Sir Mark Rowley said the legal threshold to ban the demonstrations on Saturday had not been met as “Remembrance events will not be disturbed”.
Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis slammed the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, saying: “Mark Rowley is not being brave enough to make the decision.
“You have to assume it is because he is scared and/or trying to dodge saying no to the ‘protests’, because he worries it would be seen as ‘controversial’ from a vocal minority on social media. Very weak.”
The Scotland Yard chief must ask Home Secretary Suella Braverman to ban the protests if he feels his force will be overwhelmed by disorder linked to marches. But Sir Mark said: “The Remembrance events will not be disturbed. Whatever protests and events go on, we will do our utmost to protect those because they are so critical.”
Organisers of a pro-Palestinian rally set for Armistice Day have refused to postpone the event – despite the PM warning it would be “disrespectful”.
An emergency meeting was held yesterday between senior ministers, police chiefs and MI6 commanders to form a plan over growing fears of public disorder should Saturday’s protest go ahead.
Members of far-Right groups are reportedly planning to descend on London with the aim of opposing the expected 100,000 protest crowd calling for an Israeli ceasefire in its bombardment of Gaza.
Demonstration organisers have claimed Ms Braverman is stoking divisions by branding the protests “hate marches”. The PM’s spokesman said Rishi Sunak did not see all the protests held in recent weeks as “hate marches”, but pointed to language from some protesters that was “frankly terrifying” for Jewish communities.
The spokesman said: “We saw some evidence of hateful behaviour at the marches, including arrests for inciting racial hatred.
“But obviously it remains the case rightly that people are able to, peacefully, within the law, express their views.
“The Prime Minister himself does not think it’s right for these sorts of protests to be scheduled on Armistice Day. He believes that is provocative and disrespectful.
“Should memorials be desecrated or should we see some of the instances of racial hatred for which there were arrests at the weekend be expressed on these days, I think that would be an affront to the
Ben Jamal, the director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a key organiser of the mass London protests, has refused to
back down. He said: “There are absolutely no legitimate grounds for a ban.
“Some time ago, we indicated that on the 11th we would not be going anywhere near the Cenotaph. We knew that would be inappropriate.
“It would be a serious threat to the right to protest and to freedom of expression if a march were to be banned without overwhelming evidence of a significant threat of public disorder.
“All of the marches have produced no such evidence and the police have again been unable to produce such evidence. In fact, they affirmed to us that these were very well organised.”
Meanwhile, the Cenotaph’s flags have now been reinstated having been taken down for a clean ahead of Armistice Day.
The Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, which is usually attended by royalty, will take place on Saturday, with a two-minute silence at 11am.
- Rochdale’s Cenotaph in Greater Manchester is under police guard after “Free Palestine” was painted across it yesterday afternoon. Two teenagers, who cannot be named, have been charged.