Two arrests as pro-Palestine activists block police van during march in Brixton

At least two activists have been arrested after hundreds took to the streets for a pro-Palestine demonstration in Brixton, south London.

Huge crowds of people descended on Windrush Square to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza on Saturday afternoon.

Eyewitnesses claim that police officers intervened after activists occupied the roads and began blocking traffic.

Officers later arrested a man on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence.

When police tried to leave the area their vehicle was blocked by other protesters.

Footage from the scene appears to show activists surrounding a police vehicle while chanting: “No justice! No peace! F*** the police!”

Several people were later heard chanting the slogan “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”.

A spokesperson for the Met Police said: "Officers policing the pro-Palestinian protest in Brixton have arrested a man in Windrush Square on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence.

"The arrest relates to a placard he was carrying.

"When officers tried to leave the area their vehicle was surrounded by other protesters. Some sat in the road blocking their path.

"Additional officers were deployed and the arrested man is now on his way to custody. Officers remain at the scene and will take action if further offences take place."

Pro-Palestine protest in Brixton (Sophie Butcher)
Pro-Palestine protest in Brixton (Sophie Butcher)

The Met confirmed that a teenage male was later arrested in nearby Saltoun Road on suspicion of criminal damage of a police vehicle.

A spokesperson added: "Again, a number of people tried to obstruct the police van as it drove off. They were moved out of the way by officers. The male is now in custody."

Instead of one large protest in central London, a series of local demonstrations are taking place in Camden, Newham, Redbridge, Enfield, Hackney, Hounslow, Islington, Lewisham, Southwark, Tottenham and Wimbledon on Saturday.

Around 200 pro-Palestine demonstrators were also seen marching towards Euston after gathering in Camden Town at midday.

People were seen carrying placards accusing the Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer of having blood on his hands, while others held banners reading: “Jews against genocide.”

On Sunday, demonstrators will gather in Herne Hill. Police handed out leaflets last weekend to provide "absolute clarity" on what will be deemed an offence after weeks of pressure for officers to come down harder on alleged displays of antisemitism.

More than 400 arrests have been made in the last seven weeks of protest.