We thank you for your service (in disrupting support for Palestine)

The 11th November march to end hostilities in Gaza may be seeing an increased police presence, as the government warns protesters not to march on Remembrance Sunday.

One-hundred and five years ago, the prelude to negotiations to end the First World War began: ‘The War to end all wars’. If only that were true. The list of dead soldiers continues to grow, as does the number of civilians caught in the crossfire. Whilst many will be commemorating Remembrance Sunday for the dead British soldiers of the past, those trying to end the Palestine conflict of the present may be forced off the streets. Scotland Yard has strongly suggested that the Met will be enacting a ban to prevent protestors taking to the streets on the 11th.

A commander in the Met Police Force has stated that this is due to the national significance this day has in the UK and Commonwealth countries: “Thousands of officers will be deployed in an extensive security operation and we will use all powers and tactics at our disposal to ensure that anyone intent on disrupting it will not succeed.”

Not the only official to make statements, the unofficially elected Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, as well as the Home Secretary, have encouraged an increased policing presence and authority with plans to arrest protesters. Sunak, who has time and time again affirmed his and the government’s support for the illegal occupation of Palestine, called the 11th November demonstration ‘provocative and disrespectful’. It is certainly ironic that the leader of the Conservative Party should talk about disrespect in regard to honouring veterans, when his own party has seen an increase in waiting times for veterans seeking mental health services. While Sunak seems quite happy to spend money on war, his party seems to care very little for soldiers after they’ve served.

It’s unfortunate that Sunak is not without support in his state of ignorance. The Telegraph has gone all-out to declare the pro-Palestine marches as marches supporting antisemitism, referring to protesters as ‘extremists’ and the movement not one to free Palestine but to ‘end Israel itself’.

The head organiser of the march, Ben Jamal, who is with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, insisted that there would be no clash with the two minutes of silence at 11:00 on Armistice Day and that any narrative that suggested a disruption to Remembrance Sunday is entirely inaccurate:

“The attempts to frame the planned national demonstration on Saturday, November 11, part of a cycle of weekly marches calling for a ceasefire, as disrespectful to Remembrance Day commemorations is at best misinformed and at worse an incitement to public disorder.”

The 11th November march is scheduled to go ahead as planned – it will assemble at 12pm in Hyde Park and the US Embassy. The march, as with previous marches, will be peaceful and will see thousands calling for a ceasefire and an end to the bombing of Gaza where the death total has now passed 10,000.

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