Pro-Palestine activists caused chaos in central London on Thursday morning after police officers appeared to tussle with praying activists at St Pancras during rush hour and the Foreign Office and a UK weapons firm were smeared with red paint.
A group of Jewish people gathered at the station to pray for the people of Gaza before videos appear to show British Transport Police officers attempting to break them up and take their speeches.
A small scuffle broke out with clips suggesting around half a dozen officers were involved, before the situation was de-escalated by them walking away from the group.
Signs held by those in the group included ‘Stop bombing Gaza. Not in our name’ and ‘Jews say ceasefire now’, as dozens of people chanted: ‘Let us pray, let us pray.’
It came after pro-Palestinian activists smeared red paint over the Foreign Office and a British aerospace firm this morning as it claimed the company has supplied Israel with fighter jets.
A small number of protesters appeared to have a brief tussle with officers from the British Transport Police
Officers were seen speaking with those who attended the St Pancras protest
As British Transport Police officers began speaking with those gathered at the station, the group began chanting ‘We can’t hear you’ and ‘let us pray’.
One attendee shared a video to X and said: ‘Police are attempting to arrest Jews in prayer. We shout ‘let us pray’ for Palestine. The police have confiscated copies of our speeches.’
Others said the atmosphere was ‘pretty emotionally charged’. Flags, banners and posters were all seen being held by those present.
A spokesperson for the British Transport Police said: ‘Just after 8am today (2 November), our officers attended a sit-in protest at St Pancras railway station.
‘The group were reported to be peaceful and there were no reports of disorder. There was no impact on the station services and by 8.45am the group had moved on.
‘Anyone wishing to make a report related to this incident can text 61016 or call 0800 40 50 40 with reference 116 of 2 November 2023.’
Separately, video footage shared by Palestine Action, which describes itself as ‘the direct action network dismantling British complicity with Israeli apartheid’ showed a protester spraying messages calling for an end to conflict in the Middle East at firm Leonardo’s HQ.
Police officers have arrested one person on suspicion of criminal damage and remain at the scene, where they are ‘seeking to arrest’ another who could be heard chanting ‘Stop the arms trade, end the struggle, free, free Palestine’ from the building’s canopy.
Many of those attending the protest had flags and signs with slogans calling for an end to the conflict
Two police officers detain a pro-Palestine protester outside Leonardo HQ on Thursday
Security guards monitor the entrance to Leonardo after protesters targeted it with red paint
The writing on the walls of the building accused the company of being ‘baby killers’
The Eagle Place building has been daubed with messages included ‘free Palestine’ and ‘terrorists’.
Leonardo says it is one of the Ministry of Defence’s biggest suppliers of defence and security equipment.
A video from the scene showed a man wearing a balaclava on top of the building’s entrance holding a red smoke flare. He shouted that the UK government is ‘complicit in genocide.’
Other messages daubed on the walls accused Leonardo of being ‘baby killers’.
The group added online: ‘Leonardo supplies Israel with Apache Helicopters and parts for their F-35 fighter jets, used to bombard Gaza.’
Activists also targeted the Foreign Office, daubing red paint across the building’s entrance and writing ‘blood’.
After one arrest was made by police officers, a second activist remained on the roof of Leonardo HQ
The activists unfurled banners at the address in central London as they targeted the building in the early hours of the morning
A post on X, formerly Twitter, from the group said: ‘Actionists spray the Foreign Office in London, 106 years after Britain signed away the land of Palestine to the zionist colonial project.
‘Since then, Britain continues to arm apartheid Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. BRITAIN IS GUILTY!’
A spokesperson for the Met Police said: ‘A man is in police custody after he was arrested by officers on suspicion of criminal damage following a protest in Eagle Place, Piccadilly.
‘One other person is currently on the canopy above the entrance to the building.
‘Officers are dealing with this man and once he is down safely will seek to arrest him for any offences.’
A photograph shared by the force showed a person with their face covered standing on top of the entrance to the building. The slogan ‘free Gaza’ had been written behind them.
As of 11.45am, Palestine Action said its protester was still on the building’s roof.
In a post on social media, Palestine Action said: ‘Palestine Action occupy and spray weapons firm Leonardo’s London HQ, suppliers of weaponry for Israel’s fighter jets.
‘106 years ago today, Britain signed away the land of Palestine. It’s now up to the people to end the ongoing complicity in genocide!’
The activists protested on the 106th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, a controversial statement issued by the British government in 1917 in which is supported a ‘national home for the Jewish people’ within Palestine.
The declaration is named after Arthur James Balfour, the then-British Foreign Secretary.
One of the slogans daubed on the wall of the Foreign Office reads: ‘F*** Balfour.’
MailOnline has contacted the Foreign Office for comment.