Britain : Maintaining a pro-Palestinian march despite government criticism

Britain : Maintaining a pro-Palestinian march despite government criticism

Government pressure on British police escalated on Wednesday to prevent a pro-Palestinian march scheduled to be held in London to coincide with the commemoration of Armistice Day.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that he would "hold accountable" the Metropolitan Police Chief for his decision to allow a pro-Palestinian march to take place this Saturday.

After meeting with London Police Chief Mark Rowley at the Prime Minister's Office, Sunak said in a statement that he had received assurances that the march would be held at a distance from the Armistice Day monument and would not affect the commemoration ceremony.

He stressed that Rawley pledged to reconsider his position if he received information about possible unrest.

Downing Street denied that it was "provoking a cultural war" by opposing the demonstration and pointed out that there was a risk of violence and unrest caused by opposition groups.

A spokesman for Sunak also denied trying to pressure the police chief, stating: “The Metropolitan Police is operationally independent and it is the job of the Prime Minister and the government to hold them to account for their approach.

Sunak's spokesman said: "I think given some of the individuals who were seen attending these rallies, I'm not sure we can fully trust that all individuals will act responsibly."

Tens of thousands are expected to demonstrate in the British capital to demand a ceasefire in the war that has been ongoing since October 7 between the Israeli army and the Hamas movement.

Sunak believed that the march on “Armistice Day” would be “provocative” and “disrespectful,” but the organizers resisted his appeals.

On the other hand, Mark Rowley previously considered that there was no justification to prevent the march organized by the “Stop the War Coalition” from taking place.

The British Prime Minister calls on Palestinian supporters to cancel a demonstration on “Armistice Day”
Rowley said banning a demonstration was "quite rare" and was a "last resort" when there was a high risk of unrest, adding that "the weekend's events are of great importance to our nation."

He continued, "We will do everything in our power to ensure that it happens without any disturbances."

Legal threshold and review

In this context, Health Minister Steve Barclay told Sky News: “There is a legal threshold, and the police chief believes that matters have not crossed this threshold to prevent demonstrations.

In turn, Culture Minister Lucy Fraser said in a radio interview that the police should keep the demonstration “under review.”

November 11 marks the anniversary of the end of fighting in World War I in 1914.

The protesters have not announced whether they intend to march on “Remembrance Sunday,” when official ceremonies and two minutes of silence are held at memorials across the country, but some fear that Saturday’s march will disrupt Sunday’s commemorations.

The organizers of the demonstration pledged to avoid the Whitehall area in central London, where the “Hollow Tomb” is located, which is considered a major center of remembrance.

London witnessed large demonstrations over four consecutive weekends since October 7, and the police carried out dozens of arrests during the London protests, on charges including committing “hate crimes.”

Interior Minister Suella Braverman described the demonstrations as "hate marches."

The war between Hamas and Israel has entered its second month since the start of Operation “Al-Aqsa Flood,” as the Israeli army continues to bomb the Gaza Strip in light of international fears of the expansion of the conflict in the Middle East.

Since last October 27, the scope of ground battles and direct confrontations has expanded between the Israeli army and fighters of the "Al-Qassam Brigades", the armed arm of the "Hamas" movement in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip announced that  the death toll had risen to 10,569, more than half of whom were children, while more than 26,400 others were injured .

On the Israeli side, more than 1,500 people were killed, including hundreds of soldiers, as Tel Aviv confirmed that the death toll among the army’s ranks exceeded 350 soldiers and officers, while according to the  Israeli Ministry of Health, more than 7,000 others were injured since October 7 .

Airbus Chairman: Freezing the deal to sell Eurofighter fighters to Saudi Arabia harms Germany's reputation

Airbus President Guillaume Faury said on Wednesday that Berlin's decision to freeze the sale of Eurofighter fighters to Saudi Arabia "harms Germany's reputation" and would harm its "credibility" vis-à-vis its partners.
In his remote intervention, during a conference on presenting the company's annual results, Faury stressed that Berlin's position is "harmful to Germany's reputation as an exporting country."

He added: "This creates an extremely difficult situation with the partner countries in the Eurofighter (programme) that have shown their desire to export" these aircraft, considering that the issue raises "an issue of trust and the credibility of Germany as a partner country in international programmes."

Although he indicated “a positive trend towards calming the situation,” Faury considered that “it is not proceeding according to the desired rhythm, at least the rhythm that we see as necessary at Airbus.”

He requested that "clear decisions be taken on this matter to enable the Eurofighter to be exported to Saudi Arabia."

Germany has frozen arms sales to Saudi Arabia since the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the end of 2018.

This decision prevents the implementation of the deal, which includes 48 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, the contract for which was signed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his previous visit to London.

In recent weeks, Riyadh asked the French company Dassault Aviation, the main competitor to Airbus, to review its offer for 54 Rafale fighter aircraft .

Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft are being produced within the framework of a program supervised by the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Spain, in which the arms companies BAE Systems and Leonardo participate, in addition to Airbus.
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