LONDON: About 20,000 people rallied in London’s Trafalgar Square on Sunday (Oct 22) to demand the release of more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas during their Oct 7 incursion from Gaza into Israel in which 1,400 Israelis were killed.
Waving the blue and white Israeli flag adorned with the Star of David, several participants wept as the names of hostages were read out to the crowd.
Ayelet Svtizky described how Hamas had entered her mother’s home as she was speaking on the phone to her.
“A few minutes later, Hamas sent me two pictures of my mum and my brother sitting in my mum’s living room,” she said. “The third picture they uploaded to my mum’s Facebook story with a Hamas gunman in the background. And that’s the last I heard of them.
“My message is these atrocities should never be forgotten,” she said. “The hostages should be brought home now.”
The rally followed a pro-Palestinian demonstration on Saturday in which an estimated 100,000 people marched through the centre of London.
London’s Metropolitan Police said two people had been arrested for shouting abuse towards those taking part in Sunday’s vigil.
A total of 4,741 Palestinians have been killed and 15,898 wounded in Israeli bomb and rocket attacks on Gaza since the incursion, with over a million of the densely populated enclave’s 2.3 million people displaced.