Protesters surround police van after terror suspect arrested at pro-Gaza march in London

Protesters surround a police van after a man is detained
Protesters surround a police van after a man is detained

Pro-Palestine protesters surrounded a police van “to prevent it leaving” after a man was arrested on suspicion of a terrorism-related offence.

Dozens of demonstrators could be seen sitting in the street, while others crowded against the side of the van at the central London rally calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The Metropolitan Police said it had made the arrest on the Strand on Saturday afternoon “in relation to inviting support for a proscribed organisation”.

Packed crowds as protests are made in London over the conflict in Gaza - Elliott Franks

Earlier, a man was captured on video, posted on X, saying: “I fully support Hamas. They resisted the occupation.”

Separate footage showed him repeating the mantra several times while under restraint by officers as he was marched towards a police van.

Officers could be seen remonstrating with protesters around the van, who shouted “we can’t hear you” and “let him go”.

Multiple police vans of the Tactical Support Group with flashing lights then arrived at the scene.

The Metropolitan Police said on X, formerly Twitter: “This afternoon, officers policing a protest on the Strand arrested a man on suspicion of a terrorism-related offence in relation to inviting support for a proscribed organisation.

“He has been taken to a central London police station and remains in custody.”

It took place at the 11th national demonstration organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign since the Oct 7 Hamas massacre.

Protesters gather for a rally in Trafalgar Square
Protesters gather for a huge pro-Palestine rally in Trafalgar Square - Vuk Valcic/Alamy

Protesters gathered at Russell Square before marching through the city to Trafalgar Square. Some could be heard chanting “Long live Hamas, long live Hamas”.

One man shouted at a camera: “Who controls Britain? It’s the Jewish people that control Britain! Forty per cent of the MPs are Jewish and that’s why these police are under there.”

Only 3 per cent of MPs are Jewish as of last year, according to Derek Taylor, the historian.

Another protester was filmed leading a chant saying “Bye-bye Israel”.

Separately, an Iranian anti-Hamas protester who was controversially arrested at an earlier protest was arrested again on Saturday.

Niyak Ghorbani, 38, was seen being restrained by police at the pro-Palestine march in central London, having held up a sign saying “Don’t attack the law. Hamas is terrorist”.

It came less than a month after he was arrested over an allegation of assault at a previous march but later de-arrested after officers reviewed footage.

The arrest was described as a “shameful incident” at the time by Robert Jenrick, the former immigration minister.

A pro-Israel counter-protest near the main demonstration
A pro-Israel counter-protest near the main demonstration - Paul Quezada-Neiman/Alamy

The Metropolitan Police were accused of “emboldening” the mob with the arrest.

The new footage from Saturday shows Mr Ghorbani, an Iranian, being restrained against a wall alongside another man.

A pro-Israel counter-protest was staged near the main demonstration, with many participants holding up the same banner.

However, Mr Ghorbani and the other man appeared to be some distance ahead of the main counter-protest and were surrounded by police as they held their banners.

It is understood that he was arrested on an anti-social behaviour offence after refusing a request from officers from outside London to provide his details. When Metropolitan Police officers arrived and confirmed Mr Ghorbani’s identity, he was de-arrested.

Meanwhile, a video emerged of a police officer challenged to arrest protesters allegedly waving swastikas.

When a woman asked him why waving a swastika was not disturbing public order, he said: “Everything needs to be taken in context doesn’t it?”

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