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On Armistice Day, there was a peaceful two-minute silence in London following clashes between police and far-right counter protestors.
On Saturday morning, video footage captured a large number of people pushing past police and climbing on bollards while counter protesters were confined to Whitehall.
Groups of males were loudly singing and scaling bollards while sporadic chaos erupted. However, at 11am, the area fell silent as a two-minute moment of silence was observed.
Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League, was present among the group of people on Whitehall following his call for supporters to come out and “defend” the Cenotaph.
After the Metropolitan Police utilized their authority to prohibit pro-Palestinian demonstrators from marching in Whitehall, they stated that counter protestors, including far right groups, would still be permitted within the restricted area because they were not expected to create significant disruption on their own.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, who is in charge of the police operation, said on Friday: “Counter protest will be allowed in Whitehall, because the sole purpose their intention is to protect the sanctity of the Cenotaph and Remembrance.
I do not expect there to be any chaos caused by that group. The chaos will arise from a pro-Palestinian group entering while they are present, if they are indeed there.
He stated: “I am of the belief that if the groups unite, there will be chaos. That is why I have implemented conditions to avoid that outcome.”
The Metropolitan Police stated that the two minutes of silence were observed respectfully and without any issues on Whitehall. However, officers have encountered hostility from a large number of counter protestors in the vicinity.
The counter demonstrators do not form a united group. Multiple groups are dispersing from Whitehall to other areas in central London.
The officers are closely monitoring their actions. If their goal is to engage with the main protest that will leave from Park Lane later today, we will utilize all of our resources and strategies to prevent that from occurring.