Gaza protests in London cost Met police £40 million as more than 300 arrested


The cost of policing pro-Palestinian and Israeli protests in the capital has reached north of £40million, it was revealed on Wednesday.

Demonstrations in London are now costing the Metropolitan police an average £6million a month, figures released this week show.

Between October and March the force spent about £36million on overseeing the marches, which have seen hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets of the city over the situation in the Middle East.

Some £6.1million was spent on officer overtime alone in the six months after the war broke out, in what the Met has dubbed “Operation Brock”.

More than 300 people have been arrested since the large scale demonstrations began following Hamas attacks in Israel on October 7 and the ensuing war in Gaza.

But just 51 people were charged with a crime between October and March, according to figures released by the Met this week.

The vast majority have been bailed or released without any further action being taken.

November saw the largest number of arrests. Around 300,000 people converged on the capital for a pro-Palestine march on November 11, while police clashed with far-Right counter protesters who had gathered at the Cenotaph in Whitehall in a self-declared bid to “protect Armistice Day”.

Police were forced to push back the crowds with batons.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned far-Right “thugs” and “Hamas sympathisers” after the day of violence saw over 100 arrests.

The Met said most protests “have taken place without any notable disorder” and arrests were made by “officers responding to fast time and evolving situations in order to keep everyone safe”.

"In the majority of cases, officers continue to develop their investigations after the event, trawling through CCTV, body worn camera images, gathering more information and speaking to witnesses,” the force said.

"In the case of arrests made for breach of the peace, once the threat of a breach of the peace has passed, in law the person is released and that is shown as ‘no further action’."

The next large protest in London is due to take place on Saturday, May 18, starting outside the BBC's offices before marching to Whitehall.

It comes as pro-Palestinian university encampments seen in the US spread to Britain.

At Goldsmiths University in London students stormed the library and occupied the first two floors last week.

Pupils and staff at Oxford and Cambridge universities have also begun protest camps against the war in Gaza. They are demanding that universities sever ties with Israel over the war.

Today students at Goldsmiths have set up a “resistance assembly” where students will be able to hear from those who have organised sit-ins in Britain, the US and France.

The newly-formed coalitions Oxford Action for Palestine and Cambridge for Palestine said in a joint statement: "From Columbia to UCLA, from Trinity College to Sciences Po, from Newcastle to Goldsmiths, over 100 universities across the globe have now taken bold and urgent action for Palestine.

“As members of these institutions, we refuse to accept our universities' complicity in Israel's war crimes against the Palestinian people – and we refuse to stand by while they justify Israel's campaign of mass slaughter, starvation, and displacement.”

Israel has rejected accusations that it is engaging in genocidal acts in Gaza and is attempting to route out terrorists in the Strip.

The Israeli government has insisted it has the right to defend itself following the October 7 terror attack in which 1,200 and hundreds more were taken hostage.

The Union of Jewish Students has said encampments are creating a "hostile and toxic atmosphere" on campuses and called on universities to "take their duty of care to Jewish students seriously".