Police and Pro-Palestinian groups are at loggerheads over plans to hold a demonstration on Armistice Day in London.  

The Met Police have called for the march to be postponed, saying it was “not appropriate” during a meeting earlier this week. 

But the coalition of groups, which includes Stop the War and the Muslim Association of Britain, insisted they would press ahead. 

Why are there protests?  

Demonstrations have been held in cities around the UK calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. 

Ever since the Israel was attacked on October 7, and responded by bombing Gaza, groups have taken to the streets to call for peace and condemn the violence.  

The marches are stridently supportive of the Palestinian cause and opposed to Israeli military intervention.  

READ MORE: Poll shows Labour discontent with Starmer over Israel-Gaza stance

Although there have been a few arrests, the marches – attended by tens of thousands of people, have passed off peacefully.  

The Herald: Trouble breaks out in London

Why would Armistice Day be an issue?  

The Met Police have said they are concerned protests on Saturday could spill over into disorder.  

A major concern is that the Cenotaph could become a flashpoint, although the route of the march does not go past it.  

Police are concerned that breakaway groups from the march will target the area.  

The Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, which is usually attended by members of the royal family, will take place on Saturday, with a two-minute silence at 11am. 

Remembrance Sunday events will take place at the Cenotaph in Westminster the following day. 

What have the Met said?  

Mer Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan, who leads public order policing in the English capital, said: “The risk of violence and disorder linked to breakaway groups is growing. 

“This is of concern ahead of a significant and busy weekend in the capital. 

“Our message to organisers is clear: please, we ask you to urgently reconsider. It is not appropriate to hold any protests in London this weekend.” 

The Herald:

What have organisers said?  

The organisers of the protest said they were “deeply concerned” by the Met statement. 

They said the force could not provide “any evidence” for why the risk of breakaway groups engaging in criminal activity would be any greater. 

The organisers added: “We recognise the political pressure being placed on the police by the Government and right-wing political groups. 

“However, we emphasise that they had and have a responsibility to withstand that pressure and act to uphold democratic freedoms. 

“We will be holding a protest on Saturday and we invite all people of conscience to join us in peacefully marching as planned.” 

READ MORE: Armistice Day pro-Palestinian marches should go ahead - Yousaf

Lindsey German, of Stop the War, previously described the Met Police intervention as a “denial of our civil liberties”, and said organisers were “determined to go ahead”. 

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has pledged to avoid the Whitehall area where the Cenotaph is located. 

The planned route goes from Hyde Park – about a mile from the Cenotaph – to the US embassy in Vauxhall, south of the Thames. 

The Herald:

Has there been a response from the Government?  

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been a staunch critic of the marches. She welcomed the Met’s statement. 

“The hate marchers need to understand that decent British people have had enough of these displays of thuggish intimidation and extremism,” she said, echoing her statement from last week, where she said there is “an obvious risk of serious public disorder, violence and damage, as well as giving offence to millions of decent British people” if protests go ahead on Armistice Day. 

Earlier, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said police have the Government’s “absolute and total backing” to tackle criminality and maintain order. 

The Home Secretary chaired a meeting on Monday morning to discuss police plans for protests over the next few months, including the potential risk of further escalation. 

What’s the view from Scotland?  

Humza Yousaf has said plans forthe marches should go ahead, and that he was “beyond angry” at the UK Government’s response. 

The First Minister said describing them as “hate marches” is “unacceptable”. 

Speaking to journalists in Dundee on Monday, Mr Yousaf was asked if he supported the march going ahead, saying: “Absolutely. I understand (the march) is taking place after the minute silence that we will all undoubtedly observe, I hear it’s not going anywhere near Whitehall or, indeed, the Cenotaph. 

“And, of course, if Armistice was about anything, my goodness, it’s about peace.” 

He added: “I am beyond angry at the Home Secretary and the UK Government who seem to want to drive every issue into a culture war. 

“Describing those marches as hate marches is disgraceful, unacceptable. 

“Yes, in every single march, I’m afraid you’ll get one or two idiots who will do and say something that we all universally condemn, but to describe those hundreds of thousands in London, in cities across the UK, including here in Scotland, as full of hate or hate marches is completely unacceptable.