Police officer suffers serious facial injury during pro-Palestine protest outside Parliament

MarketMay 30, 2024 /idopress/

Pro-Palestinian supporters gather outside Downing Street in central London on Tuesday

Credit: Alister Gooding

Three police officers were injured and 40 people have been arrested during a protest in Westminster on Tuesday night.

One officer was left with a serious facial injury after she was hit by a bottle thrown from the crowd,while two officers suffered minor injuries.

Metropolitan Police said the suspect who threw the bottle has not been identified but investigations are ongoing.

A protest organised by a coalition of groups,including the Palestine Solidarity Group,began at around 6pm and was required to end at 8pm,police said.

The majority of the crowd,which was between 8,000 and 10,000 people,left Whitehall without incident.

A group of around 500 people remained and police began making a number of arrests for failing to comply.

Police said that when some of the crowd resisted arrest,officers were required to use force to remove them. 

They added that a breakaway protest then took place,with the crowd marching to Bridge Street outside Westminster Station,where police cordons were erected to detain the group. 

A police statement said they entered the crowd shortly before 10pm to arrest those suspected of leading the breakaway demonstration,with 40 people arrested for offences including breaking the Public Order Act,obstruction of a highway and assaults of emergency workers.

Around 2am on Wednesday,police said all protesters had left the area and Bridge Street had been reopened.

Demonstrators marched on the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday night

Credit: Vuk Valcic/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock

The majority of the crowd,left Whitehall without incident

Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images Europe

Westminster Police posted footage on social media of officers “identifying the ringleaders” of the pro-Palestine demonstrators in order to “detain and extract” them.

The clip,posted on X,formerly Twitter,showed police in riot gear charging into the crowd of demonstrators on Tuesday and splintering the group. Police and protesters can then be seen jostling in the streets at night.

In another image posted online,officers are pictured standing shoulder to shoulder,blocking the activist from moving further along the road. 

Six police vehicles were parked near Westminster station,with several groups of police forming huddles.

The three officers injured on Tuesday follows an incident in Hainault earlier this month where a female officer almost lost her hand in a sword attack. 

Sir Mark Rowley said surgeons had battled for hours to reattach nerves and she would require many years of physio in order to make a full recovery.

The Met Commissioner said an inspector had also suffered a badly damaged hand in the attack and had undergone surgery as a result.

In the wake of the incident,the body representing rank and file police in London renewed its call for every officer to be equipped with a Taser upon their request. 

Metropolitan Police officers face pro-Palestine supporters at a rally in central London

Credit: Benjamin Cremel

Police stood shoulder to shoulder in an effort to prevent activists moving further along the road

Credit: Vuk Valcic/ZUMA Press/Cover Images

In the year ending March 2023,40,330 assaults on police officers were recorded,an average of 110 per day,according to the Police Federation.

Steve Hartshorn,national chairman of the Police Federation,said: “The high number of assaults on police officers is a concerning issue that cannot be swept under the carpet. Assaults on police officers are serious crimes,and they should be treated as such,with the seriousness they deserve.”

The rally was titled 'hands off Rafah. End the genocide' by supporters

Credit: Benjamin Cremel

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The scenes of disorder and violence against officers last night by a breakaway group of protesters was completely unacceptable.

“The Mayor’s thoughts are with the three officers injured,particularly the officer who suffered a serious face injury,and wishes them all a speedy recovery. The mayor remains in close contact with police leaders about protests and vigils being held in the capital.

“The situation in Gaza is horrifying and the mayor understands why so many feel passionately about the loss of so many innocent lives and want to make their voice heard. Lawful protest is a cornerstone of any democracy but how it is done matters. 

“The majority of those protesting last night did so peacefully and lawfully but there is no place for criminality on our streets and the mayor fully supports the police taking action against anyone breaking the law.”

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign was contacted for comment.

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