Police were called to a rowdy council meeting after a group of pro-Palestine protesters who had been corralled into a side room next door started loud chanting.

About 20 demonstrators gathered at City Hall last night, where a full meeting of Norwich City Council was due to take place.

The group draped flags and banners across the hall steps calling for a ceasefire in the conflict in Palestine.

Just before the meeting started, they moved inside hoping to watch proceedings from the public gallery.

However, the council chamber was full so instead they were put in a side room to watch a live stream, with security guards on hand in case of a disturbance.

Eastern Daily Press: Palestinian flags draped across the steps of City Hall by protestorsPalestinian flags draped across the steps of City Hall by protestors (Image: Owen Sennitt)

During one part of the meeting, where the public were able to ask questions, Safiya Waley asked from the gallery whether the council would consider twinning with a city in Palestine as a show of solidarity and an act to "recognise the UK's historic and ongoing involvement in the conflict".

Mike Stonard, leader of the Labour-controlled authority, said it was "not the right time" to consider this idea and that the council's priority was to promote community cohesion in the city.

Eastern Daily Press: Mike Stonard, leader of Norwich City CouncilMike Stonard, leader of Norwich City Council (Image: Denise Bradley)

Efforts to further debate the issue by members of the public were dismissed and Mr Stonard said it was "dangerous and divisive" to suggest the council was in tacit support of the conflict.

Loud chants of "shame on you" could be heard emanating from the side room where the other protestors were being kept.

Shortly after 8pm, Norfolk Police were called by council staff.

But the group had peacefully dispersed by the time officers arrived.

One of the organisers said: "We were shocked to be forbidden from entering the chamber and effectively kettled in a side room with extra security.

"It is deeply concerning the council leadership is choosing to silence the democratic voice of its Palestinian community."

Eastern Daily Press: Norwich City HallNorwich City Hall (Image: Newsquest)

But Mr Stonard defended the council's actions and said the suggestion the protestors had been 'kettled' was "preposterous". 

"The council chamber was full so protesters were offered the option of watching the meeting on large screens in the largest meeting room.

"To suggest that they were kettled is preposterous and disingenuous.

"A member of the public asked a question about twinning with a Palestinian city, which I answered."