp as one of the boys now thought to be a hostage.
“They were showing pictures of the hostages, and my eight-year-old pointed out, ‘Mummy, this is Ohad,'” she recalled. I took Ohad to camp with me.
“Then he turned to me and questioned, “Why is his photo there?” It broke my heart to tell him, “Well, he’s one of the kids that the bad folks took away.
Meanwhile, Home Secretary Theresa May will meet with former British ambassador Sir Mark Rowley to discuss the weekend’s pro-Palestinian demonstration in London.
On Monday, Suella Braverman will meet with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to discuss the force’s handling of violence at a pro-Palestinian rally in London.
On Saturday, an Islamist group held a protest, and a video of one of the attendees yelling “jihad” went viral online.
Put a Stop to Anti-Semitism
The Metropolitan Police Department claimed that the protest video, which occurred apart from the main march, included no evidence of any criminal activity.
However, Sir Mark Rowley must explain himself to the home secretary. Ms. Braverman and the head of the Met Police had scheduled a meeting to talk about the current protests and how to stop anti-Semitism.
A source close to the home secretary, however, said she planned to use it to quiz Sir Mark about his thoughts on the way his police handled the event on Saturday.
According to the source, “no place for incitement to hatred or violence on Britain’s streets” exists. Ms. Braverman has made it plain that she wants the police “to crack down on anyone breaking the law.”
On Saturday, the Met predicted that as many as 100,000 people congregated in London’s key areas to express support for Palestinian citizens. The protest near Downing Street required the participation of almost a thousand police officers. There were 10 detainees in total.
Police estimated that up to 100,000 people attended the march in central London.
The arrests made by the Met on Saturday were related to fireworks possession, public disorder, and assault on an emergency service personnel.
After video of a guy yelling “jihad, jihad” at a smaller demonstration hosted by the Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir near the main march surfaced online, the force declared on Sunday that it was not pursuing any further action.
The police department released a statement saying they “had not identified any offences arising from the specific clip” and that the word “jihad” may have “a number of meanings.” As for the “Muslim armies” banners seen in photos of the protests, the government declared it would take no further action.
Home Office Minister Robert Jenrick said the cry should be “tackled with the full force of the law” since it amounted to “inciting terrorist violence.”
He made this statement to Sky News on Sunday: “Chanting ‘jihad’ on the streets of London is completely reprehensible and I never want to see scenes like that.”
The minister did concede that whether or not to bring charges was a “operational matter” for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).