Metropolitan Police to deploy more than 3,000 officers in London for a 'significant' weekend

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The Metropolitan Police is gearing up for what it calls a weekend of "national significance and importance" by rolling out a policing operation for central London.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday almost 2,000 officers from the Met Police and other UK forces will be on duty across central London on both days.

It said the ceremonial events taking place to mark Armistice Day, along with a protest march by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign will draw thousands as the country reflects and pays its respects.

The number of officers on duty across the weekend will be doublled to reflect their concern. On Saturday 1,850 will be on duty and 1,375 on Sunday.

The plan covers both Armistice and Remembrance events as well as a significant march by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

The Police said increasing tensions, and rising hate crimes and enhanced fear and anxiety within Jewish communities are heightened by protest events.

Since the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel on 7 October, they have made a total of 188 arrests involving hate crimes and acts such as violence, linked to protests in London.

Of these 98 are suspected anti-Semitic offences, 21 are alleged Islamophobic offences and a further 12 are believed to be faith hate crimes.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has been summoned for a meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Credit: James Manning/PA

They have listed the extensive set of powers they will use to prevent disruption to remembrance events, by policing the demonstration as it passes through parts of the capital, which include:

  • An exclusion zone will be put in place covering Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade, the Westminster Abbey Field of Remembrance and other relevant areas, in effect banning those on the march from these locations.

  • Anyone believed to be part of, or associated with, the pro-Palestinian demonstration trying to assemble in this area can be arrested. There will be metal barriers and officers in place to protect it.

  • The Cenotaph will have a dedicated 24 hour police presence which began on Thursday and will remain in place until the conclusion of remembrance events on Sunday.

  • Anyone taking part in the march must stick to the pre-agreed route which takes the march far away from Whitehall. The march and speeches must end at 17:00.

  • Protestors may not enter certain areas next to the US Embassy. They may not gather in the streets around the Israeli Embassy in High Street Kensington.

Pro-Palestine marches have been taking place for 4 weeks every Saturday. Credit: PA Images

The Metropolitan Police will also have a Section 60 and 60AA power in place covering parts of Westminster, Wandsworth and Lambeth between 10:00am on Saturday and 01:00am on Sunday.

This provides officers with additional powers to search anyone in the area for weapons and ask people to remove face coverings in order to prevent violence occurring.

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak has commented on the plans ahead of the weekend, saying:

"This weekend people across the United Kingdom will stand together in quiet reflection to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

“Following my meeting with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner earlier this week - and the Government’s engagement with police forces around the country – 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 to protect it for those travelling to pay their respects.

"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."