Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in London on Saturday to call for a ceasefire and urge the Government to stop all arms sales to Israel.

Protesters marched from Russell Square to Parliament Square where speakers led chants of “free Palestine” and addressed crowds of people waving Palestinian flags and holding signs calling for a “ceasefire now” and an end to arms sales.

One man was arrested for making cut-throat gestures towards protesters at a significantly smaller pro-Israel counter-demonstration at Aldwych, the Metropolitan Police said.

A further eight people were arrested for public order offences during the protest and the counter-protest, Scotland yard said.

Israel-Hamas conflict
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which organised the Pro-Palestinian protest, said some 80,000 people attended the march (Jeff Moore/PA)

The counter-protesters exchanged chants with the larger pro-Palestinian march as it passed by, calling for a release of hostages held by Hamas.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which organised the Pro-Palestinian protest, said some 80,000 people attended the march.

The Met said they deployed nearly 1,000 officers to police the events, which also included a demonstration held at the Cenotaph by right-wing group Turning Point UK.

Parliament Square speakers included pro-Palestinian activists, journalists and Jeremy Corbyn, who said he rejected the idea that calls for an immediate ceasefire were “dangerous and unrealistic”.

The former Labour leader said: “What’s dangerous and unrealistic is to kill tens of thousands of Palestinians and say that it’s done in self-defence.”

“The International Court of Justice, the world court if you will, said that there were acts of genocide that had to be stopped,” the Islington North MP added.

Israel-Hamas conflict
A significantly smaller pro-Israel counter-demonstration also took place at Aldwych (Jeff Moore/PA)

“That’s what the interim judgement said.”

Describing conversations about Israel in Parliament as “deeply cynical”, he said the “attitude has changed” over the past few weeks.

Israeli strikes on Gaza have left more than 30,000 Palestinians dead, according to the area’s Hamas-run health ministry.

Mr Corbyn joined many other speakers in calling for the UK to cease arms sales to Israel and said there should be an immediate ceasefire.

Another speaker led the crowd in a chant of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”.

The Met said their officers also policed five football matches in addition to the three protests.

Deputy assistant commissioner Ade Adelekan, who lead the policing operation, said: “We recognise the conflict between Israel and Hamas is continuing to be an issue of concern for many Londoners.”

He added the force would police “without fear or favour” and take action against criminal behaviour to ensure “disruption to Londoners is minimised”.