Crowds of demonstrators have been filmed chanting “you let your country down” and “England till I die” as they appeared to violently push through police lines just after the 11am commemoration of Armistice Day.
Police are preparing for hundreds of thousands of people arriving in a charged capital for what may be one of the largest demonstrations in British history.
Footage has emerged on X this morning of large groups of protesters seeming to attempt to push through barriers being held by police officers around Whitehall.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak asked for “unity” as tensions threaten to boil over between those marking Remembrance Day and those protesting in support of Palestine. His comments come following the Home Secretary claiming that the police had demonstrated favouritism towards the Palestine activists.
Concerns are high about counter-protests around the Cenotaph. Far-right poster boy Tommy Robinson has said on X that he intends to be in the area, but called on his supporters to remain respectful.
Scotland Yard will deploy nearly 2,000 officers across areas of central London. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said it will be a “really busy” weekend for policing.
On the eve of the mass protest, the Mr Sunak urged those taking to the streets to do so “respectfully and peacefully” and to respect Armistice Day.
In a statment Number 10 said: “This act of remembrance is fundamental to who we are as a country and I want to reassure those wishing to pay their respects, attend services and travel that they can and should do so”.
“It is because of those who fought for this country and for the freedom we cherish that those who wish to protest can do so, but they must do so respectfully and peacefully.
“Remembrance weekend is sacred for us all and should be a moment of unity, of our shared British values and of solemn reflection.”
His comments come after Suella Braverman sparked outrage among MPs across the House for claiming that the Met had demonstrated bias towards those supporting the Palestine. She had also made references to marches in Northern Ireland, causing concern across the political spectrum over the Irish Sea.
She said that the Palestine marches were not “merely a cry for help for Gaza,” but rather “an assertion of primacy by certain groups — particularly Islamists — of the kind we are more used to seeing in Northern Ireland.”
In Gaza today thousands of civilians are reportedly fleeing “hell on earth” conditions in the north of the enclave as fighting between Hamas and Israeli forces intensifies.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said he granted consent for transport police to make orders banning protests at three London railway stations so that people can travel “free from intimidation”.
He said in a statement: “Armistice Day is a moment of solemn national reflection in remembrance of those who have given their lives in service of our country. It’s important that people can use our rail network to safely travel, free from intimidation.”
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