Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Six arrested over embassy protest


Six held over embassy protest

Six men suspected of violent disorder during a series of demonstrations outside the Israeli embassy in central London have been arrested during raids.

The arrests follow protests in Kensington in December and January against Israeli action in Gaza.

Some protesters attacked police and tried to raid the Israeli embassy.

BBC News has learned that one of the men, an 18-year-old, was arrested at the west London home of jailed extremist preacher Abu Hamza.

The Metropolitan Police said the arrests were the first phase of a long-running operation to identify 40 people believed to be involved in the clashes.

'Hardcore antagonists'

The arrests concern the demonstrations on 3 and 10 January.

Police have also released images of three of the men they want to find in connection with the demonstrations.

Police chief on embassy arrests

"What happened during these demonstrations in January and what our officers and those shop keepers were subjected to was not and cannot be described as lawful protest," said Ch Supt Ian Thomas.

"A small minority of people set out that day not to air their views but to fight police and cause damage.

"I have no doubt that a small hardcore acted as antagonists during the demonstrations stirring up the crowd."

Abu Hamza, who was born in Egypt and is married with seven children, is serving a seven-year prison sentence for inciting murder and racial hatred.

He is also facing extradition to the United States on terrorism charges.

Residents who live near his home in Shepherd's Bush said armed officers raided the house at 0500 GMT and they were handed leaflets explaining the police action.

During the January demonstrations, at least 55 police officers received minor injuries and one police officer was knocked unconscious when he was hit with a metal object.

The six suspects are aged between 17 and 26 years old and are from west and north-west London.

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Harrow Times Kingsbury men arrested over Gaza violence - 37 hrs ago
Haaretz 6 arrested over violent London protests against Israel's Gaza offensive - 40 hrs ago
Leitrim Observer Six arrested over Israeli Embassy protests - 41 hrs ago

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