Thousands of demonstrators are expected to converge on central London tomorrow to demand a ceasefire in Gaza amid growing international anger over Israel’s week-long bombardment.

The singer Annie Lennox, the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, comedian Alexei Sayle, Palestinian solidarity groups, Muslim organisations, the Stop the War Coalition and several MPs are among those backing the midday march from Embankment to Trafalgar Square. Since Israeli air strikes started there have been daily protests outside the Israeli embassy in Kensington, west London, where large numbers have forced the closure of nearby streets. A rally was held outside the Egyptian embassy in Mayfair /today to call for the opening of the Gaza-Egypt border, allowing the delivery of more humanitarian supplies. Other supporters of /tommorrow’s mass protest include the former model Bianca Jagger, Tony Benn, the musician Brian Eno, Respect Party MP George Galloway, Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather, Labour MP Jermy Corbyn and the socialist activist Tariq Ali. Speaking at a press conference ahead of the rally, Jagger appealed to the US president-elect, Barack Obama, to “ask for the immediate cessation of the bombardment of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.” Ken Livingstone condemned the “Israeli kill ratio of 100 to one” as “obscene”. The UK government’s response so far had been completely inadequate, he said. “The only time a British government was even-handed [in the Middle East] was Edward Heath in 1973 … when he refused to let arms shipments through to Israel.” Despite years of courting mainstream Muslim opinion, a rift appeared to be opening up between government departments and certain groups. The Muslim Council of Britain called for a meeting with the Foreign Office but declined to attend the briefing unless it was given by the Foreign Secretary, David Milliband. Owen Bowcott reports.

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