pro-Palestine Protest London
The Metropolitan Police Force (Met) said that around 300,000 people marched through the capital. Emmanuel Dunand/AFP

On Saturday 11 November, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of London to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, as well as an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories.

While organisers of the pro-Palestine protest put the number of attendees closer to 800,000 people, the Metropolitan Police Force (Met) claimed that around 300,000 people marched through the capital.

The large group carried banners that read 'Free Palestine', 'Stop the Massacre' and 'Stop Bombing Gaza'. Some members of the crowd were heard singing the controversial rhyme, considered antisemitic and a call for Israel's eradication by many, 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free'.

The Met reported that officers were forced to detain more than 120 people as they attempted to settle tensions between the pro-Palestine group and a far-right counter-protest that had threatened to ambush the rally.

The far-right group of demonstrators had gathered in central London to protest the pro-Palestine movement, due to the fact that it was taking place on Armistice Day – the anniversary that celebrates the end of World War One and commemorates fallen soldiers.

Violent scenes were witnessed by both parties, as the right-wing group fought its way towards the Cenotaph war memorial.

Ahead of his cabinet reshuffle, which saw Home Secretary Suella Braverman sacked, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the violence that took place outside the war memorial.

Sunak later penalised a group of "Hamas sympathisers" who joined the pro-Palestine rally and started "singing antisemitic chants and brandishing pro-Hamas signs and clothing on today's protest".

The pro-Palestine demonstration marked the largest in the history of protests in the UK that showed support for the Palestinian people and called for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Ministers requested to block the event from entering central London, according to news sources, but their request was denied by the Met.

Braverman was accused of inflaming the tensions between the far right and the ceasefire callers.

The Met strained its relationship with the right-wing government after they said that they did not have any indications that there would be any serious violence taking place.

The run-up to the event was tense after Braverman called the pro-Palestine marches "hate marches" that were being led by "mobs".

Braverman was accused of inflaming the tensions between the far right and the ceasefire callers, which inherently led to her demise after she accused the police of favouring "pro-Palestinian mobs" on Friday.

In a statement published on Saturday evening, the police announced that they had arrested more than 120 people.

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist noted that a knife and knuckleduster were found during searches and recognised that the "extreme violence from the right-wing protesters towards the police today was extraordinary and deeply concerning".

The force was also carrying out further investigations into a number of hate crimes and offences relating to the support for proscribed terrorist organisations – said Twist.

The majority of the detained group were right-wing protestors, made up of several hundred people, who had planned to disrupt the ceasefire rally. The group included football hooligans, said police.

Other detainees included small groups of demonstrators belonging to the pro-Palestine protest. The protestors, who had broken away from the large crowd, wore face coverings and used fireworks to assault police officers in their faces. The attack on the members of the force led to several arrests.

In a statement published yesterday morning, Sunday 12 November, Sunak demanded that "all criminality must be met with the full and swift force of the law".

"That is what I told the Met Police Commissioner on Wednesday, that is what they are accountable for and that is what I expect," he added.

In Scotland, seven people were also arrested at the pro-Palestinian marches that were held on Armistice Day.