Rishi Sunak on pro-Palestinian London rally ‘provocative and disrespectful’
British police came under mounting government pressure to ban a pro-Palestinian rally scheduled to take place in London. UK PM Rishi Sunak called the protest against the Israel-Hamas war scheduled for Saturday this week “provocative and disrespectful” while organisers resisted pleas from the premier and London's Metropolitan Police to postpone the demonstration. Tens of thousands of people are expected to demand a ceasefire in the month-old conflict at the protest.
The UK police chief, Mark Rowley, said the rally does not meet the threshold for requesting a government order to stop it going ahead, as per news agency AFP.
Such a ban was "incredibly rare" and a "last resort" where there is a serious threat of disorder, he said, adding, "The events taking place this weekend are of great significance and importance to our nation. We will do everything in our power to ensure they pass without disruption."
Rishi Sunak will meet the police chief on Wednesday but ministers in the government suggested that the commissioner should think again.
There is a legal threshold and the commissioner is of the view that that legal threshold has not been met," Health Secretary Steve Barclay told Sky News, adding, "Obviously, the Home Office and colleagues will discuss that over the course of the day.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said that the police should keep the protest "under review".
London has seen large demonstrations on four successive weekends since the Hamas attacks in southern Israel on October 7 which Israel says left 1,400 people dead, mostly civilians. The health ministry in Gaza said that more than 10,550 people have been killed.