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Tensions Rise as UK Officials Clash Over Planned Palestinian Solidarity Protest

Monday, November 13, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak criticized pro-Palestinian protests scheduled for Armistice Day in London, deeming them "provocative and disrespectful." Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed concerns about potential desecration of the Cenotaph and war memorials during the planned march organized by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) on the 105th anniversary of the end of World War I. Security Minister Tom Tugendhat called the demonstration a "matter of great concern" and urged police intervention. The PSC, however, assured cooperation with law enforcement, denying plans to disrupt Remembrance events near Whitehall or the Cenotaph.

Metropolitan Police Commander Karen Findlay emphasized the organizers' commitment to avoiding interference with Remembrance activities and outlined plans for retrospective facial recognition to identify march participants. Despite denying political pressure, she asserted a responsive policing approach. Sunak, via social media, urged Home Secretary support for police actions to protect Armistice Day sanctity. Tugendhat, a military veteran, criticized the protest's timing, calling on authorities to assess available options.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said that Tugendhat was just acting and that only the home secretary could stop marches. The PSC criticized Sunak's comments as "deeply irresponsible," alleging a government attempt to suppress public support for Palestinian rights. Human Rights Watch UK Director Yasmine Ahmed deemed it a deplorable effort to portray compassion for Palestinians as incompatible with honoring British service members' sacrifices.

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