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Thousands rally in London against Israeli 'barbarity'

Thousands of demonstrators rallied in London to protest against Israel's assault in the Gaza Strip, highlighting the numbers of Palestinian women and children killed in the conflict.

world Updated: Jan 18, 2009 00:20 IST

Thousands of demonstrators on Saturday rallied in London to protest against Israel's assault in the Gaza Strip, highlighting the numbers of Palestinian women and children killed in the conflict.

Carrying placards reading "Gaza: stop the massacre" and "End Israeli occupation and the siege of Gaza", around 3,500 people according to police rallied in Trafalgar Square for a protest billed as a "demonstration against Israel's barbarity and war crimes".

The crowd was addressed by lawmakers, trade union figures and campaign groups.

Veteran socialist Tony Benn, a Cabinet member in the 1960s and 1970s, called for Britain to kick out the Israeli ambassador and withdraw its top diplomat in Tel Aviv.

"We must negotiate with Hamas, now," the 83-year-old said.

No early arrests were made.

The demonstration assembled earlier outside the BBC's Broadcasting House building in central London.

Organisers Stop the War Coalition said this was in response to "the BBC's largely one-sided coverage of the Gaza massacre, allowing Israeli spokespeople endless opportunities to propagate lies and deception without challenge."

Later, seven women, including lawmaker Diane Abbott, delivered a letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Downing Street office, urging the government to do more to help secure a ceasefire.