Palestine protest London: Police arrest three as march heads to Trafalgar Square - will there be protests on Armistice Day?
The Metropolitan Police have arrested three people at a pro-Palestinian rally taking place in London ahead of Armistice Weekend
Police have arrested three people at a pro-Palestinian rally taking place in central London today (Saturday 4 November) with one held under the Terrorism Act over a placard that could incite hatred. Scotland Yard said it had made the arrests at Piccadilly Circus with all three taken to central London police stations.
The arrests came after a sit-in protest was staged following previous demonstrations in Oxford Circus and outside Broadcasting House. One was held after they were seen allegedly displaying a placard that could incite hatred while two others were arrested for public order offences.
Tens of thousands of people have marched on Trafalgar Square today demanding an end to the bombardment of Gaza. On the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, the Metropolitan Police said the march “is being closely monitored” with its officers “briefed to be vigilant” and “proactively engage with and enforce allegations of crime that are made to them.”
The force has said there will be a “sharper focus” on using social media and face recognition over this weekend to detect criminal behaviour. Police spotters will be filming the crowds for any activity that might be in breach of public order and terror laws.
Observers on social media noticed that flags were missing from the Cenotaph, speculating that they had been removed ahead of today’s pro-Palestinian rally in London. However, the Metropolitan Police confirmed it has spoken to officials from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) about flags missing from the Cenotaph and said they were removed and cleaned as part of preparations for Armistice Weekend and will “return shortly”.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators calling for an immediate ceasefire in Israel’s attacks on Gaza are planning to take to the streets of London on Armistice Day on Saturday 11 November. There are fears the march could disrupt the two-minute silence commemorating the war dead, and the daytime and evening Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Met Police said officers will be deployed across the capital that weekend as part of a “significant policing and security operation”. It said protest groups have not indicated plans to march on Remembrance Sunday on November 12, but a significant demonstration is expected on Saturday. Organisers of the demo have pledged to avoid the Whitehall area where the Cenotaph war memorial – the focus of national remembrance events – is located.
Armistice Day on 11 November is the anniversary of the end of the First World War, and is also known as Remembrance Day. The high-profile Remembrance Sunday outdoor service at the Cenotaph is attended by royals, senior politicians and veterans each year, and is a poignant tribute to those who lost their lives in conflict.
Holding a pro-Palestine protest on Armistice Day would be “provocative and disrespectful”, the Prime Minister has said.
Rishi Sunak said there is a “clear and present risk that the Cenotaph and other war memorials could be desecrated” amid reports that tens of thousands of demonstrators are planning to take to the streets to call for an immediate ceasefire in Israel’s attacks on Gaza on Saturday November 11. There are fears the march could disrupt the two-minute silence commemorating the war dead and the daytime and evening Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, with the latter performance usually attended by royals.