Extremists from the Islamic far right and from the communist far left once again joined together in a protest that ended in violence. Both sides united by their racist views and an immense hatred of Jews and Israel took to the streets to support the terrorist state of Palestine.
Chairs and tables are thrown and restaurant diners flee as trouble flares during Gaza protest in Cardiff
Police say they made two arrests for public order and assault offences after violence erupted in popular Mill Lane
Trouble flared at a march in Cardiff as hundreds turned up to protest against the ongoing violence in Gaza.
In ugly scenes, as protesters passed the city’s Mill Lane – popular with diners and drinkers – chairs and tables were thrown at them by people drinking outside in the bars.
Witnesses saw chairs and tables being thrown into crowds as the protest passed by.
Placards were also apparently used as weapons as anger erupted on the busy street, which is packed with bars and restaurants.
Videos posted on YouTube and Facebook showed men throwing chairs into the crowd.
South Wales Police said around 1,500 people took part in the march while the disorder broke out on Mill Lane and St Mary Street in two separate incidents.
A 22-year-old man, from Caerphilly, was arrested for assault and a 33-year-old man, from Pontypridd, was arrested for affray.
Police said neither of the men were from the rally group.
Both men have been bailed pending further enquiries and police are speaking with witnesses and examining footage from the event.
Chief Inspector Dan Howe said: “The police were there to ensure the safety of everyone involved and the vast majority of people behaved in a calm and sensible way, however extra officers attended to provide reassurance to the community.
“Unfortunately not all of those in Cardiff yesterday afternoon were well-behaved and violence broke out with a small minority which disrupted an otherwise peaceful demonstration.
“Disruption was kept to a minimum and the rally went on to conclude peacefully and we are grateful for the support we received from the local community.”
Newport councillor Majid Rahman said the marchers heard confrontational chanting as they made their way past Walkabout on St Mary Street before violence erupted on Mill Lane.
“A lot of marchers were injured but because there was no police presence, the people who hurled glasses, tables and chairs got away with it,” he told BBC Wales.
“South Wales Police were poor – it was a lack of presence.
“When I got back to City Hall, I saw two police officers then a van of police officers turned up, but by then it was too late because we were back safe at City Hall.
“The response was inadequate, it was poor and they need to answer for this.”
South Wales Police defended the way it handled the march.
Chief Inspector Dan Howe said: “This was an alarming and violent incident. It was, however, an isolated occurrence.
“While a protest in the previous week drew smaller numbers, and passed without incident, Saturday saw a larger scale event which also coincided with a busy Saturday afternoon in the city.
“Officers in Cardiff police this scale of event regularly and the violence that occurred is an exceptional occurrence, but one that needs to be examined.”
The force said they are reviewing the events and that a “robust investigation” was under way into how the “violent events” arose.
Marchers unconnected with the violent scenes told why they were there.
Tariq Mohamed, 36, from Barry, said he was marching to show his solidarity with the people of Palestine.
He said: “We need to protect the innocent people who are being killed every day. It’s not about race or religion. It’s all down to the Government. They need to do something. They need to stop the oppressor and protect the oppressed. That is what today is all about.”
Israel’s incursion into Gaza has killed more than 1,000 Palestinians, including at least 192 children.
Efforts by international powers to broker a complete end to the violence have so far proved fruitless, with Israel’s defense minister warning Israel may soon “significantly” expand the ground operation in Gaza.
Kimberley Chambers, from Cardiff, said she was protesting against the “obliteration” of Palestinians.
The 29-year-old said: “Every time I watch the news all I hear about is the Israelis who have been killed. They are the ones who are being given millions of pounds to slaughter Palestinians. It’s an unfair war. It’s not right. There needs to be more awareness. That’s why I am here.”
Project manager Shamim Rahman, 42, came from Newport to participate in the march.
He said: “It is very bad now. It is so sad for humans to do that to each other. Young children and women are being killed for no reason. It must stop.”
Unite, the biggest union in the UK, has branded the killing of young people as “deplorable”.
A statement of solidarity with the Palestinians stated the retaliation from Israeli settlers and the Israeli authorities was “utterly disproportionate and unjustified.”
Further events against Israel’s military operation in Gaza were underway in other towns and cities across the UK yesterday including Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Newcastle. Over 45,000 people gathered to protest in London.
Anyone who was in the vicinity of Mill Lane or the Retro Lounge in Cardiff on Sunday afternoon and witnessed the incident or has any information in connection to it, is asked to call South Wales Police on 101 quoting reference number 1400271933.
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