Pro-Palestine rally London: Met Police announces major operation across Remembrance Weekend & exclusion zone
More than 2,000 officers from the Metropolitan Police and other UK forces will be on duty for a major operation across Remembrance Weekend.
An exclusion zone has been set up ahead of a massive pro-Palestine rally in London on Saturday, with more than 2,000 officers from the Metropolitan Police and other UK forces being deployed as part of a "significant" operation across Remembrance Weekend.
This comes after a political row between the Met police and Home Secretary Suella Braverman who criticised the force over its decision to allow the protests, which she described as 'hate marches' to go ahead.
The Met says its plan covers both Armistice and remembrance events as well as a significant march by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The operation includes setting up an exclusion zone around the Cenotaph in order "to protect national remembrance events and locations".
The exclusion zone, the force said, will be put in place covering Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade, the Westminster Abbey Field of Remembrance and other relevant areas, in effect banning those on the march from these locations.
In a statement, the Met said: "Anyone believed to be part of, or associated with, the pro-Palestinian demonstration trying to assemble in this area can be arrested. There will be metal barriers and officers in place to protect it.
"The Cenotaph will have a dedicated 24 hour police presence which began on Thursday and will remain in place until the conclusion of remembrance events on Sunday. Officers will be preventing anyone from approaching or interfering with the Cenotaph in any way."
The statement added: "We know the cumulative impact continued protest, increasing tensions, and rising hate crimes are having across London and the fear and anxiety our Jewish communities in particular are feeling. They have a right to feel safe in their city, knowing know they can travel across London without feeling afraid of intimidation or harassment.
"Recognising the concern across London, the scale of the policing operation in place represents a doubling of the number of officers on duty for the weekend’s events. On Saturday 1,850 will be on duty and 1,375 on Sunday.
"We’ll be using an extensive set of powers to prevent any disruption whatsoever to remembrance events, policing the demonstration as it passes through parts of the capital, while protecting our communities from those intent on inciting hate, violence and disorder. The powers we’ve put in place enable us to more quickly and robustly identify and arrest those seeking to use these events to commit crime or cause disorder.
"During protests since the attacks on 7 October we’ve seen small groups break away from planned events. Their behaviour has been escalating and becoming more violent and distressing to the public. Over the last four major events we have made more than 100 arrests for offences including supporting proscribed organisations and serious hate crime.
"Each week we’ve developed our tactics to more quickly deal with anyone committing crime locally in our communities and at significant events. Our operation covers every element of this weekend and will continue to develop as we gather intelligence and learn of new issues.
"This week concerns have been raised about the safety of poppy sellers at stations and other busy venues. Alongside our colleagues at the British Transport Police we have been clear no intimidation of those who so generously give up their time for this treasured national cause will be tolerated. Officers know the risk felt by sellers and should be sought out by anyone concerned throughout the weekend.
"While this operation is delivered in central London, officers will remain out across the capital recognising the real and damaging impact the ongoing conflict in the Middle East continues to have on communities here in London. Officers will be visiting busy areas and locations of significance, and providing support and reassurance to those we know are greatly concerned about travelling to places of worship at this time of great uncertainty and tension.
US, Israeli embassies deemed 'restricted area'
The Met said protesters are banned from entering certain areas next to the US embassy, and they are also not allowed to gather in the streets around the Israeli Embassy in High Street, Kensington.
The police also issued a warning to convoys travelling to London from elsewhere in the UK, saying that they have specialist traffic officers in cars and on motorcycles on duty to ensure "any cars travelling towards the protest do not commit offences" or "they will be dealt with".