PALESTINIANS and their supporters are planning a week-long series of protests in London ending in a Trafalgar Square rally of up to 5,000 demonstrators, the Standard can reveal.
Riot police have been placed on standby after about 1,000 protesters besieged the Israeli Embassy in Kensington for the second day of angry and heated demonstrations.
Seven people were arrested for public order offences, including assault on a police officer, after violence flared when a group of men attempted to scale the embassy gates on Palace Green.
Fireworks, sticks and smoke bombs were hurled at officers guarding the building and one policeman's helmet was set alight to loud cheers from the crowd.
The largely peaceful demonstration flared when protesters kicked down safety barriers after the police tried to hold them back from storming the embassy.
Holding placards, waving Palestinian flags and chanting "Free, free Palestine", the rally attracted Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and anti-war groups as well as nine rabbis from the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.
Nahla Fareed, 22, a masters finance student from Saudi Arabia who lives in Kensington, claimed she was assaulted by a police officer as he tried to disperse the crowd.
She said: "I asked for a policeman's help to get out because I didn't want to be in the crowd. It was out of control and I was scared. He started hitting me and pushing me when I said I didn't want to be there. I also saw four policemen hitting and kicking one man on the ground as they were arresting him. The protest was supposed to be about peace."
Kensington High Street was brought to a standstill for more than five hours, disrupting traffic and hitting businesses again after Sunday's demonstration, which drew more than 2,000 people and led to a dozen arrests.
Mounted police were brought in to force the crowd away last night with around 150 hard-core protesters penned into Earl's Court Road where they were eventually released at about 8pm.
Central London could become gridlocked on Saturday with thousands of protesters from across Britain set to descend on Trafalgar Square to call for an end to the Israeli military strikes in Gaza.
Sabah Jawad, of the Stop the War Coalition, said supporters would continue to picket the Israeli Embassy every day this week until Friday, when attention would shift to the Egyptian Embassy in Mayfair, in response to its government's "collusion" with Israel.
Mr Jawad said: "There is a sense of anger and injustice that is mobilising people to demonstrate. It is not just Arabs or Muslims, but large sections of the British public, who want to call upon Israel to stop the bombing.
"There is a lot of emotion, but most people have been very peaceful. The Israelis and the British government have to see how strongly people feel. People are also concerned about Egypt's support of the Israeli government. We will keep on protesting for as long it takes."
Ishmail Patel, chairman of Palestinian group Friends of Al-Aqsa, said the campaign's intention is to force the British government to intervene. He said: "Britain is a pivotal player with the ability to put pressure on the Israeli government to stop the killing of innocent civilians. Hopefully these protests should make an impact on the British government that not enough is being done to stop the bloodshed."
Among the crowds in Kensington were several Jewish groups voicing their anger at the Israeli government. Rabbi Eleazer Hochhauser, said: "We have come to show our solidarity with the Palestinian people. What the government of Israel is doing is completely wrong. This is not a religious conflict between Jews and Muslims. The biggest traitors against the Jews are the atheist Zionists who occupied a country which they had no right to do."
Retired railway inspector, Jim Currin, 60, from Pimlico, attended the demonstration in a "show of solidarity" with the Palestinians.
He said: "I believe in freedom for Palestine as I do for my country, Ireland. It is important that we come here and demonstrate peacefully and lawfully. We can affect policy in a democracy and I would like to see the EU impose sanctions against Israel."
Adam Shaw, 24, from Ladbroke Grove, a graduate trainee at City law firm Clifford Chance, said: "I've taken a week off work so I can be here. It's important to make our voice heard because the West is paying for Israel to massacre innocent people in Palestine and we want Gordon Brown to say it has to stop.
"This is going to go on all week. If the Israeli embassy thinks it can carry on business as usual they are wrong because we will be back tomorrow and the next day until the killing ends."
Jawad Samad, 25, a management consultant from west London, said: "I respect Israel's right to defend itself but their response has been disproportionate. Hundreds of people have died and there's no evidence it is reducing rocket attacks. Israel are trying to break the spirit of the people of Gaza, but it's only going to strengthen support for Hamas."
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