Hundreds of anti-Israel protesters were heckled by a large contingent of Israel supporters as they marched through the streets of central London on Sunday for the annual Iran-initiated Al Quds Day march.
Later, the crowds grew as the pro-Palestinian group left their position in front of Saudi Arabia’s embassy and began marching toward No 10 Downing St, the office and home of the British prime minister.
Unlike in previous years, around 200 people waving Palestinian flags and holding signs with anti-Israel slogans were almost equally matched to a crowd of opponents who gathered nearby behind a banner that read ‘free Gaza from Hamas,’ according to witnesses.
The two sides were separated by a hefty police presence. A third group consisting of supporters of the anti-Islam and anti-immigration English Defence League and allied groups had also joined the fray, but were cordoned off by police.
As the group wove toward Downing St, they were briefly blocked by a group of counter-protesters who were waving Israeli flags and chanted that their opponents were “terrorist scum.” They moved on at the request of police.
A flag of the Shiite militia Hezbollah was flown by at least one of the participants in the Al Quds Day rally.