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Violent clashes near Israeli embassy

world Updated: Jan 11, 2009 12:35 IST

PTI
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Violent clashes broke out near the Israeli embassy in London when thousands of demonstrators staged a rally demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, leading to arrest of 15 protesters.

Helmeted riot police with batons and shields charged a group of demonstrators, who hurled sticks, shoes and traffic cones back at them while chanting "Free Palestine" on Saturday. Protesters tried to force their entry to the north gate of Kensington's Palace Gardens and six climbed an adjoining wall, setting fire to an American flag. The windows of a Starbucks opposite the embassy were smashed. Some protesters also attempted to throw barriers and other missiles at police.

The violence started when police tried to move protesters away from the gates of the Israeli embassy. One police officer was knocked unconscious and two more were injured.

Fifteen protesters were also arrested, media reports said.

Many people were pleading with police to allow them out of the cordon as they were trapped between two lines of officers.

There were running skirmishes between the officers and groups of young men, each time prompting a further charge from police and sending the crowd running screaming in the opposite direction.

In Edinburgh, three police officers suffered minor injuries.