Thousands march through London over Gaza crisis

Gaza protest Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Protesters marched through Whitehall on their way to Israeli embassy

Thousands of people have marched through central London to call for an end to Israel's ground campaign and air strikes in Gaza.

Protesters marched from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy in Kensington. A police blockade stopped them from gaining access.

Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly and Hyde Park Corner were closed.

More than 300 Palestinians have been killed since 8 July, officials in Gaza report. Five Israelis have died.

Before the event up to 15,000 people were expected to attend. However, the police were not able to verify how many were there.

The event was organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and is part of a national day of action.

Labour MP Diane Abbott was among the speakers to address protesters as they gathered in Whitehall.

"I am here to show solidarity with the people in Gaza," she said.

"We call for an end to the occupation and justice for Palestinians."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Some laid down as part of the demonstration

Organisers repeatedly told the crowds to spread out during the speeches over fears people were being crushed.

Two children were pulled over a barrier close to the stage and one organiser said 10 people had fainted in the crowd.

Israel launched ground operations in Gaza following 10 days of air strikes, which failed to stop Hamas firing rockets across the border.

It says the ground operation is necessary to target a Hamas tunnel network, which the Israel military could not do only from the air.

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