Advertisement

Middle East crisis: Former home secretary Suella Braverman joins pro-Israel rally

Former home secretary Suella Braverman joined thousands of pro-Israel protesters at a rally in London on Sunday as the world marked 100 days since the country's war with Hamas began.

Demonstrators, many of them waving Israeli flags, listened to speeches and chanted "bring them home" - in reference to hostages held by the militant group - as they gathered in the capital's Trafalgar Square.

Ms Braverman, who was sacked by the prime minister in his November reshuffle, told Sky News: "I've come today to show solidarity with Israel and with those people who are still held captive by Hamas.

"We need to get them out, they need to be brought home and we need to stand with Israel continually throughout this bitter, and cruel, and evil conflict."

Middle East crisis - follow latest

Ms Braverman has long been an enthusiastic supporter of Israel. She told the Jewish Chronicle last year that her Jewish husband Rael previously lived in the country and that she has "close family members who serve in the IDF [Israel Defence Forces]".

Police initially said two people were arrested at the rally - a man who allegedly shouted "antisemitic abuse from a passing car" and a demonstrator who snatched and tore up a sign belonging to a member of a counter-protest organised by anti-Israel Jewish group Neturei Karta.

However, the Met later said the man was "detained but not ultimately arrested" after a review of CCTV confirmed he was not the person responsible.

Read more from Sky News:
Cameron warns of 'danger and instability' as he defends Yemen strikes
Six arrested over suspected plot to disrupt London Stock Exchange
Woman charged after car collides with pro-Palestine protesters

Meanwhile the rally was also played a video message from Israel's president Isaac Herzog, who thanked political leaders in the UK for supporting the country.

He said: "In the face of those who wish to scare us into silence, you've stood up and spoken out with clarity, pride and passion but it isn't only within the Jewish community, across every branch of British leadership, the truth reigns clear.

"In the name of the state and people of Israel, I thank you all.

"I want to thank His Majesty King Charles III. I want to thank Prime Minister [Rishi] Sunak.

"I want to thank the UK government and I want to thank opposition leader [Sir Keir] Starmer and his colleagues."

Labour MP Christian Wakeford, who spoke at the rally, said an estimated 25,000 people attended.

Following criticism that the figure was an exaggeration, he wrote on X: "I've seen no other estimates. The size of the crowd wasn't what was important today, it was the message of solidarity and hope 100 days on from that dreadful day in Israel."

Earlier on Sunday, a group of cyclists also held a ride through central London as part of a campaign to raise awareness about hostages still being held by Hamas.

It came a day after pro-Palestinian protesters held a demonstration in central London as part of a "global day of action" calling for a ceasefire.

Speakers at the rally also criticised the recent US-UK air strikes on Yemen, while also congratulating South Africa for bringing a genocide case against Israel at the UN's International Court of Justice.

Co-organisers the Palestine Solidarity Campaign estimated more than 500,000 people attended.

Police said nine people were arrested - for alleged offences including inciting racial hatred, a suspected racially aggravated public order offence, and on suspicion of supporting a proscribed organisation.