Ministers hold emergency Cobra meeting to discuss impact of Israel-Hamas conflict on Britain
Ministers are today holding an emergency Cobra meeting to discuss the impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on Britain, as fears grow of clashes at a controversial pro-Palestine protest on Armistice Day.
Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden will chair the gathering of senior politicians, police chiefs and top officials this afternoon.
It will examine a ‘range of areas’ including how to address ‘important issues around community cohesion’.
More than 70,000 people expected to attend pro-Palestine protest on Armistice Day
More than 70,000 people are expected to flock to London on Saturday to rally 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.
There are now fears that the march will be confronted by members of the far-Right, with English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson writing on Twitter: ‘Saturday 11/11/11 London, your country needs you.’
Justice Secretary urges protesters to postpone march, but they vow to press on
Justice Secretary Alex Chalk had urged protesters including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to heed police calls to postpone the march, but today they vowed to press on.
Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley is facing growing pressure to call for a ban on the demonstration after Mr Dowden said he had ‘grave concerns’ about the event and Rishi Sunak called it ‘provocative and disrespectful’.
Prime Minister condemns alleged assault on veteran at pro-Palestine rally
Today, the Prime Minister also condemned an alleged assault on a veteran who was selling poppies during a pro-Palestine rally, calling it ‘repulsive’.
Jim Henderson, 78, said he was punched as he tried to leave Waverley Station in Edinburgh.
Mr Henderson, who said served in the Royal Corps of Signals, 32 Signal Regiment in Northern Ireland, claimed the assault happened during the rally while he ran a Poppyscotland stall at the station.
Far-Right activists try to exploit tension around Armistice Day march
Today, Tommy Robinson was among those exploiting tension around the Armistice Day march to try to rally his supporters.
In a ranting video, the far-Right activist – whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – spoke of ‘a mass of men who are willing to stand for their country’.
Independent reviewer of terror legislation warns of ‘extreme Right-wing terrorist backlash’
Jonathan Hall KC, the independent reviewer of terror legislation, has warned that there are concerns of ‘an extreme Right-wing terrorist backlash’ if Saturday’s demonstration against the conflict in the Middle East goes ahead.
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.
Former Met Police Commissioner slams pro-Palestine protest as ‘tone deaf’ and ‘insensitive’
This morning, former Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson slammed the pro-Palestine 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.’
Calls for protest to be banned on day of Remembrance, but organisers resist
Calls have been made for the protest to be banned on the day of Remembrance but members of the group organising the march – Friends of Al Aqsa – have resisted adding that it plans to uphold its ‘democratic freedoms including the right to protest’.
The group, who have now been urged by the Met Police and Home Secretary Suella Braverman to call off the march, previously said it had ‘no intention of marching on or near Whitehall’ adding that a decision had been made ‘in order to not interfere with the events at the Cenotaph’.
Met Police warn of ‘growing’ risk of violence and disorder from breakaway groups from the protest
Yesterday the London force warned of a ‘growing’ risk of violence and disorder from breakaway groups from the protest.