Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of London to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

The latest major demonstration in the capital comes as Hamas is set to free further hostages.

There have been conflicting reports on how many people will be released, but at least 13 are expected to be exchanged for a number of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.


The temporary truce is still holding and follows weeks of fighting and Israeli bombardments of Gaza during the conflict sparked by the Hamas incursion into southern Israel that saw 1,200 people killed.

Protesters in London marched from Park Lane to Whitehall, with the Metropolitan Police also handing out leaflets to provide “absolute clarity” on what will be deemed an offence.

It comes after weeks of pressure on the force over the handling of the now-regular demonstrations, with pressure from senior politicians for officers to come down harder on alleged displays of antisemitism.

As the demonstration began, the Met said one protester had been arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred.

A series of handmade placards and banners were held up by pro-Palestinian demonstrators, with some referencing the slogan “from the river to the sea”.

One placard displayed a picture of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer under the word “Genocide”, while another had a picture of leaders of the G7 above the phrase “War criminals on the run”.

Ahead of the march Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan said the leaflets set out “that anyone who is racist or incites hatred against any group should expect to be arrested. As should anyone who supports Hamas or any other banned organisation”.

Protesters in LondonThe protest comes amid a temporary truce in the fighting between Israel and Hamas (Harry Stedman/PA)

“We will not tolerate anyone who celebrates or promotes acts of terrorism – such as the killing or kidnap of innocent people – or who spreads hate speech,” he said.

Organisers Stop the War Coalition said that such a measure was “intrusive”, but asked anyone attending to avoid “any actions that might leave you or others around you open to arrest”.

“We ask that all attending our marches respect these clear anti-racist principles, including in any signs or placards they choose to bring to the march,” the group said in a statement.

Hundreds also gathered outside the Egyptian Embassy in Mayfair for a demonstration by Hizb-ut-Tahrir, in the first protest by the group since October 21 after a video emerged showing a man chanting “jihad”.

The Met said no offences were identified from the clip, but it prompted an outcry from politicians.

At the start of the rally on Saturday, the crowd was warned by an organiser: “Don’t come up with your own chants, follow what is on the stage, follow the chants from those who are chanting.”

Around 20 police officers were present at the peaceful demonstration which lasted approximately 90 minutes.

Israel-Hamas conflictPeople take part in the National March for Palestine, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in central London to call for a ceasefire (Lucy North/PA)

A statement by the group said Muslim leaders “should not feel bound” by Western laws and borders, calling the latter “mere lines in the sand”.

Dr Abdul Wahid, of the UK executive committee of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, told the crowd liberation would mean a “system that allowed Muslim, Jew and Christian to live side by side in peace and respect with everyone having rights”.

The crowd, made up of men, women and children, held signs that read “Muslim Armies! Liberate Palestine!” and “US & UK Hands Off The Middle East”.

A 90-minute march organised by the charity Campaign Against Antisemitism is also due to take place on Sunday, with around 40,000-50,000 people expected to attend.

On the first day of the four-day ceasefire, Hamas released 24 of the about 240 hostages taken during its October 7 attack on Israel that triggered the war, and Israel freed 39 Palestinians from prison.

Those freed from captivity in Gaza were 13 Israelis, 10 Thai nationals and a citizen of the Philippines.

Under the agreement, Hamas will release one Israeli hostage for every three prisoners freed.