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Gaza war: Real horror of the conflict is so far away but many marchers accuse government of inflaming strength of feeling

Busloads of demonstrators came from across the UK to march through London calling for a ceasefire in Gaza on Saturday - the 10th demonstration of its kind since the conflict began.

For all the drums, horns and clamour of this protest, the build up to it has had more political noise than most, with the prime minster telling police chiefs that mob rule is replacing democratic rule and making a speech on the steps of Downing Street warning of extremists infiltrating the march.

"Mob rule," said Pat from Scunthorpe, indignantly, when I relayed the prime minister's words. She had travelled down to London with three friends.

"It a ridiculous statement to make.

"Look at all these people along here.

"It's the government being inflammatory against people trying to protest peacefully."

One of the first people I met in the throng certainly didn't fit the characterisation of 'mob': Welsh singer Charlotte Church, who told me she would be singing a song later and wanted to soak up the atmosphere of the march before making her speech.

Further along, I met Ian from Hertfordshire.

"Gaza; it's hell on earth," he said, "and all these people in power just sit by and watch it happen."

A woman from Coventry added: "It's standing up for humanity and that's what we are all here for. From all races, all religions, standing up for one thing only, and that's a ceasefire now."

As the flood of people wound around Hyde Park Corner and alongside the high-walled gardens of Buckingham Palace, it passed a contingent of around 200 Jewish campaigners behind a banner, also calling for a ceasefire.

There were cheers as the two groups merged.

Among them was Jewish pro-Palestinian campaigner Gillian Mosely. I put to her the words of the counter-extremist tsar, Robin Simcox, that protests were turning London into "a no-go area" for Jewish people. She described that as "absurd", adding "none of us are scared".

But just near Westminster Cathedral a small group of mostly Jewish counter-protesters gathered.

"Wouldn't you be scared?" asked organiser Itai Galmundy.

He wants an end to the marches - "enough is enough," he said.

He accepted some Jewish people were on the march but insisted they didn't represent the majority.

"So many people who consider themselves liberal are marching here and chanting 'from the river to the sea'. Where does it leave us - the Jews, the Israelis that already live there?"

Many interpret the chant, commonly used by the protesters, as an antisemitic call to wipe out the Israeli state.

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Another counter-protester added: "It's ironic that they are saying stop the genocide when they are calling for a genocide.

"You don't see the hypocrisy in that? So, the hypocrisy needs to stop."

The counter-protest was kept 30 metres from the main march behind barriers and heavy police watch, but it was peaceful.

In a separate incident, an Iranian pro-Israeli protester got up alongside the march holding a banner which said: "Hamas is terrorist".

Videos showed someone on the march pulling at him and a scuffle ensuing. Police intervened and pulled the counter-protester away.

Some filming the officers interpreted it as the police arresting the man for his banner - and this message quickly proliferated across social media, but in some of the footage it became clear the officers were trying to keep the peace and the man was later de-arrested with the Met releasing a statement to clarify what happened.

It was just a snapshot of the claims and counter claims in the war of words. The real horror of the conflict is so far away, and yet, for many it feels so close to home. The government will struggle to temper the strength of feeling on both sides, but many on the march accused them of inflaming it.