Jihad Watch reader J. has kindly sent in these photos and this disquieting report:
Tonight I attended and photographed two rallies in front of the Israeli embassy – one of Israel’s supporters and one against. I was deeply moved by what I saw from one side, and sickened from the other. The rally held on the Israeli side was to speak out against Hamas and to support peace for Israel and the Palestinians.
I arrived early (before anyone else supporting Israel) and was met by a crowd of very angry people – many of whom were waving Hizballah flags. When the first few Israeli supporters arrived – one young man started waving the Israeli flag – the anti Israel
crowd became so enraged that they tried to jump over police barricades and were standing on top of each other trying to reach over. A police officer actually had to come and ask the young man to put the Israeli flag down, because the other side was trying to push through the barricades (apparently the flag was riling them up!) and they needed to set up an additional barricade and bring over more officers. (Just to
be clear, I was standing next to the guy when this happened and the police did not want to ask him to put the flag down – they really needed a minute to get some more officers there). Soon they erected another barrier, brought more officers, and the flag was waving again (and many more with it!).
Shortly thereafter, a large group of Israel supporters arrived under a heavy police escort. The rest of the night was much of what you would expect – several people (from the anti Israel side) had to be taken away by police after breaking through the barrier or pulling other antics (I didn’t see every incident but saw them all getting the escort out). I was following taking some photos (at this point I wasn’t even inside the
pro Israeli barricades – I was with a bunch of photographers) and two men started thrusting the Hizballah flag in my face and shouting, “You watch your back, Nasrallah is coming for you – the world will see – Nasrallah is coming to take you all.” There were definitely journalists recording this when it happened, but I don’t know if it will come out anywhere. Of course, once they saw my camera they continued and were very ‘proud’: “Yes, that’s right, Nasrallah is coming for you!” These two were then escorted away by police.
At the end of the night when police were dispersing the crowd, a large group of anti-Israel protesters actually sat down on the road refusing to leave. This turned into a bit of a kerfuffle but eventually the police formed a barricade lining the entire street and forced them to leave – beginning a long walk down the street behind them. An officer approached me and said he didn’t think it was safe for me to ‘mix in’ with the crowd at this point so I held back. After waiting for about 15 minutes I saw a group of Jewish pro-Israel supporters being escorted out by agents (for safety reasons) so I joined up with them. Once the security agents felt we were ‘in the clear’, they headed back to the embassy. We, however, did not get far before we were almost smack behind the large group being moved away by police – at this point we could see
at least 4 “anti” protesters who had been pulled aside and were being held by police (in different places). Although no one threatened us, a few people did walk by and say things (nothing anti-Semitic, just behaving like general idiots), and soon we were in the middle of about 20 police officers who did not want us walking alone. At this point we all decided to err on the side of extreme caution, skipped the tube and took cabs home.