PM Rishi Sunak Urges ‘Tolerance and Respect’ Before London’s Gaza March

PM Rishi Sunak Urges 'Tolerance and Respect' Before London's Gaza March
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London (Parliament News) – PM Rishi Sunak urges ‘tolerance and respect’ before London’s Gaza march and counter-protest. Police prepare for large demonstrations as tensions rise. Antisemitism concerns heighten ahead of the event.

UK PM Rishi Sunak pleaded for “tolerance and respect” ahead of a pro-Gaza march and counter-demonstration in central London. The Prime Minister emphasised that the police had to “strike the right balance” between permitting people to “express their democratic views” while also keeping the capital safe.

How Is London Preparing for Pro-Palestinian Demonstrations?

Police are preparing for thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters and counter-demonstrators landing in central London on Saturday, as organisers called for the largest political rally in “UK history”.

Metropolitan Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley and senior officers held discussions with Jewish community groups after partners were encouraged to observe the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s “Stop Arming Israel” march.

What’s Rishi Sunak’s Message Ahead of Gaza March?

The Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman stated: “The Met are operationally independent and rightly so and it’s for them to handle these events and make sure that they are hitting the right balance between providing that people are safe and can say their democratic views freely, but at the same time it’s also vitally essential that London remains a safe and welcoming environment for everyone.

“The police have a tough job to do and they persist to do that..we see that each weekend. The Prime Minister would just persist in always reinforcing the importance of preserving the UK’s values which are of tolerance and consideration, and being welcome to all communities.

“But at the same time, it’s vital that they preserve people safe and prevent disorder and rightly take the firmest possible action where we see criminality or protests of hate, which we have sadly seen at some of these events in previous weeks.”

Why Did Gideon Falter’s Encounter Spark Controversy?

Tensions are running heightened since antisemitism campaigner Gideon Falter was intimidated with arrest as he repeatedly attempted to cross a pro-Gaza march in Aldwych two weeks ago.

An officer advised Mr Falter, who had been sporting a kippah, that his “openly Jewish” appearance threatened antagonising marchers calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. A reworked video of the encounter posted to social media flashed anger and calls for Sir Mark to resign. A longer version of the 13-minute exchange offers an officer repeatedly offering to accompany Mr Falter away from gatherings and across the road through a different route.

Mr Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, declared parts of London have become “no-go zones for Jews” and intends to turn up on Saturday with more than 1,500 allies.

He met Home Secretary James Cleverly on Thursday night to examine what more the Met and London Mayor Sadiq Khan should be accomplishing to ensure Jewish people are safe in the capital.

How Many Officers Will Police the PSC Rally?

Shortly thereafter Mr Cleverly said: “It will never be right for anyone of any religion to feel the need to stay away from anywhere in the public realm.”

Around 1,000 officers will police the PSC’s rally from Parliament Square to Hyde Park at midday pressing the British government to stop arms sales to Israel in “the biggest demonstration for Palestine in UK history”.

London protests have been held since Hamas’s brutal October 7 attack on southern Israel in which about 1,200 people were killed and 250 kidnapped, before the Israelis punished with months of attacks on the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding thousands.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.