‘Dismantle Zionist Settlements’

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POLICE yesterday arrested several protestors who were laying siege to Downing Street, demonstrating against the visit of ‘war criminal’ Binyamin Netanyahu.

They were also demanding the dismantling of all Zionist settlements in occupied Palestine.

More than 300 demonstrators refused to confine their protest at the visit of the Israeli prime minister to the other side of the road from Downing Street.

They surged across Whitehall to protest outside the gates of Downing Street, where they were met by armed police.

For one hour protesters defied police threats of arrest, chanting slogans in front of the cast-iron Downing Street gates.

‘Free, Free Palestine!; Netanyahu – Murderer!; Netanyahu – War Criminal!; 2,4,6,8 – Israel is a Terrorist State!; From the River to the Sea – Intifada Number Three!’.

Then a line of police moved in, forcing protesters across the road, arresting anyone who didn’t get out of their way.

‘The British state is showing its true colours, 100 per cent in support of Israel,’ said artist Giles Pettitt, who had been knocked to the ground by the police.

‘Acting in support of the Netanyahu regime, the police have carried out a brutal attack on a peaceful demonstration,’ he added.

Mahmoud, a Palestinian journalist, said: ‘The visit of Netanyahu shows the level of co-operation between the British government and Israel.’

Ben Studd, an unemployed worker from Merton, south London, said: ‘Britain refuses to negotiate with an elected authority, the Hamas government in Gaza, but will speak on good terms with war criminal Netanyahu.’

At a joint press conference British prime minister Brown said: ‘I made it clear that settlement activity is a barrier to a two-state solution.

‘I am increasingly confident however, there is a genuine will to make progress.

‘If freezing such activity would result in meaningful steps towards normalisation with Arab states then President Obama has my strong support in his efforts to pursue this agenda.’

Addressing Netanyahu, Brown added: ‘I look forward to working as closely as ever with you in the future.’

Netanyahu said: ‘I’m very pleased to be here in Great Britain today with my good friend.’

He told reporters that Jerusalem ‘is the united capital of Israel’ and made clear he would continue to support settlement expansion.

Brown stonewalled questions about the freeing of Libyan prisoner Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.