High Anticipation for London Pro-Palestinian Rally, Police Prepared for Potential Issues due to Massive Turnout

Demonstrators protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza amid the Israel-Palestine conflict in London, UK, October 21, 2023 Demonstrators protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza amid the Israel-Palestine conflict, in London, UK, October 21, 2023. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

LONDON, Nov 11 (Reuters) – A pro-Palestinian march in London is set to attract hundreds of thousands of participants this Saturday, though Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has criticized the rally in light of potential violence on the day of remembrance for war veterans.

The “National March for Palestine” will be the fourth such demonstration in London since Hamas attacks on Israel on Oct. 7, drawing tensions with the British government calling for the cancellation of the event as it coincides with Armistice Day. The police have cited increased concerns over possible unrest from participants in the march and right-wing groups or veterans planning a counter-protest.

With nearly 2,000 officers on duty, the police are prepared to control any disorder. The officer in charge, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, expressed his apprehensions about potentially serious disorder and the challenging policing operation.

Support for the Israeli government has been evident among Western nations, including the UK, following the Hamas attacks. However, a series of weekly protests in London have demanded a ceasefire in response to the Israeli reaction, garnering public sympathy for the Palestinians.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign organizers have stated that the march will avoid the Cenotaph war memorial near Sunak’s office. Instead, it will end the protest at the U.S. embassy about two miles away.

While the previous marches have been relatively peaceful, counter-protesters showing support for Hamas have led to more than 100 arrests. Protesters accused of exhibiting imagery or advocating for Hamas have even faced terrorism charges.

The British Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, has faced criticism for labeling the protesters “hate marchers,” and PM Sunak also expressed his disapproval. However, he has advocated for the allowance of the protest, but with London’s police chief being held accountable for safeguarding remembrance events.

As the event approaches, concerns have arisen over the potential involvement of far-right groups. The police are hoping to prevent trouble but anticipate confrontations.

These areas of unrest are likely to see police intervention, despite the implementation of careful and extensive crowd management protocols.

Reporting by Michael Holden, editing by Ed OsmondOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. Acquire Licensing Rights, opens new tab


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