Thousands of people are expected to march in a pro-Palestinian demonstration in central London as police warn that anyone showing support for Hamas or deviating from the route could face arrest.

The Met Police will deploy more than 1,000 officers to police the demonstration today (October 14), in which people will be marching in solidarity with Palestine and demanding Israel ends its occupation of Palestinian land, amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

Israel has been pounding Gaza with airstrikes since Hamas terrorists carried out an unprecedented cross-border attack last Saturday (October 7), killing over 1,300 people in a brutal rampage.

Hamas fighters flew paragliders from Gaza and used bulldozers to poke gaping holes in a barrier fence to gain access to Israeli territory.

More than a million Palestinians have begun a mass exodus from northern Gaza after Israel’s military gave them 24 hours to evacuate ahead of an expected ground invasion.

The march today (Saturday) follows calls from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Israel to “protect ordinary Palestinians and facilitate humanitarian aid” and from the Archbishop of Canterbury for a Gaza humanitarian corridor.

Justin Welby said in a statement: “I plead that the sins of Hamas are not borne by the citizens of Gaza, who themselves have faced such suffering over many decades.

“The price of evil cannot be paid by the innocent. Civilians cannot bear the costs of terrorists.”

An order is in place that means anyone taking part must not deviate from the route, which starts at Portland Place and finishes in Whitehall, or they could be arrested.

Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor told a press briefing on Friday: “Whilst people have the right to protest, they do not have the right to incite violence, they do not have the right to incite hatred and they do not have the right to commit criminal offences and we will robustly police that situation.”

Waving a proscribed flag in support of Hamas or other proscribed organisations at the protest will be an offence.

At the same briefing, Mr Taylor told of a “massive increase” in antisemitic crime and incidents since the Israel-Hamas conflict.

He said the force has seen an increase in Islamophobic incidents as well, “but nothing like the scale of the increase in antisemitism”.

Between September 29 and  October 12 2023 there have been 105 reports of anti-Semitic incidents and 75 anti-Semitic offences compared with 14 anti-Semitic incidents and 12 anti-Semitic offences during the same time the previous year.

During the same time-frame there have been 58 Islamophobic incidents and 54 Islamophobic offences. In the same fortnight the previous year there were 31 Islamophobic incidents and 34 Islamophobic offences.

Dept Asst Commissioner Taylor added: “We have seen behaviours this week that are unacceptable. They are hateful and there is no place for that in London.”