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Al-Quds Day speaker blames Grenfell Tower fire on 'Zionists'

Hundreds of Hezbollah flags visible as marchers in central London chanted, 'Isis and Zionists are the same'

    Organisers of the annual Al-Quds Day parade in central London have sparked fury after attempting to blame the Grenfell Tower tragedy on "Zionists".

    Around 1,000 people joined the anti-Israel march - with numerous men, women and children openly waving the flag of proscribed terrorist organisation Hezbollah in full view of dozens of Metropolitan Police officers on duty for the event.

    But the march - a pro-Palestinian event first started in Iran in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeni and calling for Israel's demise - left many onlookers in London's Regent Street stunned when a link was made to last week's fire.

    Speaking through a loudspeaker at the front of the demonstration, a man said: "This demonstration calls on justice for Grenfell.

    "Some of the biggest supporters of the Conservative Party are Zionists.

    "They are responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell.

    “The Zionist supporters of the Tory Party. Free, Free, Palestine!"

    One female shopper shouted "disgusting remarks".

    When the JC asked why one of the march leaders was able to express such an opinion openly, a female police officer said: "It's just an opinion."

    As the demonstration left its starting point outside the BBC building in Duchess Street, supporters held up banners stating : "Zionism is Racism" and "We are all Hezbollah".

    Chants from the crowd included the slogan "From the river to the sea - Palestine will be free”.

    But they also shouted: "Zionists/ISIS are the same. Only difference is the name".

    But also noticeable were the hundreds of smaller paper flags bearing the machine gun logo of the Hezbollah movement.

    One large Hezbollah flag was also flown next to a large Palestinian flag at the front of the march.

    Several Jewish anti-Zionists from the Neturei Karta sect were placed at the front of the march and organisers claimed they were "true" Jews.

     

    Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, had faced calls to ban the march over the likelihood that a flag of a proscribed terror group would be flown.

    In the event, it was decided action could only be taken if protesters broke the law on the march.

    The demonstrators, who marched to Grosvenor Square, were interrupted by clutches of flag-carrying pro-Israel protesters at various stages on the route.

    At one stage, the leaders of the pro-Palestinian marchers staged a sit down in Regent Street - and called for a minute’s silence for the Grenfell Tower victims.

    Marchers then held up “Justice For Grenfell” posters, which also bore the name of the group behind the Al-Quds Day event, the Islamic Human Rights Commission.

    Hundreds of pro-Israel supporters attended a counter demonstration organised by the Zionist Federation.

    The Al-Quds demo saw speakers including Sara Russell and Mick Napier from the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign address the crowd.

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