A leading human rights charity has warned the government not to conflate peaceful marches with extremism.

Pro-Palestine protests are set to continue across the country following Rishi Sunak’s warning that 'democracy is being targeted by extremists'.

In an address to the nation on Friday, the Prime Minister warned about the current situation in the country as the bombing of Gaza by the Israeli Defense Forces continued.

Mr Sunak said there are “forces here at home trying to tear us apart”.

The Conservative Party leader said: “I want to speak directly to those who choose to continue to protest: don’t let the extremists hijack your marches.

“You have a chance in the coming weeks to show that you can protest decently, peacefully and with empathy for your fellow citizens.

“Let us prove these extremists wrong and show them that even when we disagree, we will never be disunited.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer appeared to back the Prime Minister’s message calling for unity in the country.

Despite hundreds of thousands of people attending the protests over five month period, the number of arrests made is still very low.

The speech made the majority of the front pages of newspapers during a week when more than 100 Palestinians attempting to access aid were gunned down by Israeli forces. Many of the people treated for injuries following a rush on an aid convoy in Gaza on Thursday suffered gunshot wounds, the UN has said.

At least 112 people were killed in the incident and another 760 were injured.

In response to Rishi Sunak’s speech, Ilyas Nagdee, Amnesty International UK’s Racial Justice Director, said: “The overwhelmingly peaceful protests about mass atrocities in Gaza must not be conflated with extremism.

“People are protesting because of the terrifyingly high civilian death toll in Gaza, which is still mounting inexorably, and the Government’s lack of action for an immediate ceasefire to stem the unbearable suffering.

“The threat to impose yet more restrictions on people’s right to peacefully protest is deeply worrying and suggests the Government is determined to silence those who may disagree with its policies. This is entirely in line with the chaotic patchwork of legislation and sweeping policing powers we have seen introduced in recent years.

“By announcing more funding for the Prevent programme - in which Islamophobic stereotypes play a major role in referrals - the Prime Minister appears to be suggesting that Muslims will be targeted in this new Government crackdown, which is incredibly concerning and must be opposed.”

Speaking ahead of further planned protests across the country, Ben Jamal, director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, responded to the Prime Minister’s address by suggesting he “look in the mirror” and expel some senior MPs from his party.

Mr Jamal posted on X saying: “So Rishi Sunak wants to deal with ‘extremists’. Maybe he should start with politicians, political commentators and religious leaders who support a state, on trial for genocide, in its mass slaughter, and deliberate creation of famine. Not those protesting against it.

“As for his ire at those who seek to divide us, does he ever look in the mirror, or around his cabinet table? Come back when you’ve kicked Suella Braverman, Robert Jenrick (and) Michael Gove out. That’s just for starters.”

Further local protests are planned for this weekend before another national march, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, takes place in central London on March 9.

Many of the actions this weekend are directed against Barclays Bank, which it claims holds “substantial financial ties with arms companies supplying weapons and military technology to Israel”.