London protests: 700 Met officers on duty to police to pro-Palestinian march and counter demo

Hundreds took part in an earlier march in central London organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (Jeff Moore/PA) (PA Wire)
Hundreds took part in an earlier march in central London organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (Jeff Moore/PA) (PA Wire)

Hundreds of Met officers are being drafted into central London today to police two competing Gaza war marches.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is holding the rally from noon on Saturday, while there is expected to be a counter-protest by a group called Enough is Enough.

The Met also faces having to contend with a potential Just Stop Oil event in the capital, while they will also form a presence at Wimbledon where third round games will be played.

Around 700 officers will be on duty to police the protests, the force said.

In a statement, the Met said it was using powers to place conditions on the protests to "ensure we minimise serious disruption to the community and balance the rights of all".

Superintendent Martin Kirby, who is leading policing in London this weekend, said: "As always the goal is to protect the right to peaceful protest while minimising the impact of these events, including on London's Jewish communities.

"Police do not have the power to ban protests unless there is a risk of serious disorder.

"We have been liaising with the PSC throughout this week and will have a significant number of officers on duty to maintain law and order.

"Officers will be on hand to ensure the events pass off without issue and will step in to deal with any crime or disorder should it occur.

"We will be visible and engaging with those involved in the events and if you see anything of concern we would ask you to talk to officers in the area."

The force said that since October it has used conditions under the Public Order Act "more extensively than during any other period of protest in recent memory".

These have been in relation to the route, duration, start and finish times, details of any static assemblies and the ability of those involved to get near "sensitive sites or into communities where fears are most heightened".

The Palestinian campaign march is expected to will form up in Russell Square between noon and 1pm.

Protesters will follow a route down Southampton Row, Kingsway, Aldwych and into Victoria Embankment, stopping just short of Portcullis House for speeches.

Pro Palestine protesters outside the Marshall building at the London School of Economics on June (Jacob Freedland/PA) (PA Wire)
Pro Palestine protesters outside the Marshall building at the London School of Economics on June (Jacob Freedland/PA) (PA Wire)

The force has drawn up some strict guidelines about attending the event which include:

- Any person participating in the PSC and coalition partners' procession must not deviate from the route shown on the associated map.

- Any person participating in the PSC and coalition partners' rally must remain within the area indicated in red on the associated map.

- The PSC and coalition partners' stage may only be set up in Embankment in the place shaded blue on the associated map.

- The PSC and coalition partners' rally must conclude by 5.30pm.

It is believed Enough is Enough plans a static protest close to the route of the PSC march, the Met said.

Participants must not gather before noon and must remain in the area on the Strand indicated on the map.

The Met has also imposed conditions on Just Stop Oil after information that suggests the eco campaign group may be planning an event on Saturday.