Pro-Palestinian protesters are planning to take to the streets on Armistice Day as the Metropolitan Police commissioner admitted he may have to look to other forces to help deal with the ongoing action.
Demonstrations are set to be staged this Saturday in London and across the UK, with a further march planned in the capital on November 11, the anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) is preparing to bus protesters from Leicester to London next weekend to demand an immediate ceasefire in Israel’s attacks on Gaza, and said it expected hundreds of thousands of people to take part in the demonstration organised by a coalition of groups.
But it vowed to avoid the Cenotaph war memorial on Whitehall – the focus of national remembrance events.
We are starting to look at what point we need to look for mutual aid from other forces and change our approach to resourcing this to make it sustainable
Sir Mark Rowley
The Met said: “This is a weekend with huge national significance. We will use all the powers available to us to ensure anyone intent on disrupting it will not succeed.
“Officers will be deployed across London on 11 and 12 November as part of a significant policing and security operation.
“We’re absolutely committed to ensuring the safety and security of anyone attending commemorative events.”
A two-minute silence is held each year at 11am on Armistice Day – also known as Remembrance Day – to commemorate those who died in conflict.
Ismail Patel, FOA spokesman, said: “We definitely will not be at the Cenotaph. We understand the sensitivity of the date.”
Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said he is “deeply concerned” about the effects of protests on day-to-day local policing.
“We are starting to look at what point we need to look for mutual aid from other forces and change our approach to resourcing this to make it sustainable,” he told the London Assembly.
He said that since Hamas terrorists murdered Jews in Israel on October 7 successive weekend protests in central London have been policed by 1,000 officers, then 1,500 and then by 2,000.
Police made around 70 arrests at the protests and almost 100 more for hate crimes, with anti-Jewish hate crime up 14-fold and anti-Muslim hate crime up threefold on last year, he said.
A Met Police spokesperson confirmed the organisers of the November 11 march were considering different locations in London.
“They have indicated they are planning a march on the Saturday, but that they are considering different locations given the sensitives around this date,” the spokesperson said.
The next day – November 12 – will see the high-profile annual Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, attended by royals, senior politicians, leaders and veterans.
A spokesperson for the Met added: "Officers will be deployed across London on 11 and 12 November as part of a significant policing and security operation.
"We’re absolutely committed to ensuring the safety and security of any-one attending commemorative events.
"We know that this year, there are concerns about a demonstration by pro-Palestinian campaigners.
"The protest organisers have not indicated any plans to protest on Remembrance Sunday.
"They have shared their intentions to hold a significant demonstration on the Saturday but are engaging with our officers and have said they are willing to avoid the Whitehall area, recognising the sensitivities around the date.
"This is a weekend with huge national significance. We will use all the powers available to us to ensure anyone intent on disrupting it will not succeed."
On November 4, the Stop the War coalition is calling for a nationwide “Day of Action for Palestine” around the country, with a rally in London’s Trafalgar Square.
Meanwhile, Stand Up to Racism and Extinction Rebellion London are organising a “Stop Braverman, Stop the Hate” march outside the Home Office.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman drew criticism when she warned that a “hurricane” of mass migration is coming, in her speech to the Conservative party conference last month.