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LONDON (Reuters) – Some 300 demonstrators waving flags and “Free Palestine” banners staged a noisy protest in central London on Wednesday against the two-day visit to Britain this week of Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu.

Minor scuffles with police broke out as they surged into the main road outside the Downing Street residence of British Prime Minister David Cameron who will hold talks with Netanyahu on Thursday morning.

Already 107,000 people in Britain have signed an online petition for Netanyahu’s arrest after last year’s fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

“We’re here because we feel that Netanyahu should pay for his war crimes,” said 21-year-old student Marion Tehami. “We’re here to protest and let him know that he’s not welcome in our country.”

A short distance away in a separate cordoned off area, about 50 pro-Israel demonstrators waved the Israeli flag.

Britain says visiting heads of state have immunity from legal process and thus cannot be arrested.

In a statement, the government said on Tuesday: “We recognize that the conflict in Gaza last year took a terrible toll.

“However the prime minister was clear on the UK’s recognition of Israel’s right to take proportionate action to defend itself, within the boundaries of international humanitarian law.”

More than 500 children were among the 2,100 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, who were killed in last year’s conflict. Seventy-three Israelis, almost all soldiers, were killed.

(Reporting by Sarah Young, writing by Stephen Addison; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

File photo: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem August 16, 2015. REUTERS/Abir Sultan/Pool 

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Doug Mastriano

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Doug Mastriano is a QAnon conspiracy theorist and January 6 insurrectionist who this week won the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania governor. Mastriano is also anti-Muslim: He previously shared an image with the words, “Stop Islam” and a post claiming that “the American People have a right to be fearful of the prospect of a large number of muslims being elected to congress, specifically if they practice Sharia law.”

In addition to running for governor, Mastriano is a Pennsylvania state senator, a right-wing commentator, and a frequent guest in right-wing media. He regularly pushes lies about the 2020 election being stolen from former President Donald Trump.

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