Authorities Ready to Use Force to Prevent Violence at Historic Political Gathering
The Metropolitan Police has issued a firm warning in anticipation of what is expected to be one of the largest political marches in British history, with hundreds of thousands of pro-Palestine protesters set to march in central London. The police have stated their readiness to respond robustly to any violence, abuse, or hate-incitement.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for unity and respectful participation, emphasising the importance of peacefully observing Armistice Day commemorations. Meanwhile, Home Secretary Suella Braverman, after facing criticism for accusing the police of bias, has now expressed full support for the Metropolitan Police’s approach.
The police are particularly focused on preventing disruptions around the Cenotaph, a site of significance, especially on Armistice Day. The demonstration, which calls for a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict, has been intentionally routed away from this monument. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor stressed the police’s commitment to balancing the rights of all – protesters, counter-protesters, and the general public.
In an unprecedented move, nearly 2,000 officers will be deployed across central London in the largest police operation ever mounted for a Remembrance weekend. This number is double the usual police presence, underlining the significant scale and potential complexity of the event.
Sir Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has resisted pressure from Braverman to ban the march. This resistance comes amid fears of clashes and a background of recent criticisms of the police for not making immediate arrests during similar events.
Steve Hartshorn, Chairman of the Police Federation, highlighted the challenging position officers find themselves in, acknowledging the possibility of making unintentional errors during the protest. He emphasised the officers’ commitment to public safety and fair policing, despite being thrust into the political spotlight.
The tense atmosphere is further heightened by Prime Minister Sunak’s summoning of Sir Mark to Downing Street, holding him accountable for maintaining order during the march. This situation reflects the high stakes and political sensitivities surrounding the event.
This event comes at a politically turbulent time, with Braverman’s accusations of police bias sparking a significant political row and raising concerns about the independence of police operations. Neil Basu, the former head of UK counter-terror policing, cautioned against the end of operational independence in policing, a fundamental principle in democratic societies. Story Source