Will the Armistice Day pro-Palestine march go ahead? Everything we know

Will the Armistice Day pro-Palestine march go ahead? Everything we know

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People at a rally in Trafalgar Square, London, during Stop the War coalition's call for a Palestine ceasefire. Picture date: Saturday November 4, 2023.

Pro-Palestine protesters at a rally in Trafalgar Square, London, on Saturday. (PA Images) (Victoria Jones, PA Images)

A planned pro-Palestine march in central London on Armistice Day could be banned.

The Metropolitan Police says it is considering a ban on the march this Remembrance Day weekend.

The march’s organisers have claimed their protest on Saturday will avoid the Cenotaph in Whitehall, but prime minister Rishi Sunak said there is a risk that war memorials could be “desecrated”, branding the march “provocative and disrespectful”.

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The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says Israeli bombings have killed more than 9,700 people in the Strip in the weeks that have followed.

Armistice Day on 11 November marks the date when World War One ended, at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

The Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, which is usually attended by members of the royal family, will take place on Saturday, with a two-minute silence observed at 11am.

Remembrance Sunday will take place the following day with events at the Cenotaph in Westminster.

Yahoo News UK explores why the planned pro-Palestinian march on Armistice Day is so controversial.

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What is the latest?

The Metropolitan Police are considering whether to ban the pro-Palestinian march in London planned for Armistice Day.

Under Section 13 of the Public Order Act 1986, a procession may be banned when there is a risk of serious disorder, if the police seek approval for the move and it is granted by the home secretary.

Metropolitan Police commander Karen Findlay said: “We fully appreciate the national significance of Armistice Day.

“Thousands of officers will be deployed in an extensive security operation and we will use all powers and tactics at our disposal to ensure that anyone intent on disrupting it will not succeed.”

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London, UK. 04th Nov, 2023. After the Protest at Trafalgar, multiple protestors did a sit down at Charing Cross Station forcing the force to block the station and arrest a handful of protestors. It led to multiple people blocking and police van and being pushed around in attempts to stop the van from taking one of the arrested protestors. London, United Kingson, 05/11/2023 Ehimetalor Unuabona/Alamy Live News Credit: Ehimetalor Unuabona/Alamy Live News

Metropolitan Police officers amid pro-Palestine protesters outside Charing Cross Station in London on Saturday. (Alamy) (Ehimetalor Unuabona)

In a statement on Sunday evening, the force said: “We continue to work with protest organisers to ensure they are lawful, whilst balancing the concerns of other communities.

“Section 13 of the Public Order Act 1986 allows for the banning of a procession when there is a risk of serious disorder. It has to be approved by a secretary of state.

“Sections 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 allow for conditions to be imposed to processions and public assembly to prevent serious disruption. We have used this legislation over recent weeks and will continue to use any legislation necessary to keep people safe.”

What is the pro-Palestine protest?

The planned demonstration has been organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who have pledged to avoid the Whitehall area where the Cenotaph is located.

The planned route would take tens of thousands of demonstrators from Hyde Park – about a mile from the Cenotaph – to the US embassy in Vauxhall, south of the River Thames.

In a statement, the protest organisers said: “We have made clear that we have no intention of marching on or near Whitehall, in order not to disrupt events at the Cenotaph.”

The statement added: “We are alarmed by members of the government, including the prime minster, issuing statements suggesting that the march is a direct threat to the Cenotaph and designed to disrupt the Remembrance Day commemorations.”

What has the government said?

Prime minister Rishi Sunak said on Friday: “To plan protests on Armistice Day is provocative and disrespectful, and there is a clear and present risk that the Cenotaph and other war memorials could be desecrated, something that would be an affront to the British public and the values we stand for.”

Home secretary Suella Braverman, who would ultimately have the final say on any ban of the march, has gone further, describing the demonstration as a “hate march through London”.

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She said there was an “obvious risk of serious public disorder, violence and damage” if the march goes ahead on Saturday.

Watch: Deputy PM has ‘grave concerns’ over pro-Palestine Armistice Day march

Braverman said any protesters who vandalise the Cenotaph should be “put into a jail cell faster than their feet can touch the ground”.

On Monday, energy security secretary Claire Coutinho said the government will “stand fully behind” police if they choose to ban the protest.

She told Sky News: “It is a decision that rests with the police. The ministers involved have made it very clear that they have serious concerns.

“I think people in this country want to make sure that veterans and the memories of fallen soldiers are respected.”

What are the opposing views on the march?

Pressure group Campaign Against Antisemitism has called on the police to ban the march.

It said: “Section 13 powers allow the police to prohibit processions if other powers under the Act do not suffice to prevent serious public disorder. As we have seen over the past month, that threshold is now met.”

Security minister Tom Tugendhat, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, said on Friday he didn’t think it was an “appropriate moment for a protest”, and that he had written to the mayor of London, Westminster Council and the Metropolitan Police asking them to “look very carefully at the powers that they have”.

But London mayor Sadiq Khan said Tugendhat should stop “posturing”, and added: “If this security minister knew his brief, he would know the only person in the country that can ban marches is the home secretary – his colleague in cabinet.”

Khan said it was “incredibly important” that demonstrators understood the importance of Remembrance events, adding that the Met Police was speaking to protest organisers to “make sure they stay away from the Cenotaph”.

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He added: “I’d encourage the organisers to work with the police to stay away from the Cenotaph.”

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 24, 2023: Secretary of State for the Home Department Suella Braverman arrives in Downing Street to attend the weekly Cabinet meeting in London, United Kingdom on September 24, 2023. (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Home secretary Suella Braverman would have the final say on banning the pro-Palestine march. (Getty Images) (Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Pro-Palestine group Friends of Al-Aqsa is preparing to bus protesters from Leicester to London on Saturday and said it expected hundreds of thousands of people to take part in the demonstration.

Its spokesman, Ismail Patel, said: “We definitely will not be at the Cenotaph. We understand the sensitivity of the date.”

In post on X, formerly known as Twitter, BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker criticised Braverman, saying: “Marching and calling for a ceasefire and peace so that more innocent children don’t get killed is not really the definition of a hate march.”

“If the police decided they didn’t want to go ahead under what is the 1986 legislation it will be for the home secretary to take that decision. I hope that won’t be necessary.”ice, for all cenotaphs and memorials, for the two minutes’ silence on Saturday, not just the Remembrance Parade on Sunday.

“If the police decided they didn’t want to go ahead under what is the 1986 legislation it will be for the home secretary to take that decision. I hope that won’t be necessary.”

A number of veterans have voiced their opposition to the planned pro-Palestinian march.

Sergeant Jay Baldwin, 38, who lost his legs in Afghanistan, told The Sun: “What is happening in the Middle East is terrible.

“But next weekend is when we remember those who have fallen whilst defending our freedom and our life as it is today — it’s not a time for political demos.”

Former Staff Sergeant Wayne Ingram, 54, told the newspaper: “I feel disgusted that these protests are going ahead.

“Those who are taking part must show some respect for our veterans.”

Former army colonel Philip Ingram wrote in the Daily Mail: “Of course, people have a right to protest. But in the context of everything that is happening, the authorities should have the courage and leadership to postpone Saturday’s gathering until the following week.”

Watch: Protesters call on Suella Braverman to stop ‘stirring up hatred and fear’

SOURCE : https://uk.news.yahoo.com/armistice-remembrance-day-palestine-march-everything-we-know-112115901.html?rand=470

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