Protesters attempt to break through barriers to the Israeli Embassy in Kensington, west London
Violent confrontations broke out at the Israeli Embassy in London today as up to 1,500 protesters against Israel’s Gaza campaign gathered in a vociferous demonstration.
Campaign supporters, Palestinians and British Muslims stood on the pavement of High Street Kensington, west London, and chanted in unison: “Five, six, seven, eight – Israel is a terror state.”
Riot police were brought in to control the crowd, some of whom turned violent. Witnesses said some protestors were forcibly removed and others were seen with bloodied faces as violence erupted.
One campaigner was seen throwing a bag and what appeared to be a book over some gates towards the embassy and another was seen throwing red liquid. Officers retreated from the immediate scene as the crowds swelled, and some appeared to be trying to break through barriers to access the embassy.
The protesters waved Palestinian flags and held up placards, including some which read: “Holocaust in Gaza” and “no peace, no justice.”
Traffic on the busy shopping street was brought to a standstill as more protestors arrived and the road was blocked off near the Embassy.
Six police vans, four police cars and territorial units from the Metropolitan Police waited to intervene as the chanting continued.
As the standoff continued, a security guard at the nearby Royal Garden Hotel said police had been rapidly outnumbered and handled the situation “terribly”.
The member of staff, who did not want to be named, added: “There were only eight officers trying to contain a protest with about 500 demonstrators.
“They are trying to break down the barriers towards the Embassy and the police can do nothing about it.
“It has been handled terribly and now they are chasing to catch up a scene which is already out of control.”
Gamal Hamed, from Hammersmith, whose 23-year-old son still lives in Gaza, said: “Yesterday was the bloodiest day in my homeland’s history. We will do what we can to make the world take notice.
“I am delighted by the number of people who have pledged their support today – we are all worried about where the conflict goes from here.”
It was one of numerous anti-Israel protests, with other sizeable gatherings reported in Paris, Madrid and Jordan.
Scotland Yard said three people were arrested at the London protest on suspicion of committing public order offences.
December 28, 2008
( Katie Collins/PA)
Source: Times Online