According to Rishi Sunak, the Metropolitan Police superintendent will be held “accountable” for the pro-Palestinian march scheduled for Armistice Day.
Disapproval of the Scheduled London Demonstration
The scheduling of the London demonstration has been deemed “provocative and disrespectful” by the Prime Minister.
Police Response and Public Safety
However, Sir Mark Rowley disregarded activists’ demands to prohibit the demonstration, stating that doing so would be a “last resort.”
Global Protests in Light of the Israel-Gaza Conflict
Protests have been organized worldwide on Saturdays since the onset of the Israel-Gaza conflict, including in London and other cities.
The official spokesman for the Prime Minister informed reporters that during a lunchtime meeting with Sir Mark, Mr. Sunak will “seek further assurances” that the Metropolitan Police will be “vigilant” in their management of the march during the remembrance weekend.
The spokesman further stated that the Prime Minister regarded the demonstration as “completely inappropriate” and “provocative,” but that he would not exert any influence on Sir Mark to prohibit the march.
Accountability and Oversight
Before that meeting, Mr. Sunak called the march’s authorization a “decision that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has made”.
“He has indicated that he can ensure both the safety of the public and the preservation of national memory over the upcoming weekend,” Mr. Sunak told broadcasters this morning.
“Now, my job is to hold him accountable for that.”
Mr. Sunak said his administration has asked the police about central London remembrance gatherings.
He stated that these marches are rude and planned to discuss this with the police commissioner later today.
With fewer than two hours until its start, Sir Mark’s Institute for Government talk was cancelled.
The authority to ban protests is “extremely rare.”
On Monday, the Metropolitan Police urged march organisers to move the event from central London, calling it “inappropriate.”
Controversy Surrounding the Event’s Timing and Organizers’ Stance
The event’s timing has been subject to criticism by both Mr. Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman. Tens of thousands of individuals are anticipated to attend, and Conservative MP and former defense minister Tobias Ellwood urged the coordinators to reconsider their decision and reschedule the rally for a different day.
However, the organizers have declined to grant a postponement, citing the fact that the route does not pass by the Cenotaph war memorial and that the march is scheduled to commence at 12:45, following a two-minute period of silence.
Sir Mark refused to ask the home secretary to ban the march on Tuesday, despite pleas from Campaign Against Antisemitism.
The group asserted that prior marches had satisfied the minimum standard of public disorder necessary to warrant the prohibition.
The group stated that as Remembrance Weekend approaches, during which we commemorate the heroes who fought against antisemitic hatred and defended our freedoms, we must honor their memory by prohibiting demonstrations that exploit those freedoms to call for violence against Jews.
Sir Mark stated that although police are permitted to request such authority in the event of a severe disorder threat, the “extremely high” bar for doing so has not yet been surpassed.
He added that the authority was “extremely uncommon” and that police had no choice.
Security Concerns and Precautions for Remembrance Weekend
Concerned about the escalating risk of disorder caused by splinter groups dissident from the main demonstration on Saturday. Sir Mark stated that this week the threat they presented would be assessed.
Minister of Veterans Affairs Johnny Mercer had previously stated that he was completely cognizant of “the tensions at play.” But urged individuals to attend commemorative events in London.
Mr. Mercer stated, “I am aware that elderly veterans will be visiting London this weekend, and every precaution will be taken to ensure that guests are free to observe the remembrance in their own way, unimpeded by the other activities that will be occurring during the weekend.”
Chris Nineham, an organizer of the protest on behalf of the Stop the War Coalition, stated, “As stewards, we make every effort to ensure that our demonstrations do not contain any antisemitic content or incitement to violence.” This matter does not pertain to religion or race in our perspective.”