Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Palestinian supporters clashed with far-right counter-protestors during a major demonstration that drew hundreds of thousands of people to central London on Saturday.
London's Metropolitan Police first confirmed two arrests, including one for assaulting a police officer, later updating that number to include 82 arrests for breaching the peace and 10 others for various charges, including carrying a concealed weapon.
Arrests totaled more than 100 by the end of the day.
We are reviewing footage & identifying those involved in earlier disorder within the group detained on Bridge Street.
Those identified will be arrested & we will continue to use our powers under S60 & S60AA of the Public Order Act, to search for weapons & remove face coverings. pic.twitter.com/MoyREYHkTD— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) November 11, 2023
Officers detained a large group of counter-protestors, some identified as members of the anti-Islamic English Defense League, in what the Met called a "significant police operation" requiring extra officers to be called in.
Police also clashed with demonstrators seeking to interrupt a separate Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph war memorial at Whitehall in London.
"Officers have prevented those not involved getting onto Whitehall so it can take place without disruption, as we committed. They have faced unacceptable violence, including people throwing missiles and a metal barrier," the department said in a social media post.
Police initially believed the crowd to number more than 300,000 people, while organizers claimed the figure was closer to 800,000, which would make it the second-largest march in British history.
Nearby train and subway stations were jammed following the crowd's dispersal.
Approximately 150 counter-protestors continued to remain near Parliament square, verbally clashing with those who were at the pro-Palestinian march.
"It's being closely monitored by police. And we also have police looking out for any troublemakers that might be intent on causing disruption," Assistant Police Commissioner Matt Twist said in a video posted on social media during the peak of the fray.
Counter-protesters were seen repeating an offensive chant about Allah while one Palestinian flag was stolen and destroyed. Others set off fireworks while standing on top of vehicles.
Their actions drew condemnation from British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
"I condemn the violent, wholly unacceptable scenes we have seen today from the EDL (English Defense League) and associated groups and Hamas sympathizers attending the National March for Palestine," he said in a statement.
"The despicable actions of a minority of people undermine those who have chosen to express their views peacefully."
Sunak said their actions do "not defend the honor of our Armed Forces, but utterly disrespects them," adding, "That is true for EDL thugs attacking police officers and trespassing on the Cenotaph, and it is true for those singing antisemitic chants and brandishing pro-Hamas signs and clothing on today's protest."