Amid the discord generated by the Gaza conflict, a plea was issued yesterday to concentrate on what is most important – that the British public comes together today to honour the fallen.
Mr Sunak called for respect, calm and solemn reflection across Remembrance weekend.
He said: “People across the United Kingdom will stand together in quiet reflection to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“Veterans, loved ones of those who gave their lives for their country and many more of us will want to honour this.
“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. The police assure us they are taking all steps to ensure Remembrance services are safeguarded from any protests.
“Protests will only be permitted far away from Remembrance events, and the Cenotaph in Whitehall – the abiding symbol of Remembrance – has been placed in an exclusion zone and will be guarded around the clock.
“We have also taken steps to ban a number of protests planned for train stations, which were only designed to disrupt and intimidate.
“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.”
The PM added: “Above all, this weekend should be about the selfless bravery of our armed forces. We shall remember them.”
Hundreds of thousands of marchers are heading to central London today to urge a ceasefire after Israel’s response to deadly attacks by Hamas terrorists last month.
But the pro-Palestine demo clashes with Armistice Day, when people mark the moment that the First World War ended. There are also fears of counter-protests, particularly around the Cenotaph.
Former Yeoman Warder Crawford Butler said: “It’s the wrong time for the two events to run side by side.Remembrance weekend is sacrosanct to our way of life and that’s how it should be.
“There’s other times where they can do their protests.”
Crawford, 74, whose brother and father also served in the forces, spent yesterday at the Horsham War Memorial in West Sussex selling poppies on behalf of the Royal British Legion.
D-Day veteran John Roberts had sympathy for the marchers but he echoed Crawford’s sentiments. He said: “They should have left Armistice Day. The people who want to remember Palestine should do it on another day. They should show respect but I don’t think they should march on that day.”
John, 99, from Whitstable, Kent joined the Navy in 1941 and served on the destroyer HMS Serapis, escorting minesweepers as crews cleared routes to the Normandy beaches for landing craft.
People all over the UK will today observe a two-minute silence at 11am to remember all those who have died in war. There will be a service of commemoration at the Cenotaph from 11am to 11.25am, including the laying of wreaths and a bugler playing The Last Post.
Afghan war veteran Col Richard Kemp said: “This is the one time of year that our country pays its respects to those who gave everything for our freedom and way of life. It is essential that their memory is not insulted by disruption to these solemn events. The police must do everything necessary to ensure there are no clashes.”
More than 2,000 officers from the Met and other forces will be on duty for a “significant” operation for Armistice and Remembrance events, as well as the march by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Veterans minister Johnny Mercer said: “We have worked really hard, worked closely with the police and others to make sure that there is no risk of any disruption around the Cenotaph. People should come to London, it is really important, particularly our elderly veterans.”
A row had erupted this week as Home Secretary Suella Braverman accused the Met of “playing favourites” in allowing the march.
No10 aides said Mr Sunak wanted to ensure that the Home Office and other departments work “closely together” but chose not to repeat her criticised language. They repeatedly declined to say if he had spoken to Mrs Braverman.
Angry Tory MPs urged him to fire her and there are fears that her comments may trigger “splinter” protests. Education minister Robert Halfon said Mrs Braverman has a “unique way of expressing herself” but would not say if he agreed with her assessment of police bias.
The Royal British Legion said: “We respect the right of people to protest within the law and we hope Remembrance events can go ahead …without disruption.”