Met Police Backtracks Decision to Ban Pro-Palestine March in Whitehall
Demonstrators will have speeches in Whitehall, the Met said on Friday, after refusing to support the inclusion of Whitehall in the route on Thursday.
The Metropolitan Police appears to have U-turned on a decision to not allow a pro-Palestine protest to reach Whitehall on Saturday, saying there will be speeches at the place.
The Met previously said it did not support the extension as the weekly march has been causing “serious disruption to Londoners.”
However, in a statement
published on Friday, The Met said demonstrators will “depart from Portland Place at noon, travelling through Regent Street, Haymarket, and Trafalgar Square before speeches take place in Whitehall.”
There will be “a substantial police presence in the West End” to ensure the event takes place safely and to minimise disruption to others, the force said.
The Met has imposed a number of conditions on the March, including the timing and the route. It’s also considering a ban on face coverings in the area and the use of other dispersal powers.
“We will deal swiftly with anyone who carries placards and banners or makes statements that cross the line into religiously or racially aggravated offences,” the statement reads.
It’s a clear shift from Thursday when a Met spokesman told The Epoch Times that the force didn’t “support a request to extend the march into Whitehall.
The “scale and frequency of marches is causing serious disruption to many Londoners,” he said at the time, adding that the force “must balance the rights of protestors with the rights of others.”
The decision was welcomed by Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), which spokesperson said “90 percent of British Jews say that they would avoid travelling to a city centre if an anti-Israel protest is taking place there.”