Tower Bridge shut down by pro-Palestine protesters

Demonstrations at Parliament, Tower Bridge and Stoke-on-Trent reach new boiling point as calls for ceasefire intensify


Pro-Palestine demonstrators forced police officers to shut down Tower Bridge on Saturday 24 February, 2024. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

Police were forced to shut down Tower Bridge for an hour as pro-Palestine demonstrators blocked traffic during a protest on Saturday night.

Protesters waving the Palestinian flag set off flares and chanted for a ceasefire in Gaza as traffic was forced to a standstill. The landmark was closed by City of London police at about 5:30pm and was reopened an hour later.

The protest came after the leader of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Ben Jamal, rallied thousands of the group’s supporters to enter parliament in an attempt to lobby MPs to vote in favour of a ceasefire in Gaza on Wednesday. 

Security prevented the protesters from entering Westminster Hall though the rally continued outside parliament as the anti-Israel slogan “From the river to the sea” was projected on to the Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben.

On Saturday night, Campaign Against Antisemitism tweeted in response to the incident: “On Wednesday, they hijacked Big Ben and turned it into a billboard for their genocidal slogan. Tonight they shut down Tower Bridge. We have had people on our streets holding antisemitic placards and glorifying the most barbaric of terrorists. They then moved on to intimidating our lawmakers and disrupting the lives of the public. Now they are making their mark on our national landmarks. When will we say enough?”

In a separate incident on Friday, pro-Palestine protesters crashed a fundraising dinner hosted by Stoke and Newcastle conservatives, with CCTV footage from the restaurant seeming to show a security guard allowing a number of the protesters access to the private gathering.

A protester filmed his entry into the dinner, announcing to the room: “So these are the guys that should be ashamed, these Zionist supporting guys here. You’ve got no backbone, and you guys are child killers.” He can also be heard calling the attendees “obsessive compulsive freaks.”

Cllr Dave Evans, who attended the dinner at a restaurant called Mirchi in Stoke-on-Trent, tweeted after the incident: “This ‘peaceful’ protest involved grown men screaming Tory scum at my 11 yr old daughter…. These people aren’t really bothered about a cause, they make little videos like that try and make a profile for themselves and intimidate others. A disgrace to our city.”

Staffordshire Police have been contacted for comment.

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