Organisers of the pro-Palestine marches that have drawn hundreds of thousands of people to London’s streets have planned smaller action in villages, towns and cities rather than holding a national march in the capital this Saturday.
More than 100 pro-Palestine events demanding a ceasefire in Gaza are due to take place across the UK.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend vigils, protests, petitions, fundraisers and marches across London boroughs and cities including Birmingham, Cambridge, Liverpool and elsewhere on Saturday, according to organisers.
Ben Jamal, the director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said the rallies were organised to show that “ordinary people” support a ceasefire.
“This Saturday, ordinary people across the UK will come out again to show the vast majority of them support a ceasefire,” said Ben Jamal, the director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), a lead organiser of the march.
“They will show their solidarity with Palestinians who are suffering unimaginable harm. They will also demand the root causes are not forgotten: Israel’s decades-long military occupation of Palestinian territories and its system of apartheid against Palestinians.”
A spokeswoman for organisers Stop The War Coalition said the rallies come ahead of a national demonstration planned for the following Saturday.
“Groups around the country are organising local rallies and marches to basically build for the national demonstration that has been called for next Saturday,” she said.
“I think most of them have speakers from various organisations that are involved in the main marches, and then trade unionists,” she said.
“Some of them have trade unionists as speakers, and some of them are marching, like the one in Highbury.”
The Metropolitan police said a “significant” policing operation was planned for the capital this weekend.
They said they would target deployments in areas “with significant Jewish or Muslim communities”, which they said “continue to experience increased uncertainty and fear in light of events in the Middle East and their impact here in London”.
Temporary Commander Karen Findlay, who is leading the operation, said: “Whilst there is no single large central protest event on Saturday, our policing priorities remain the same across the local events that are due to take place.
“We are here to ensure that people can exercise their right to protest but to make sure that is done lawfully, and that unreasonable disruption to the lives of other Londoners is kept to a minimum.
“Our officers will intervene swiftly where they see offences taking place. In particular, I want to reiterate that there is no place for hate in London. Hate crime will not be tolerated.
“Regrettably, while the majority of protesters coming out in recent weeks have been peaceful, we have continued to see people taking part in offensive chanting or intentionally carrying placards that cross the line from political statements into racially or religiously aggravated offences.”
The latest action comes a week after hundreds of thousands of people marched through central London without major incident. The prime minister and former home secretary had insisted the march should be banned.
The national march, organised by PSC alongside Stop the War, the Muslim Association of Britain, Friends of Al-Aqsa and others, will resume in London on 25 November, with organisers saying they will continue until there is a ceasefire.