The Metropolitan police appeared to be on the brink of banning Saturday’s planned pro-Palestine march through London after claiming that a protest on Remembrance Day would be inappropriate and risked violence.
Following a discussion between the individuals coordinating the demonstrations and the Metropolitan Police, a statement was released on Monday by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan, asserting that “the potential for violence and chaos from splinter groups is increasing.”
“We are worried about this, especially with a busy weekend approaching in the city,” stated Adelekan. “We want to make it clear to organizers that we urgently urge you to rethink your plans. It is not suitable to have any demonstrations in London this weekend.”
It was reported that the organizers had denied a request to delay the march.
Suella Braverman expressed approval of the Met’s statement on Monday evening. She stated on X, previously known as Twitter, that the hate marchers must realize that British citizens are fed up with their violent and extreme demonstrations.
The protest on Saturday will begin at 12:45pm on November 11th, also known as Remembrance Day. It will start at Marble Arch and end at the US embassy in south-west London, approximately two miles away from the Cenotaph. The following day, formal remembrance events will take place at the Cenotaph.
On Monday, the prime minister’s representative referred to the scheduled event as “provocative” and “disrespectful”.
The protesters have been demanding a truce in the conflict that began last month following Hamas’ attack on Israel, resulting in the deaths of 1,400 individuals and the capture of 200 more. Gaza’s health officials report that thousands of innocent civilians have died as a result of Israel’s military campaign.
The Metropolitan police may request approval from the Secretary of State for a prohibition under Section 13 of the Public Order Act 1986, citing the potential for significant disruption if their requirements are satisfied.
Ben Jamal, the head of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and a main coordinator of the demonstrations that have mobilized hundreds of thousands of individuals in London over the past few weeks, stated that the authorities seem to be facing increasing political influence.
He stated that there are currently no valid reasons for implementing a ban. Previously, it was announced that there would be no presence at the Cenotaph on November 11th. This decision was made because it would be considered inappropriate. The police have not informed us of any ban, but they are facing significant pressure.
On Monday, Jonathan Hall, who reviews terrorism laws independently, expressed worry about banning the march. He believed that freedom of expression should be prioritized and hoped that the protest would be carefully monitored.
On Monday, the spokesperson for the prime minister stated that Rishi Sunak did not view the recent protests as “hate marches,” but did acknowledge that certain protesters used language that was alarming to Jewish communities.
The spokesperson stated that there were incidents of hateful conduct at the marches, resulting in arrests for promoting racial hatred. However, it is still within the law for individuals to peacefully express their opinions.
It is inappropriate and offensive to organize protests during Armistice Day. This could result in the defacement of memorials or the expression of racial animosity, as seen in recent weekend arrests. Such actions would be considered a disrespect to the British community.
Jamal stated that his organization and other involved parties in coordinating the marches would seek legal counsel if a prohibition was enforced. Another discussion is scheduled to take place on Tuesday between the protest organizers and the Metropolitan Police.
In the past, the march has passed through Parliament Square in the heart of London. However, this Saturday, the route has been changed.
Jamal stated that they desired a path that was far from Whitehall, but had a clear political intent. This is why we settled on marching to the US embassy, as it was the most logical choice due to the US government being the main entity responsible for not advocating for a ceasefire in Israel.
“Our government is now equally responsible, but we are aware that our government follows the actions of the US government.”
Akiko Hart, the current leader of Liberty, expressed that in a well-operating government, individuals should have the ability to challenge authority and express their opinions. Restricting protests would be a severe violation of our right to freely communicate and would only exacerbate existing divisions.