Met has ‘locally led’ London policing plan for expected pro-Palestine protests

1 December 2023, 19:14

Israel-Hamas conflict
Israel-Hamas conflict. Picture: PA

Protests are expected in 13 London boroughs on Saturday.

Scotland Yard has said a “locally led police plan” is in place across London this weekend to deal with protests expected “in around 13 boroughs” on Saturday after the Israel-Hamas ceasefire ended.

There are no plans for any stand-alone central London demonstrations of the sort seen over the past two months, but a number of smaller events are planned, the Metropolitan Police has said.

Police previously said there were 300,000 people on the Pro-Palestine march in London on November 11, although organisers estimated there was “more than 800,000”.

On its website, Stop the War Coalition urges supporters to “join an action in your local area to call for a permanent ceasefire now”, with protests planned in areas including Camden, Redbridge, Newham, Enfield, Hounslow, Islington, Lewisham, Southwark and Wimbledon.

Other rallies are planned in Harrow, Kilburn and Tottenham, according to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

The Metropolitan Police has said each event will be “locally policed, with additional officers from our pan-London public order policing teams available to provide support as required”.

Grieving family members whose loved ones have been killed in the conflict will also lead a vigil outside Downing Street on Sunday “for all those suffering” because of the most recent outbreak of fighting.

The event, called Building Bridges, together for Humanity, will see faith leaders and politicians join grieving families “in the first mass event of its kind” since Hamas militants entered Israel on October 7.

Just Stop Oil has also planned a “mass march” through London on Saturday “in solidarity with the innocent climate prisoners”, following its spate of recent “slow marches”.

The Met’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Andy Valentine, gold commander for the weekend, said: “We know that the impact of the conflict in the Middle East continues to be felt here in London, in particular by Jewish and Muslim communities.

“The ceasefire that has held for the past week has now ended which will renew concerns and fears in those communities most directly affected.

“Officers will keep this in mind as we approach another weekend of protest.

“While the scale of the events will be reduced in comparison to previous weeks, our policing approach to protest will be unchanged.

“We will continue to recognise the right to protest, however, that must be done lawfully.

“Officers will approach these events with a positive and decisive attitude, we will not hesitate to take action where antisocial behaviour, hate crime or expressions of support for proscribed organisations take place.

“We are taking a locally led approach but we have put plans in place that mean there are plenty of additional resources available to support officers if needed.”

In addition to the locally led events related to the conflict in the Middle East, the Met said it is also preparing for further JSO protests.

It said that has “arrested JSO activists on 649 occasions, with 338 charges secured so far” since the “start of their latest campaign of disruption” on October 30.

By Press Association

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