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From the Open-Publishing Newswire
2,000 people protest outside Israeli embassy in London, 6 arrested
Around 2,000 people staged a noisy protest outside the Israeli embassy in London on Sunday in response to Israeli air strikes that left hundreds dead in the Gaza Strip.
Police were forced to call in reinforcements after protesters tore down barriers holding them back and hurled projectiles in the direction of the diplomatic mission.
Six people were charged with disturbing public order after police forcibly removed a number of protesters from the gathering in the west of London.
Traffic in the area ground to a halt as the protest swelled from an initial group of 500 Palestinians and other people opposed to the Israeli military action in Gaza.
"Israel is a terrorist state," chanted demonstrators as Palestinian flags were waved. Other protesters held up posters reading "Holocaust in Gaza."
The full text of the foreign secretary's statement on the Gaza attacks
The prime minister and I are following developments in Gaza with grave concern. The rise in rocket attacks on Israel since 19 December, and yesterday's massive loss of life, make this a dangerous moment which should be of concern to the whole of the international community.
The UK supports an urgent ceasefire and immediate halt to all violence. The unanimous UN security council press statement overnight, and the EU's statement yesterday, rightly argue for this position. The deteriorating humanitarian situation is deeply disturbing. The prime minister has spoken to Prime Minister Olmert of Israel. As we made clear yesterday, Israel must abide by its humanitarian obligations. The UK supports the prompt and sufficient delivery of food, fuel and medicine into the Gaza Strip.
I have discussed this unfolding crisis with my counterparts in the region and beyond. There is a clear consensus, which we support, that everything should be done to protect the political space for those leaders committed to peaceful negotiations. I have discussed with Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit his plans to convene a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers. This is an important opportunity for Arab leaders to make clear that the interests of the Palestinian people can only be secured through a viable Palestinian state existing alongside a secure Israel. We must renew our collective effort to achieve this goal in 2009.