Britain’s King Charles leads national tribute to fallen soldiers

Britain’s King Charles leads national tribute to fallen soldiers

Charles III has led the United Kingdom's national tribute to British soldiers who died in conflicts on Sunday, the day after the commemoration of the First World War armistice and a pro-Palestinian march which attracted some 300,000 supporters.

At 1100 local time (GMT), two minutes of silence were observed in ceremonies led in London by King Charles - for the first time since his coronation - Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and political leaders from all parties.

Nearly 10,000 veterans and thousands of Britons gathered to attend the ceremonies around the Cenotaph, the memorial dedicated to soldiers in the Whitehall district in the centre of the capital.

Downing Street highlighted in a statement the “unity” of the nation on this day “when communities come together to remember those who died in our name”.

“Recent events should remind us that we must not take for granted the peace we have fought hard for,” said Rishi Sunak, at a time when the war in Ukraine continues and a new conflict rages between Hamas and Israel.

On Saturday, in the same area, altercations had taken place between the police and nationalist demonstrators, who opposed the pro-Palestinian march.

Nevertheless, 300,000 people participated in the march mostly peacefully, according to the police.

Sunak, though, denounced the apparent presence of Hamas sympathisers as well as that of nationalist counter-protesters.

In total, police said they arrested 126 people among the counter-protesters and participants in the demonstration.

They indicated that they are investigating criminal acts of racial hatred and support for banned organisations during the march.

The government, and in particular the very conservative Home Secretary Suella Braverman, had put pressure on the police ahead of the demonstration, attracting criticism even among its own political party.