Extra police drafted in with tens of thousands of protesters to attend UK marches

Up to 100,000 people are expected to join a pro-Palestine rally in London

Policing will be robust, with trained spotters watching out for ‘hate placards’ and chants. EPA
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest on Israel-Gaza

Extra police and volunteer stewards are being drafted in ahead of protest marches in London at the weekend that will attract about 140,000 people.

Deputy assistant commissioner Ade Adelekan, who is in charge of policing for the rallies, welcomed the extra stewards committed by protest organisers as he announced more than 1,500 police officers would be on duty.

He said the war in Gaza and Israel has stoked fears among London’s Muslim and Jewish populations.

About 100,000 people are expected to march from Park Lane to Whitehall for a pro-Palestine rally. A second march, organised by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, is expected to attract between 40,000 to 50,000 people and start at the Royal Courts of Justice.

There will also be a protest organised by Hizb-ut-Tahrir outside the Egyptian embassy.

“The conflict in the Middle East is continuing and here in London we are still seeing the cumulative impact of continued protest, increasing tensions, and rising hate crime,” Mr Adelekan said.

“That fear and anxiety is particularly felt by our Jewish and Muslim communities. We know a lot more about the cumulative impact of these protests than we did seven weeks ago and that is reflected in our approach.”

Policing will be robust, with trained spotters watching for illegal actions, including “hate placards” and chants.

Police will use technology to identify and track offenders within the large groups of people.

More than 1,500 officers will be on duty at the weekend, including 500 from outside London.

“We’ve been working positively with organisers, including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, to ensure everyone taking part in protests clearly understands our expectations,” Mr Adelekan said.

“We are very pleased that the PSC has brought in extra stewards and that they’ve agreed to be clear in their communications about how supporters must behave.

“As you would expect, this sets out that anyone who is racist or incites hatred against any group should expect to be arrested. As should anyone who supports Hamas or any other banned organisation.

“We will not tolerate anyone who celebrates or promote acts of terrorism – such as the killing or kidnap of innocent people – or who spreads hate speech. ”

Mr Adelekan said chants using the word “jihad” were causing upset and concern in the Jewish community but were “always contextual”.

Asked about reports that far-right activist Tommy Robinson could attend the protest, Mr Adelekan said he was “not welcome” at the march and would be engaged by officers.

Mr Robinson was seen among the crowds of counter-protesters who clashed with police during protests held on Armistice Day this month.

Updated: November 25, 2023, 6:14 AM