Fears are growing that members of the far-Right will clash with protesters during a pro-Palestinian march planned to take place on Armistice Day.
About pending Status 11/11/11 London demonstration
More than 70,000 people are expected to flock to London on Saturday to protest against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza – a few hours after a two-minute silence will be held at the Cenotaph for fallen servicemen and women.
Metropolitan Police chief Sir Mark Rowley was last night facing growing pressure to call for a ban on the demonstration after Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said he had ‘grave concerns’ about the event.
Justice Secretary Alex Chalk urged pro-Palestinian groups to heed the call from the Met Police to postpone the march while Prime Minister Rishi Sunak referred to the plans as ‘provocative and disrespectful’.
Fears gripping some communities
Now there are fears that the march will be confronted by members of the far-Right – with English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson rallying his likeminded peers to join him on Saturday.
Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, wrote on X Monday shortly after he was reinstated to the social media platform: ‘Saturday 11/11/11 London, your country needs you.’
In a ranting video, Robinson spoke of ‘a mass of men who are willing to stand for their country’.
The tirade came after Jonathan Hall KC, the independent reviewer of terror legislation, warned that there were concerns of ‘an extreme Right-wing terrorist backlash’ if Saturday’s demonstration against the conflict in the Middle East goes ahead.
What the demonstration could signify?
Mr Hall warned that Islamists had used a previous Remembrance Day protest as a ‘recruitment method’.
He added that the demonstration had been used to ‘de-legitimise soldiers’, which was later seen when Fusilier Lee Rigby was murdered in 2013.
It comes as the Prime Minister has warned that any desecration of monuments or incidents of racial hatred would be an ‘affront to the public’.
Tuesday morning, former Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson slammed the protest as ‘tone deaf’ and ‘insensitive’.
He told LBC: ‘I do think it’s hugely regrettable that organisations think it’s appropriate to march on this particular date on this weekend… At the very least, it would seem to me to be tone deaf and somewhat insensitive.’