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Suella Braverman joins thousands at London rally ‘in solidarity with Israel’

Suella Braverman joins thousands at London rally ‘in solidarity with Israel’

Former home secretary Suella Braverman joined thousands in central London “in solidarity with Israel”  ahead of the 100th day since Hamas launched its attack.

She chanted “bring them home” with the crowd – referencing the remaining hostages – took pictures with members of the public and was thanked by others for going to the rally in Trafalgar Square on Sunday.

Gratitude was also expressed to the King at the demonstration, as President of Israel Isaac Herzog thanked Charles in a video message, mentioning Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer as well.

Ms Braverman told the PA news agency: “I’m here to stand in solidarity with Israel.

“It has been 100 days since innocent people have been taken hostage by the Hamas terrorists and we need to bring them home now.

“Bring them home now.”

Suella Braverman at pro-Israel rally
Former home secretary Suella Braverman said she was there to stand in solidarity with Israel (Jeff Moore/PA)

A small group of counter-protesters from the Neturei Karta group gathered on a traffic island at the south of Trafalgar Square, according to the Metropolitan Police.

The force originally said a man was arrested after forcefully taking a sign from the group and tearing it up, but in an updated statement the Met Police said the man was “detained but not ultimately arrested” after a review of CCTV confirmed he was not the person responsible.

Another man who shouted “antisemitic abuse from a passing car” was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence.

People attending the rally, who filed into the square past bag searches, barricades and police and security officers, held posters that bore the faces of those who were taken hostage, and others that read “100 days in hell”.

Some brandished Iranian flags, depicting a sun and lion in the centre, which one man said represented opposition to the Iranian government.

In his video message, Mr Herzog 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.

Crowd at pro-Israel rally
People in the crowd held posters that bore the faces of hostages (Jeff Moore/PA)

“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 Sunak.

“I want to thank the UK Government and I want to thank Opposition leader Starmer and his colleagues.”

The rally heard from a number of other speakers including Israeli ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely, the UK special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, Lord Pickles, and Labour MP Christian Wakeford.

Relatives of those who remain hostage also spoke at the demonstration.

Eylon Keshet holding a photo of his cousin's children who were taken hostage alongside their parents on October 7
Eylon Keshet said the time his cousin’s baby has spent as a hostage ‘might be a death sentence’ (Ellie Ng/PA)

Yarden Bibas, 34, was captured on October 7 alongside his wife Shiri, 32, and two children Ariel, four, and baby Kfir, who was 10 months old when he was taken.

Mr Bibas’s cousin, Eylon Keshet, told PA that the time Kfir has spent as a hostage “might be a death sentence”.

The 30-year-old, who lives in Israel but came to the UK to “make his message known” at the rally, said: “We never thought it would be this long and it’s heartbreaking because 100 days is not just a number, 100 days are actually this long that they need to suffer in captivity each day and for a baby like Kfir this might be a death sentence.

“So this is 100 days of real human suffering and pain and we must bring them home. This number must not get any bigger.”

Ms Hotovely thanked “London” for “100 days of consistent support”.

Lord Pickles speaking at pro-Israel rally
Lord Pickles called himself a ‘committed and unapologetic Zionist’ (Jeff Moore/PA)

She said the estimated 130 remaining hostages “continue to live a nightmare with every passing second” and issued a fresh demand for their immediate release.

Lord Pickles called himself a “committed and unapologetic Zionist” and, referring to a pro-Palestinian march on Saturday, said: “The people who were marching yesterday, the overwhelming majority of them are not antisemitic but they are happy to walk with people who are antisemitic.”

Mr Wakeford spoke of his recent trip to Israel during which he met survivors and families of hostages.

“The experiences they’ve had on day one was too much,” he told the crowd.

Cyclists in Regents Park
Cyclists in Regent’s Park after they cycled through central London calling for the release of Israeli hostages (Jeff Moore/PA)

“Well, now 100 days in, and all we can say is this is far too many and bring them home.”

Earlier on Sunday, cyclists gathered in Regent’s Park after riding through central London as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the hostages still being held captive by Hamas.

Some cycled with Israeli flags wrapped around them while others held up posters showing the faces of hostages.