MIL-OSI Security: Police prepare to minimise disruption caused by Saturday’s protest march

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Source: United Kingdom London Metropolitan Police

Hundreds of officers will be on duty tomorrow throughout a march organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Demonstrators will depart from Portland Place at noon, travelling through Regent Street, Haymarket and Trafalgar Square before speeches take place in Whitehall.

There will be a substantial police presence in the West End to ensure the event takes place safely and that disruption to others is kept to a minimum.

The vast majority of those joining protests have done so in a lawful and peaceful way but a minority have broken the law and arrests have been made.

We will deal swiftly with anyone who carries placards and banners or makes statements that cross the line into religiously or racially aggravated offences.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Ward, who is leading the policing operation, said: “We respect the right of people to protest, but other Londoners and visitors have rights as well.

“I understand the cumulative impact of repeated protests since October on businesses, residents and those who want to travel into the West End.

“Getting the balance between competing rights can be difficult, but we will do it independently, impartially and always within the law.”

Our approach

We will not compromise on enforcing the law. Those who cross the line should expect to be dealt with.

We are considering using legislation which enables officers to ask individuals to remove face coverings.

Officers will be on the lookout for offensive placards and banners. Teams monitoring the protest by CCTV will seek to identify other offences or locate suspects.

Our first priority is to apprehend suspects immediately, but if this is not possible due to dense crowds we will seek to identify and locate them as soon as possible.

There will be a highly visible police presence with road closures in place for the safety of those taking part. Any closures will be lifted as soon as it is safe to do so to minimise disruption.

Leaflets will be distributed setting out clear guidance to those taking part on the sort of behaviour that is likely to lead to arrest. Digital versions are available below.

Conditions

Conditions have been imposed on people taking part in the “National March for Palestine” public procession on Saturday under section 12 of the Public Order Act 1986.

– Participants of the procession must not assemble at Portland Place (the area shaded blue on Map 1 attached) before 11am.

– The procession must have commenced proceeding along the prescribed route no later than 1pm and anyone participating must not deviate from the route (see Map 2 attached).

– Participants must proceed along the prescribed route and not form up into static assemblies within the route.

Further conditions have also been imposed under section 14 of the Public Order Act.

– Participants of the assembly must remain within the area shaded blue on Map 3 (attached)

– All speeches (whether addressed to assembly participants or others) taking place as part of the assembly must end no later than 5pm.

– The assembly must end no later than 5.30pm.

– Any person participating in the “National March for Palestine Protest” must not assemble in the area shaded in blue on Map 4 (attached).

UPDATE

As part of police plans to minimise disruption and reduce the risk of anti-social behaviour for Londoners during the March for Palestine tomorrow a Section 60AA has been authorised by DAC Ward from 1000 on Saturday 3/2/24 until 0100 on Sunday, 4/2/24 in Westminster.

The law enables officers to have the discretion to ask individuals to remove face coverings, but does not refer to religious face coverings.

This media release was corrected to make clear section 60AA gives officers the power to compel people to remove face coverings if they believe they are concealing their identity. It does not prohibit face coverings.

MIL Security OSI