An official review by the government into the banning of pro-Palestinian marches is taking place after reports came from the MET of “extreme violence” from far-right and Hamas demonstrators onArmistice Day.
300,000 people rallied on November 11 to protest Israel’s missile attacks on the Gaza Strip. Police arrested 126 people, the majority of whom were far-right counter protestors.
Some of those protesting for a cease fire in Gaza surrounded senior cabinet minister Michael Gove at Victoria station yelling “shame on you” as he moved past the crowds of protestors.
In a post on X, formerly Twitter, the Tottenham Conservative Association condemned the Palestinian supporters confronting Gove: “Hate-filled mob storm towards Michael Gove at Victoria, only police protection avoiding a catastrophe. On today of all days when we hope for peace, this should not have been allowed to happen.”
The organisation on the same platform also showed footage of a member of the pro-Palestine march shouting “Death to all the Jews.”
Lord Wanley, a member of the review committee, criticised the current law, which states that protests can only be banned if there is a risk of serious disorder: “It is obvious that the marches are at the very least a factor in raising tension, increasing the number of anti-Semitic attacks and the culture of fear and intimidation to which Jewish people are being subjected.”
Former prime minister Boris Johnson said in a post on X that: “Almost 80 years after the end of the Second World War it is shocking to hear nakedly anti-Semitic chants on the streets of London today. There are people who plainly want to ignore the Hamas massacre of October 7.”
"They want to wipe Israel off themap. That is what they were chanting for today. They must not and will not succeed. I thank the police for all their efforts to keep people safe - but we must all do more, because an ancient hatred is rising again in Europe. It must be stamped out."
The former home secretary Suella Braverman had labelled previous pro Palestine marches as “hate crimes” and had criticised the MET for allowing the demonstrations to take place.
In an opinion piece for The Sunday Times, Braverman criticised the police for holding a “double standard” by condemning protests from far-right supporters but overlooking the “hate crimes” from pro-Palestinian marches.
Labour’s Shadow Home secretary, Yvette Cooper said according to a Financial Times piecethat Braverman was “deliberately inflaming community tensions in the most
dangerous way. It is highly irresponsible and dangerous. No other home secretary would ever have done this.”
Leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer told the Telegraph that: “Few people in public life have done more recently to whip up division, set the British people against one another and sow the seeds of hatred and distrust than Suella Braverman.”
Prime Minister Rushi Sunak has deposed Braverman from her role as home secretary because of her remarks and a cabinet reshuffle is taking place.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) documented footage on Twitter showing members of the pro-Palestinian march tearing down posters criticising Hamas. The video goes on to show some activists wearing Hamas headbands, and one demonstrator holding up a placard saying “Palestine is meant for the Palestinians, not the Jews.”
According to an article by the Guardian, the leader of the Free Palestine march and director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Ben Jamal, claimed that pro-Israeli supporters had cherry-picked isolated examples of antisemitism: “The message being delivered by these pro-Israel actors is that these isolated incidents prove that the march was pro-Hamas or an unsafe space for Jews.”
He admitted that “some of the placards shown and incidents captured are antisemitic,” but “the organisers, including PSC, would dissociate ourselves entirely” from such supporters of antisemitism: “We reject absolutely the attempt to suggest that they are indicative of our views or the vast majority of those marching.”
Sunak has also condemned both far-right protestors clashing with the police and members of the Palestine movement that support Hamas: “I condemn the violent, wholly unacceptable scenes we have seen today from the EDL (English Defence League) and associated groups and Hamas sympathisers attending the National March for Palestine.”
“That is true for EDL thugs attacking police officers and trespassing on the Cenotaph, and it is true for those singing anti-Semitic chants and brandishing pro-Hamas signs and clothing on today’s protest.”
He added that “the fear and intimidation the Jewish community have experienced over the weekend is deplorable” and that "the despicable actions of a minority of people undermine those who have chosen to express their views peacefully".
Footage from Sky News shows members of the English Defense League clashing with officers in Chinatown near Leicester Square chanting “You’re not English anymore”.
The leader of the far-right group, Tommy Robinson, joined the counter protestors in the march in central London.
Assistant Commissioner to the MET, Matt Twist, said that many of the counter protestors were intoxicated when the demonstrations began: "They arrived early, stating they were there to protect monuments, but some were already intoxicated, aggressive and clearly looking for confrontation."
One of the protestors, interviewed by the BBC, criticised the UK government for not doing enough to bring about a ceasefire: “What makes me really upset is that nothing is being done. There is no action, no substantial action being taken against the Israeli regime by our government.”
Pro Palestinians have also received racial abuse in London. A video released the day after Armistice Day on Instagram showed three males at London Waterloo calling the protestors “terrorist cunts” and accusing them of “causing riots”.
Far-right crowds were also seen near the Cenotaph, where the Armistice memorial took place, chanting “England” before charging at police.
Speaking to the Independent, a representative for the anti-fascism group Hope Not Hate said: “It’s quite a rag tag group of people – we are not sure what kind of numbers they might drum up. We don’t think it will the scale that the EDL could reach a couple of years ago.”
“But even in small numbers they could cause a big problem. They will be meeting in pubs and will be drinking beforehand. There is a real danger from these groups tomorrow.
“These groups are difficult to control and could head towards the march, even though they are saying they are going to protect the Cenotaph.”
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