Pro-Palestine march route: Saturday’s Armistice Day protest in London mapped

Metropolitan Police urges activists to postpone demonstration over potential clash with Armistice Day services

Joe Sommerlad
Saturday 11 November 2023 07:42 GMT
Related: Pro-Palestine protesters demand ceasefire during London march

The latest pro-Palestine march through London is due to take place on Saturday 11 November, calling for an immediate ceasefire in the deadly Israel-Gaza conflict that erupted last month.

The six organising groups behind the demonstration had faced calls from the Metropolitan Police to postpone their National March for Palestine on the grounds that it could clash with remembrance services over the upcoming Armistice Weekend but the Met’s commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, ultimately decided to give it the greenlight.

“The laws created by Parliament are clear. There is no absolute power to ban protest,” Sir Mark said on Wednesday, adding that the marchers had shown a “complete willingness to stay away from the Cenotaph and Whitehall and have no intention of disrupting the nation’s remembrance events”.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak, for his part, has continued to express his disapproval of the “disrespectful” protest, saying of the commissioner: “He has said that he can ensure that we safeguard remembrance for the country this weekend as well as keep the public safe. Now, my job is to hold him accountable for that.”

The march’s route will take activists from the Marble Arch corner of Hyde Park at approximately 12pm on Saturday, head south through the capital down the Vauxhall Bridge Road and cross the River Thames en route to the US Embassy on Nine Elms Lane in opposition to US president Joe Biden’s unwavering support for the Israeli military’s response to the Hamas attacks of Saturday 7 October, which saw 1,400 people killed and 200 hostages taken.

The organisers have repeatedly reiterated that their starting point is at least two miles from the Cenotaph in Whitehall – the focal point for this weekend’s remembrance services – and its start time is long after the national two-minute silence planned to remember Britain’s fallen soldiers on Saturday has concluded.

On Monday, the Met’s deputy assistant commissioner Ade Adelekan had said in a statement: “The risk of violence and disorder linked to breakaway groups is growing.

“This is of concern ahead of a significant and busy weekend in the capital. Our message to organisers is clear: Please, we ask you to urgently reconsider. It is not appropriate to hold any protests in London this weekend.”

His statement was applauded by home secretary Suella Braverman on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday evening, who posted: “The hate marchers need to understand that decent British people have had enough of these displays of thuggish intimidation and extremism.”

A spokesman for the PM also expressed Downing Street’s disapproval over the timing, commenting: “We saw some evidence of hateful behaviour at the [earlier] marches, including arrests for inciting racial hatred, but obviously it remains the case rightly that people are able to, peacefully, within the law, express their views.

“To plan these sorts of protests in and around Armistice Day is provocative, it’s disrespectful. Should memorials be desecrated or should we see some of the instances of racial hatred for which there were arrests at the weekend be expressed on these days? I think that would be an affront to the British public.”

The route of Saturday’s pro-Palestine march from Hyde Park to the US Embassy in Vauxhall
The route of Saturday’s pro-Palestine march from Hyde Park to the US Embassy in Vauxhall (The Independent/Datawrapper)

The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, one of the organisers behind the National March for Palestine, responded to that criticism by saying: “We are alarmed by members of the government, including the prime minister, issuing statements suggesting that the march is a direct threat to the Cenotaph and designed to disrupt the Remembrance Day commemorations.

“Such statements are encouraging the calls from far-rights activists and commentators who appear to be inciting action on the streets to stop the protests taking place and are deeply irresponsible.

“Given the wider context of the previous statements by the home secretary seeking to demonise all of those marching in support of the rights of the Palestinian people, it is clear that these further statements are motivated by a desire to suppress widespread public support for an end to Israel’s bombardment of the people of Gaza.”

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