Britain’s most senior policeman says his force is determined to do whatever it takes to protect Armistice and Remembrance events in London this weekend in the face of planned pro-Palestinian protests.
Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said he and his senior officers would do “everything in our power to ensure they pass without disruption”.
WATCH HERE: Sir Mark Rowley issues statement ahead of Armistice Day
But Sir Mark has now confirmed that the protests will be allowed to go ahead because his force doesn’t currently believe there is a serious risk of violence.
He said: “The events taking place this weekend are of great significance and importance to our nation.
“I completely recognise the significant public and political concern about the impact of ongoing protest and demonstrations on this moment of national reflection.
“Therefore I am determined we will do everything in our power to ensure they pass without disruption.
The Cenotaph as pro-Palestine protesters verbally clash with Union flag waversGBN
“The laws created by Parliament are clear. There is no absolute power to ban protest, therefore there will be a protest this weekend.”
Sir Mark said that many people have called for the Met to use what powers they do have to ban the protests by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.
However, he insisted that despite evidence of an “escalation of violence and criminality by small groups attaching themselves to demonstrations….the intelligence surrounding the potential for serious disorder this weekend does not meet the threshold to apply for a ban.”
He made clear that while the organisers of the protests have promised to stay away from the Cenotaph and Whitehall, if that were to change, the Met will use all powers necessary to “protect locations and events of national importance at all costs”.
He also warned that if over the next few days the risks of the protests became too high, he wouldn’t hesitate to ask the Home Secretary to place a total ban on the demonstrations.