Pro-Palestinian protesters have taken to central London, disrupting Christmas shoppers as they urged them to boycott “pro-Israel” brands.
Hundreds of demonstrators marched from Soho Square, along Oxford Street, Regent Street and into Carnaby Street, where they gathered outside the Puma store, with some chanting: “Shut it down.”
The sports company, which sponsors the Israeli national football team, was included on a list of brands to boycott on leaflets being handed out.
Two branches of fashion giant Zara were also targeted, with protesters heard chanting: “Zara, Zara, you can’t hide, stop supporting genocide.”
Earlier this month, Zara pulled an ad following complaints that it contained pictures resembling images from the Israel-Hamas war.
Both stores, which were guarded by security, closed their doors.
Police said no arrests were made during the protest, which was organised by direct action group Sisters Uncut, which campaigns against gender-based violence.
The protest began in Soho Square, where demonstrators chanted “free Palestine”, waved Palestinian flags, played music and let off coloured smoke.
The crowd of close to 400 protesters left Soho Square shrouded in a haze of green and white flare smoke, writes Sky’s Emma Birchley.
As they headed on to Oxford Street, security at the Zara store locked the doors just in case.
“While you’re shopping, bombs are dropping” they chanted as well as “ceasefire now” and “free, free Palestine”.
The aim was to cause disruption and they succeeded.
Traffic ground to a halt as the marchers made their way to Regent Street, with other stores locking up as they passed.
A key target was the Puma store in Carnaby Street.
The sportswear brand sponsors the Israeli national football team and against a backdrop of neon street decorations, protesters blocked the entrance to the shop, chanting and waving flags.
Leaflets distributed by the group said: “No Christmas as usual in a genocide. The UK is complicit.
“Don’t fund genocide in Palestine. Boycott Israel.”
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Israel says it will continue campaign against Hamas despite a UN resolution passed on Friday evening.
The marchers later brought traffic to a standstill as they walked down Oxford Street.
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “The protest was a pre-planned event by Sisters Uncut – yes, we have a policing presence there.
“The march has now moved from Oxford Street and it is fully open. There have been no arrests.”
Written by: Newsroom