The Metropolitan Police today vowed to use ‘all its powers’ to stop pro-Palestine protesters disrupting the Armistice Day commemorations – as groups planned a ‘million-man march’ on the day Britain remembers its war dead.
There are fears the march could disrupt the two-minute silence commemorating the war dead, and the daytime and evening Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, with the latter performance usually attended by members of the royal family.
It comes amid broader concerns of antisemitic slogans being used at pro-Palestine protests, with Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely saying ‘jihad ideology’ had left London feeling less safe for Jews than Israel.
Today, the Met was investigating a female protester seen posing with a banner reading ‘please keep the world clean’ next to an image of a stick man throwing a Star of David into a bin.
Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said his officers are currently investigating more than 200 examples of online hate prompted by the war in the Middle East. Meanwhile, volunteers who have been putting up posters of Israeli kidnap victims in London revealed half are being ripped down within 48 hours.
Today, the Met was investigating a female protester seen posing with a banner reading ‘please keep the world clean’ next to an image of a stick man throwing a Star of David into a bin
The force has vowed to use ‘all its powers’ to stop protesters disrupting Armistice Day commemorations
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign called for activists to ‘build for the next national march on November 11’
The Jewish ambassador, Tzipi Hotovely that the Jewish community felt fear due to ‘jihad ideology’ witnessed in the capital city
Today, the Met said officers will be deployed across the capital over remembrance weekend as part of a ‘significant policing and security operation’.
It said protest groups have not indicated plans to march on Remembrance Sunday on November 12, but a significant demonstration is expected on the Saturday.
Organisers of the demo have pledged to avoid the Whitehall area where the Cenotaph war memorial – the focus of national remembrance events – is located.
There was outrage last month after a stage was set up next to the Cenotaph for speakers at a pro-Palestine event on October 14.
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.’
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.
Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) is preparing to bus protesters from Leicester to London on the Saturday and said it expected hundreds of thousands of people to take part in the demonstration organised by a coalition of groups.
Ismail Patel, FOA spokesman, said: ‘We definitely will not be at the Cenotaph. We understand the sensitivity of the date.’
Greater Manchester Stop the War Coalition is also arranging a coach to take protesters to the November 11 march.
The organisation said: ‘We must continue to show solidarity with the people of Palestine and demonstrate against the genocide being carried out in Gaza.
‘We need a million people on the streets of London on Sat 11th Nov! From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!’
Sir Mark Rowley said he is ‘deeply concerned’ about the effects of protests on day-to-day local policing and admitted he may have to look to other forces to help deal with the ongoing action.
‘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 attacked 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.
She said she keeps getting messages from friends in Israel asking if she feels safe in this country
On the 28 October, more than 500,000 demonstrators shut down central London (pictured) to demand for a ceasefire in Gaza
Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, said she hopes those taking part in pro-Palestine marches do not understand what they are supporting, telling The Telegraph: ‘I hope they don’t (understand), because if they do, it’s serious.
‘It’s not possible to support this type of repulsive actions against human beings. People find it hard to understand that an ideology like this exists.
‘But when we think about the jihad calls that we heard (on the marches) in London, when we think about Isis as an organisation that was slaughtering Muslims, committing the same war crimes against Muslims, and I’m not speaking about Islam: I’m speaking about the radical jihadi movement that is secular and against Western civilisation. They kill like it’s a duty for them to kill.’
The Stop the War coalition is calling for a nationwide ‘Day of Action for Palestine’ around the country on November 4, with a rally in London’s Trafalgar Square.
Ms Hotovely, who has previously been called ‘zionist scum’ and harassed by angry mobs on Britain’s streets, said that whilst we live in a democracy, freedom of speech needed to be limited to prevent people spouting hatred.
She said: ‘Since those demonstrations started, I keep getting WhatsApp messages from friends in Israel. They ask me, do you feel safe there? Do Jews feel safe?
‘They feel like London is less safe during this war than Israel. They see the same jihadi ideology on the streets of London as in Gaza and they wonder what is going on.’
Ms Hotovely, who was the first woman ever appointed to her position, has herself been subjected to vile antisemitic abuse whilst speaking across Britain.
In 2021, Hotovely was harassed by an angry mob outside the London School of Economics
It comes just months after Hotovely faced a student mob when giving a lecture at the London School of Economics
Last year, she was branded ‘Zionist scum’ by protesters who tried to block her car as she attended a Cambridge Union debate.
The protesters were heard chanting Hamas slogans and set off flares as they demonstrated.
In 2021, she branded hard-Left activists ‘shameful’ after they tried to intimidate her following a lecture at the London School of Economics.
The diplomat was harassed by an angry mob after delivering a lecture to the LSE’s student union debating society.
On the 28 October, more than 500,000 demonstrators shut down central London to demand for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Crowds gathered near the Golden Jubilee Bridge holding signs saying ‘Gaza, stop the massacre’ and ‘Free Palestine, end Israeli occupation’.
Ms Hotovely insisted to the Telegraph that ‘this is not just Israel-Palestine,’ and said that her message to British people is that the ideology which is being ‘chanted on the streets in London was same ideology that took down the Twin Towers in New York.’
Writing for the Daily Mail on the 12 October, Ms Hotovely said: ‘In the UK, anti-Semitism is on the rise – a 324 per cent rise from this period last year – and as a mother here, it truly pains me to read that pupils of Jewish schools in this country have been told not to wear their blazers on the way to school.’
Pictured: Protesters on the Bridge in London on 28 October Pro-Palestine protest
Crowds gathered near the Golden Jubilee Bridge holding signs saying ‘Gaza, stop the massacre’ and ‘Free Palestine, end Israeli occupation’. Pictured: London protest on 28 October
Speaking about Hamas’ attack on Israel on 7 October, Ms Hotovely said that the terrorist group ‘tied children up and burned them together.’
She said she knew this because of ‘the smoke inhalation in the children’s throats and lungs’.
Ms Hotovely, the first woman to become Israel’s ambassador to London, told the outlet: ‘It’s clear that nothing will be the same again. This is a watershed moment in our life.
‘I truly believe that, no matter how many investigations we will do, the biggest question is how come human beings can commit those types of atrocities.’
She believes that it is crucial to call Hamas terrorists after the BBC dodged the word. Instead the BBC refers to Hamas as a ‘militant’ group and described the slaughter of civilians as a ‘militant’ attack.
Writing for the Daily Mail, she said: ‘Militants do not behead babies. Terrorists do. ‘Gunmen’ do not rape innocent girls. Terrorists do.
‘Fighters’ do not burn innocent people alive in front of their families, forcing them to watch. Terrorists do.’
Last month a No10 source said: ‘As the PM has said repeatedly, Hamas are terrorists. It is incumbent on our national broadcaster to recognise this fact.’
BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson wrote an article on the corporation’s website which read: ‘It’s simply not the BBC’s job to tell people who to support and who to condemn – who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.
‘We regularly point out that the British and other governments have condemned Hamas as a terrorist organisation, but that’s their business.
‘Our business is to present our audiences with the facts, and let them make up their own minds.’