Met Police brace for another weekend of protests in London

Met Police brace for another weekend of protests: Tens of thousands to join pro-Palestine rally and antisemitism march with more than 1,500 officers on the streets of London to protect memorials and stop violent clashes

  • Palestine Solidarity Campaign protest on Saturday at Park Lane from 12.30pm 
  • Hizb-ut-Tahrir demonstration outside Egyptian Embassy on Saturday from 1pm 
  • March Against Antisemitism on Sunday from 1.30pm at Royal Courts of Justice 

Scotland Yard is bracing for another weekend of mass protests in London with more than 150,000 activists expected to carry out three separate demonstrations.

Some 1,500 police officers will be on duty including 500 from outside London as both pro-Palestinian and antisemitism protests are held. There will also be a demonstration from Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir outside the Egyptian Embassy.

The Metropolitan Police insisted today that it will be safe for Jewish people to come into London this weekend. A 90-minute march organised by the volunteer-led charity Campaign Against Antisemitism is due to take place in the capital on Sunday.

Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan, the Gold Commander in London this weekend, said in a briefing that 40,000 to 50,000 people were expected to attend the protest, which will start outside the Royal Courts of Justice at 1.30pm.

Another pro-Palestinian protest of about 100,000 people marching from Park Lane to Whitehall will be held tomorrow as the city enters a busy period before Christmas.

This weekend also comes in the middle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals being offered on the high street, meaning shopping areas are likely to be packed.

Protesters wave Israeli flags outside Downing Street in London on November 19

Police officers remove pro-Palestinian protesters at London Waterloo Station on November 18

Speaking at a press briefing today attended by MailOnline, Mr Adelekan said: ‘We will put all the protection that we put around any march around that antisemitism march, and we are working very closely with the Jewish community.

Protests happening in London this weekend 

Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstration

On Saturday, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign will hold a march from Park Lane to Whitehall.

Police have issued these conditions under Section 12 of the Public Order Act:

  • The procession must not commence until 12.30pm and protests must not assemble at Park Lane before then.
  • Anyone participating in the procession must not deviate from a route which is specified in this map:

The following conditions have also been imposed under Section 14 of the Public Order Act:

  • The PSC-organised assembly must end no later than 5pm
  • Any participant in the PSC-organised assembly must not enter the area around the Israeli Embassy, which has been specified by police in this map:

Hizb-ut-Tahrir demonstration

On Saturday afternoon, there will be a static protest at the Egyptian Embassy in South Street in London’s Mayfair organised by the Hizb-ut-Tahrir group.

The following conditions have been imposed under Section 14 of the Public Order Act:

  • The assembly must not commence until 1pm and participants must remain in the area shaded in red in this map
  • The assembly must end by 3.30pm

March Against Antisemitism

On Sunday, there will be a March Against Antisemitism, organised by the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

The march will begin at 1.30pm outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand.

The Met said ‘discussions have taken place with organisers and there is a detailed policing plan in place ahead of the event’.

‘I’ve personally met the organisers, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, I’ve had a number of conversations with them on how we’re going to keep them safe.’

Mr Adelekan said chants using the word ‘jihad’ were causing upset and concern in the Jewish community but were ‘always contextual’.

He added that officers would enter large crowds decisively and quickly to arrest those using the chant to incite violence, terrorism or antisemitism.

Asked about reports that Tommy Robinson, founder and former leader of the far-right English Defence League, could attend the protest, Mr Adelekan said he was ‘not welcome’ at the march and would be engaged by officers.

Mr Robinson was seen among the crowds of counter-protesters who clashed with police during protests held on Armistice Day earlier this month.

Mr Adelekan added: ‘What we cannot see and what we will not let happen is the kind of violence that happened on November 11.

‘We have got enough officers in order to make sure we prevent that from happening.’

Around 1,500 officers will be deployed for the protests with several hundred drafted in from other forces through mutual aid.

Mr Adelekan said the force’s use of retrospective facial recognition to identify criminals at the protests was ‘improving all the time’.

Leaflets will also be handed out to protesters by officers along the march to provide ‘absolute clarity’ on what will be deemed an offence, he added.

The Cenotaph and several other monuments will again be guarded throughout the weekend.

Police said there will be trained spotters at specific points of the march looking out for crimes, including hate placards and clothing.

The Met added that its main challenge in recent weekends has been ‘the dispersal of protestors at the end of the march’.

The force added: ‘Whilst the vast majority of the marchers have dispersed quickly and peacefully, we have consistently seen small breakaway groups heading into the West End. These groups can see serious disruption, setting off fireworks causing fear and intimidation.

‘In particular, we are keen that the message gets out about the importance of dispersing at the end of the march and not creating breakaway groups like we have seen in recent weeks.

‘These groups can cause serious disruption, fear and intimidation in communities and amongst people going out their normal business in the West End. Officers will be proactive and decisive in responding to groups who are acting in this way.’

Mr Adelekan added: ‘The conflict in the Middle East is continuing and here in London we are still seeing the cumulative impact of continued protest, increasing tensions, and rising hate crime.

‘That fear and anxiety is particularly felt by our Jewish and Muslim communities. We know a lot more about the cumulative impact of these protests than we did seven weeks ago and that is reflected in our approach.

‘The Met supports the right for people to make their voices heard through protest providing it is done lawfully. However, the law also protects people from racist and religious abuse and prohibits the promotion of terrorism.’

He added that the majority of protesters have complied with the rules in place, but a ‘minority have crossed the line’.

Mr Adelekan continued: ‘We’ve been working positively with organisers, including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), to ensure everyone taking part in protests clearly understands our expectations.

‘We are very pleased that the PSC have brought in extra stewards and that they’ve agreed to be clear in their communications about how supporters must behave.

The Metropolitan Police said anyone taking part in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstration on Saturday must not deviate from the route specified in this map

‘The public will see further communication from us this weekend both online and in the form of leaflets, which our officers will share with protesters along the march route.

‘As you would expect, this sets out that anyone who is racist or incites hatred against any group should expect to be arrested. As should anyone who supports Hamas or any other banned organisation.

‘We will not tolerate anyone who celebrates or promote acts of terrorism – such as the killing or kidnap of innocent people – or who spreads hate speech.

‘I hope that those planning to attend protests this weekend will reflect on this and that the vast majority of those who are law abiding will help us by holding their fellow protestors to account.

The Met Police also said those involved in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstration must not enter the area around the Israeli Embassy, which has been specified in this map

‘If they see behaviour that has crossed the line into criminality we ask them to challenge it and to report it immediately to one of the many officers present. 

‘In a huge march, officers cannot see everything that is going on, but others do, and if they report it we will act quickly.’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also said in a statement: ‘This weekend more marches are planned across the capital. 

Those involved in the Hizb-ut-Tahrir demonstration outside the Egyptian Embassy in South Street in London’s Mayfair must remain in the area shaded in red in this map, the Met said

‘The freedom to protest and express passionate views is a key part of a democracy, and I know the vast majority of people will protest peacefully and respectfully.

‘There is absolutely no place in our city for spreading hate and fear. I am in close contact with the police, who will take action against hate crime – violence and disorder will not be tolerated.

‘One of the things that makes London so great is the way we respect each other. Our diversity enriches us as a city. Every single one of us should be free to be who we are without fear or intimidation – we will never accept those spreading hate and division.’

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