A couple calling for an end to the bombing of Gaza have been arrested after pouring fake blood and putting “bloody handprints” on the gates outside Downing Street.

The Metropolitan Police said two people were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after paint was thrown at the gates.

Virginia Moffat, 58, and Chris Cole, 60, were named by campaign group FigTree as the arrested pair.

The couple, from Dorset, said the Government had “blood on its hands” after refusing to demand Israel end its bombing of Gaza, according to a statement by FigTree.

The Christian protesters called it “a massacre of biblical proportions”.

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In a statement, Ms Moffat and Mr Cole said: “Britain’s and Israel’s justification for this slaughter is that Israel is acting in ‘self-defence’; that the deaths of innocents are to be regretted, but Israel must be allowed to act in its own defence.

“This is nonsense. Again and again, leading international lawyers have clearly stated that ‘self-defence’ cannot justify the slaughter of so many innocent Palestinians.”

They added: “As bombs rain down on Gaza, destroying homes, hospitals, families, schools, cultural centres, mosques, churches and civic buildings, we cannot help but act.

“By refusing to back a ceasefire, and continuing to supply arms to Israel, our government is complicit with this slaughter.”

The incident occurred at around 11.45am on Friday, according to the Met Police.

Chief Superintendent Joseph Mcdonald said: “We have been clear that we will facilitate lawful protest but where this strays into criminality we will take swift action.

“Arrests were made within minutes of this incident taking place and both people are now in custody.”