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The Royal British Legion has supported the right of pro-Palestinian protesters to demonstrate amidst a heated controversy over the permissibility of a rally on Armistice Day.
The RBL is calling on demonstrators to remain calm and demonstrate respect as crowds gather in London this weekend to honor our fallen soldiers.
According to the charity for armed forces, the British military is crucial in safeguarding the rights and liberties of all individuals in UK society, including the right to demonstrate.
“We have not been notified of any protests occurring during RBL Remembrance events. We are hopeful that these events will proceed without any disturbances over the weekend.”
The Metropolitan Police is getting ready for a large policing effort during Remembrance weekend, as a pro-Palestine march on Saturday is anticipated to attract up to 100,000 individuals.
There are concerns about potential conflicts with extremist organizations who have promised to “protect” the Cenotaph following a week-long dispute about whether the controversial demonstration should be prohibited.
Sir Mark Rowley, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has refused to comply with requests from Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman to prevent the event, stating that the potential for disturbance does not warrant stopping the march according to legal standards.
A group of organizations, including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Stop the War, and the Muslim Association of Britain, will hold a march on Saturday at noon, starting from Hyde Park and ending at the US embassy in Vauxhall. This location is approximately a mile away from the war memorial in Whitehall. The march will begin after a two-minute silence is observed at 11am.
The Royal British Legion (RBL) holds the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, with the presence of the King and Queen, on Saturday.
There are no demonstrations planned for Sunday, when the RBL will join hundreds of service men and women, members of the royal family and politicians for The National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
Over the weekend, the National Police Chiefs Council announced that London’s police department will receive over 1,000 additional officers. These reinforcements will be present on both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.
The Metropolitan Police is determined to prevent any disruptions during commemorations by utilizing all available powers, including exclusion zones and facial recognition technology.
The organizer of the protest on Saturday, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, anticipates that over 500,000 people will participate in the march.
The Stop the War coalition stated that coach companies nationwide have reported full bookings for all their vehicles, with some areas having waiting lists.
John Rees, a member of the group, stated that the upcoming protest in London will be of great historical significance. He believes that it will surpass the number of half a million participants from a previous protest in the city.
“We believe this will be the largest protest to date for Palestine. Our regional teams across the nation have informed us that tickets for hundreds of buses have been completely sold out,” he stated.
Lindsey German, the leader of the group, stated: “Our chapters in various towns and cities throughout the UK, as well as transportation companies, have informed us that all of their coaches have been reserved to transport individuals to London. This is similar to the massive protest of two million against the Iraq War in 2003.”
The prime minister had previously cautioned Met chief Sir Mark that he would be held responsible for allowing the “disrespectful” protest to occur. However, he later acknowledged that the right to protest was one of the freedoms that veterans had fought for.
Nevertheless, Ms. Braverman made a shocking accusation of bias against the Met for permitting the pro-Palestine rally to take place in an article that was not approved by No 10.
The head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) supported the autonomy of the forces. Chief Constable Gavin Stephens stated: “As police officers, we require the freedom to make challenging operational choices in an unbiased way.”
The choices we make are difficult, however we approach them with fairness and without bias, following both legal requirements and our professional standards.
Mr Stephens emphasized the significance of not allowing public discourse to influence our operational choices, as it would greatly compromise the effectiveness of policing in the UK.
Chief Constable Chris Haward, leader of the NPCC, stated that prohibiting a march would not prevent individuals from assembling.
According to him, prohibiting the march does not mean prohibiting the gathering. It is anticipated that a large number of people, potentially over 100,000, will still attend and remain in one location.