By John Ensor •
Updated: 11 Nov 2023 • 19:48
Remembrance Day counter-protest.
THE recent concerns about the Remembrance Day protests were well justified, however, the main cause of trouble has so far come from a counter-protest from far-right groups.
The Metropolitan Police had not one, but two issues to deal with, the main pro-Palestinian march and a group of counter-protesters, whom police said seemed intent on violence. The main aim of the police was to prevent the two groups from meeting thus avoiding any confrontations.
At 12:39 pm on Saturday, November 11, the Metropolitan Police issued an online statement: ‘While the two minutes’ silence was marked respectfully and without incident on Whitehall, officers have faced aggression from counter protestors who are in the area in significant numbers.
‘The counter protestors are not one cohesive group. There are different groups moving away from Whitehall towards other parts of central London. Officers are keeping track of them as they do. t
The message concluded: ‘If their intention is to confront the main protest departing later today from Park Lane, we will use all the powers and tactics available to us to prevent that from happening.’
The message met with criticism of the Met’s leadership, one person responded: ‘If you allow Jihadi chants on the streets without consequence it’s not a surprise when the underbelly of society shows itself 6 weeks later. It’s all awful. Wish your officers well but leadership is weak.’
Another person added: ‘As we are also paying our respect to those who died in the First World War. I’m reminded of the phrase “lions led by donkeys,” which seem to be apt in this instance.’
‘If you had done your job properly the first day terrorists marched in London, patriots wouldn’t have to be there today.’ said another controversial post.
Saturday’s major police operation has involved around 2000 police officers and will continue on through to Remembrance Sunday. Today police encountered far-right protesters chanting, ‘England ’til I die,’ and ‘You’re not English anymore,’ as well as being subjected to missiles thrown at them.
Police confirmed: ‘A group of counter protestors who left Whitehall and moved into Chinatown confronted and threw missiles at officers who tried to engage with them.
‘Additional officers have been deployed to the area to identify, locate and deal with those involved. Our priority is keeping the public safe. We will not tolerate disorder in central London today.’
They later added that officers, ‘were met with violence and abuse by counter protestors who threw bottles and other missiles at them. We will respond robustly to unacceptable aggression and disorder.’
Many individuals attempted to breach police lines, forcing police to use batons in order to keep protesters from advancing.
An update from the Met published at 3:44 pm confirmed: ‘Officers have arrested 82 people in Tachbrook Street, Pimlico to prevent a breach of the peace.
‘They’re part of a large group of counter protestors we have been monitoring who have tried to reach the main protest march. We will continue to take action to avoid the disorder that would likely take place if that happened.’
In contrast, Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist confirmed that the Pro-Palestinian march, the largest to date, had so far gone well without any signs of trouble, they were however still monitoring it very closely.
The latest update reported: ‘There is a remembrance event underway at the Cenotaph. Officers have prevented those not involved getting onto Whitehall so it can take place without disruption, as we committed.
‘They have faced unacceptable violence, including people throwing missiles and a metal barrier. Those using violence made no effort to use the pavement, which is open along the full length of Whitehall on one side, in order to watch the event taking place. They were solely intent on confronting officers.’
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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