Palestinian Supporters March Through London on Armistice Day
Over 300,000 Palestinian supporters marched through London on November 11, Britain’s Armistice Day, calling for an end to Israel’s counteroffensive in Gaza. The Metropolitan Police arrested more than 145 protesters. Most of them, however, were counterprotesters—demonstrating against the Palestinian rally.
Ties to Hamas: The pro-Palestinian protest was one of the largest political marches in Britain’s history. It was organized by six groups, four of which have leaders with ties to Hamas:
- The Palestine Solidarity Campaign
- Friends of al-Aqsa
- Muslim Association of Britain
- Palestinian Forum for Britain
Sloganeering: Stretching over a span of about 2.5 miles, marchers sang the refrain, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Referring to the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, this slogan calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.
They also chanted “Israel is a terrorist state,” while carrying signs that read, “Free Palestine,” “Stop the Massacre,” and “Stop bombing Gaza.” Some even compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Hitler and likened Gaza to a concentration camp.
A few miles away, in central London, Armistice Day events were held, and citizens paid their respects to fallen soldiers at London’s war memorials.
‘Hate marches’: In the week prior to the march, Home Secretary Suella Braverman urged the Met Police to ban the protest out of respect for the memorial day and to prevent any disruption to ceremonies. She called the Palestinian protests “hate marches,” and said that Armistice Day is of “profound national significance” and should be treated with solemnity.
The Met Police refused to ban the march. Though London’s police have outlawed protests in the past, Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said, “There is no absolute power to ban protest.”
While he promised to protect Armistice Day sites and events, Rowley called the Palestinian rally a “static gathering of people” and said it was not threatening enough to necessitate banning.
Counterprotests: Some citizens were unhappy with the Met’s decision and took it on themselves to defend London’s memorial sites.
Around 1,000 counterprotesters took to the streets to confront the Palestinian protesters. Counterprotesters surrounded memorial sites and tried to make their way to the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London’s main war memorial.
But police stopped them.
Officers tried to block counterprotesters from reaching the Cenotaph, but protesters forced their way through the barriers. Confrontations grew violent, police beat protesters off with batons, and many were arrested for “breach of peace.”
Braverman fired: After the events on Armistice Day, Braverman was blamed for inciting the counterprotests. She was accused of reviling British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s authority by saying Met Police had “double standards” and were usually easy on pro-Palestinian marchers but tough on right-wing demonstrators.
On Monday, November 13, Sunak removed Braverman as interior minister. In her place, he appointed James Cleverly, a more centrist politician.
Anti-Semitism: Anti-Semitism is growing in the West. It is getting to the point where it is institutionalized in Western governments.
To understand why there is so much support for Palestine and so little sympathy for Israel, read “The One Minority Society Loves to Hate.”