Palestine march organisers hit back at Remembrance Day claims after call for ban

Pro-Palestine march organisers said counter protests were ‘at best misinformed and at worse an incitement to public disorder’

Barney Davis
Friday 03 November 2023 14:36 GMT
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Related video: Suella Braverman describes pro-Palestine protests as ‘hate marches’

Organisers of a pro-Palestine march over Remembrance Day weekend have insisted they have no plans to disrupt the 11am silence and their route will avoid the Cenotaph altogether.

Right-wing commentators had urged followers to “come out and stop the barbarians” amid fears the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) would disrespect the commemorations for the war dead on November 11.

It comes as the prime minister said there was a “clear and present risk that the Cenotaph and other war memorials could be desecrated” by the march next Saturday.

But Ben Jamal, Director of PSC, insisted the protest would not begin until a “significant time after the two minutes silence at 11am”.

He said: “The attempts to frame the planned national demonstration on Saturday, November 11, part of a cycle of weekly marches calling for a ceasefire, as disrespectful to Remembrance Day commemorations is at best misinformed and at worse an incitement to public disorder.”

Clashes broke out between rival supporters and the police during a previous demonstration by the Cenotaph

Adding: “There are no plans to march anywhere near Whitehall or the Cenotaph. We are choosing a route designed to avoid those areas, in consultation with the Metropolitan Police.

“This is a march calling for a ceasefire in order to stop the current slaughter in Gaza. To highlight this democratic action taking place on November 11th, well away from Whitehall, as disrespectful is dangerous and disingenuous politicking that defames many hundreds of thousands of people who want the current violence to stop.”

Thousands of protesters are expected to march through central London and across the country tomorrow and again next weekend calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

A spokesman added: “Our demand is ceasefire now. Then an end to the siege of Gaza. Immediate humanitarian aid. All sides to abide by international law forbidding attacks on civilians, collective punishment, hostage-taking, forced expulsion. And a political solution to the conflict that addresses decades of military occupation and a system of apartheid by Israel.”

Douglas Murray, who appeared alongside right-wing commentators Ben Shapiro, and Jordan Peterson at the 02 Arena this week, posted on X: “UK Hamas supporters are now planning a ‘million man march’ on Remembrance Day.

“They plan to defame our war-dead and desecrate the Cenotaph itself. This is the tipping point. If such a march goes ahead then the people of Britain must come out and stop these barbarians.”

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the security minister Tom Tugendhat should stop “posturing” after he wrote a letter to him regarding pro-Palestine protests over Remembrance weekend.

Mr Khan said: “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.

“So rather than writing these public letters to me, rather than this posturing when he’s doing media – speak to the Home Secretary.”

Mr 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”.

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

Scotland Yard said the force would use all the powers available ensure anyone intent on disrupting Remembrance weekend “will not succeed.”

It added: “We’re absolutely committed to ensuring the safety and security of anyone attending commemorative events.”

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.

Armistice Day on November 11 is the anniversary of the end of the First World War, and is also known as Remembrance Day.

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