Pro-Palestinian protesters have held a national day of action on Saturday, with thousands of people taking part in events around the UK.
On previous weekends thousands of protesters and counter-protesters have converged on the capital.
However, the movement’s presence was more muted in London on Saturday, with protesters split across more than 100 smaller rallies around the nation.
London hosted 10 events, including rallies in Islington, Camden and Tower Hamlets.
Around 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators were from London’s Waterloo station after holding a sit-in protest demanding a ceasefire in Gaza.
The group chanted: “Free, free Palestine”; “Sit down, join us”; and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” as they protested in the centre of the station.
Police officers surrounded the protesters before they were escorted from the station, with at least two demonstrators carried from the scene.
British Transport Police (BTP) said five protesters were arrested at Waterloo station and no train services were affected.
— Cityintel (@Cityintel1) November 18, 2023
A group of demonstrators who were removed from the station then made their way to Westminster Bridge where they sat in the road before moving to Parliament Square, the Metropolitan Police said.
The force said on X, formerly Twitter: “We believe the group in Parliament Square is a mix of pro-Palestinian protesters and JSO (Just Stop Oil) activists.
“We have arrested a prominent JSO activist from within the group. We have a significant number of officers ready to respond if there is further disruption in the road.”
It comes as protesters held sit-in protests at major UK train stations despite increased policing across railway networks.
📢✊🏽🇵🇸 *SIT-IN AT LEEDS TRAIN STATION* 📢✊🏽🇵🇸
In protest against the Parliament's rejection of a ceasefire and joining local actions in solidarity with Palestine across the country, we are holding a sit-in at Leeds train station to demand an #ENDTOGENOCIDE #CEASEFIRENOW! pic.twitter.com/pepFQsmdn4
— Leeds Sisters Uncut (@UncutLeeds) November 18, 2023
BTP deployed enhanced officer patrols in England, Scotland and Wales on Saturday.
Footage shared on social media showed a small crowd sitting on the floor in Manchester Victoria Station, while the force confirmed another group of around 25 had done the same at Leeds station shortly after 2pm.
BTP issued Section 14a orders prohibiting protests on Saturday at many of London’s main rail stations from 10am to 11pm, but shortly after 2.30pm the force posted on X that a group of approximately 200 protesters had arrived at London Bridge station.
A police cordon was also put in place around London Bridge, but five minutes later they posted again to say the group had left the area and passengers could access the station as usual.
BTP said its officers made five arrests in London on Saturday, while the Met Police said its officers had made 10 – including pro-Palestinian and JSO protesters.
BTP Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said: “In line with our strategy, protesters were issued notices and announcements were made over station sound systems before officers moved to the arrest stage.
“The vast majority of protesters left peacefully, however five arrests were made at a large protest at Waterloo station.”
Transport Secretary Mark Harper posted on X: “Grateful to @BTP officers for their swift work removing those who are intent on spreading intimidation on our rail network. I backed officers with the extra powers they needed, powers possible due to the legislation this Govt passed. Thank you to those who were on duty today.”
Before Saturday’s protests, the Met Police said the force had made more than 380 arrests for related offences since the October 7 attacks in Israel.
Meanwhile, organisers estimated that around 18,000 protesters turned out for a pro-Palestinian event in Glasgow.