Rishi Sunak condemns 'violent, wholly unacceptable' scenes at Armistice Day

Rishi Sunak

Remembrance weekend LIVE: Rishi Sunak condemns 'violent, wholly unacceptable' scenes at Armistice Day

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Oliver Trapnell

By Oliver Trapnell

Published: 11/11/2023

- 08:34

Updated: 11/11/2023

- 21:54

As many as 500,000 people could converge in London to attend the pro-Palestinian march

Rishi Sunak has condemned the "violent, wholly unacceptable" scenes that erupted at Armistice Day today.

Fighting erupted on the streets of London today as hundreds of screaming Britons were heard chanting "England 'til I die" in a counter protest to the pro-Palestinian march.

Footage on social media shows the moment police were forced to use batons to hit back protesters as they breached police lines.

A large crowd of people were seen walking along Embankment just minutes before the two-minute silence.

In a statement, Rishi Sunak said: “I condemn the violent, wholly unacceptable scenes we have seen today from the EDL and associated groups and Hamas sympathisers attending the National March for Palestine. The despicable actions of a minority of people undermine those who have chosen to express their views peacefully.

WATCH HERE: 'UNPRECEDENTED' risk with Pro-Palestine protests on Armistice Day

“Remembrance weekend is a time for us to come together as a nation and remember those who fought and died for our freedoms. What we have seen today does not defend the honour of our Armed Forces, but utterly disrespects them.

“That is true for EDL thugs attacking police officers and trespassing on the Cenotaph, and it is true for those singing antisemitic chants and brandishing pro-Hamas signs and clothing on today’s protest. The fear and intimidation the Jewish Community have experienced over the weekend is deplorable.

“All criminality must be met with the full and swift force of the law. That is what I told the Met Police Commissioner on Wednesday, that is what they are accountable for and that is what I expect.

“I will be meeting the Met Police Commissioner in the coming days.”

It comes as Met Police have warned they will use force to control demonstrations occurring on Armistice Day as thousands of activists are set to march through the streets of London.

Two thousand officers from the Met and other forces will be on duty across the capital for the whole of Remembrance weekend in what has been described as a major policing operation.

Protesters have been banned from the area around the Cenotaph in Whitehall as officers will form a “ring of steel” around the Remembrance monument.

Police chiefs say that anyone “believed to be part of, or associated with, the pro-Palestinian demonstration trying to assemble in this area can be arrested”.

Earlier this week, Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley vowed to do “everything in our power to ensure they pass without disruption”.

He said: “The events taking place this weekend are of great significance and importance to our nation.

“I completely recognise the significant public and political concern about the impact of ongoing protest and demonstrations on this moment of national reflection.

“Therefore I am determined we will do everything in our power to ensure they pass without disruption.

“The laws created by Parliament are clear. There is no absolute power to ban protest, therefore there will be a protest this weekend.”



10.00pm update: This blog is now closed

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9.43pm update: Sadiq Khan blasted over Armistice Day statement

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been blasted for his statement on Armistice Day.

In a message paying tribute to the Met Police, Khan said the events today by protesters and counter protesters were “unacceptable”.

He said: “I'd like to pay tribute to the Met Police who have dealt with a very difficult day with exceptional professionalism.

“The overwhelming majority of people who used their democratic right to protest on the streets of London today did so peacefully.

“Sadly however, we have seen far-right thugs attacking the police and some who have used the pro-Palestinian protest to spread hate and racism, including antisemitism.

“This is unacceptable as is attempting to intimidate politicians.

“The far-right have clearly been encouraged and emboldened by what they have heard this week, including from senior politicians like the Home Secretary.

“I hope everyone takes the time to reflect on the impact their words and actions can have on others.

“The Met have my full support in taking action, without fear or favour, against those who broke the law.

“I continue to support them in taking a zero-tolerance approach against anyone found committing violent offences or spreading hate.”

GB News' Patrick Christys simply replied: “The absolute nerve of this guy.”

9.12pm update: Boris Johnson hits out at 'shocking' antisemitic chants

Boris Johnson has hit out at the horror chants that erupted today during the pro-palestinian march, and called for hatred to be stamped out.

He said: “Almost 80 years after the end of the Second World War it is shocking to hear nakedly anti-Semitic chants on the streets of London today.

“There are people who plainly want to ignore the Hamas massacre of October 7.

“They want to wipe Israel off the map. That is what they were chanting for today. They must not and will not succeed.

“I thank the police for all their efforts to keep people safe - but we must all do more, because an ancient hatred is rising again in Europe. It must be stamped out.”

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson hits out at 'shocking' antisemitic chants


8.40pm update: Met Police confirm total arrests after chaotic day of protesting

Met Police have just confirmed that 129 people have been arrested following a number of incidents today.

In a statement, Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said he was “extremely proud” of his officers.

He said: “I am extremely proud of what our officers have achieved in challenging circumstances, including the many officers who came from across the country to help us keep London safe.”

Twist also confirmed that a number of people were stopped and searched resulting in the finding of “a knife, a baton and a knuckleduster as well as class A drugs”.

8.15pm update: Robert Jenrick slams Channel 4 over 'ignoring' facts

Tory MP Robert Jenrick has slammed Channel 4 over a tweet claiming today's pro-Palestinian march “passed off peacefully” with only “minor scuffles”.

In a two-part social media post, Jenrick slammed the post as a “cover up”.

He said: “It can only be described as ‘peaceful’ if you willfully ignore the pockets of violence, disturbance in Victoria, racist signs and genocidal chants for the eradication of Israel.

“This isn’t journalism- it’s a cover up of some of the extremism we sadly saw on our streets today.

“All decent people will be appalled by the thuggery of the EDL and their acolytes and the hate-filled antisemitism of the Hamas sympathisers.

“Journalists should report on *both*. And all criminality must be met with the most robust response.”

Robert JenrickRobert Jenrick slammed the broadcaster after they claimed marches happened 'peacefully'Getty Images

7.00pm update: Met police confirm officers injured in protests

Nine officers were injured today with. two requiring hospital treatment, Met Police have confirmed.

In a statement, Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said the officers were admitted to hospital with a fractured elbow and a suspected dislocated hip.

He confirmed those officers were injured on Whitehall as they prevented a violent crowd from getting to the Cenotaph while the remembrance service was taking place.

5.10pm update: Remembrance Day 'thuggery' slammed as MP declares: 'Braverman was right'

Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith has said today's clash between protesters and police - during Remembrance weekend - demonstrates that Suella Braverman was "right" to question the decision-making of the Met Police last week.

Some have blamed Braverman for today's violence, claiming the remarks have stoked up tensions in Britain.

But Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith dismissed those blaming Braverman for the disruption as "daft", adding: "These protests have been going on for weeks and this clash with Armistice Day had been scheduled for a while.

"If anything it shows she was right."

Fellow Tory MP Jonathan Gullis hit out at the protesters, dismissing them as "deeply unpatriotic".

Writing on X, he said: "These acts of thuggery are completely unacceptable and deeply unpatriotic.

"All this mindless yobbery does is undermine the overwhelming law abiding majority of British people who want this weekend to remain sacred and solemn, so as a nation we can remember our glorious dead."

3.48pm update: Protesters drape Palestinian flags on war memorial

Protesters have draped Palestinian flags across a war memorial in London in what has been branded an “outrageous” act.

GB News commentator posted the photo on social media, writing: “Pro-Palestine yobs drape our war memorials in foreign flags, desecrating the Machine Gun Corps Memorial at Wellington Arch. Where are the police?”

Former aide to Margaret Thatcher, Nile Gardiner, replied: “This is outrageous. These pro-Hamas thugs need to be hunted down and prosecuted.

“They have no respect for Britain, its history, and all who died defending this great nation.”

War memorial

Palestinian flags draped over war memorial


2.56pm update: Police confirm over 80 arrests made

Met Police have confirmed they have arrested over 80 counter protesters to “prevent a breach of peace”.

Writing on social media, they said: “Officers have arrested 82 people in Tachbrook Street, Pimlico to prevent a breach of the peace.

“They’re part of a large group of counter protestors we have been monitoring who have tried to reach the main protest march.

“We will continue to take action to avoid the disorder that would likely take place if that happened.”

2.20pm update: Palestine protester compares Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu to Hitler

One Palestine protester has been spotted carrying a placard comparing the prime minister of Israel to Adolf Hitler.

The sign said: “Netanyahu Hitler would be proud.”

Defending her sign, which has been accused of being antisemitic, the woman said: “In Auschwitz there is a plaque that says ‘those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it’ – George Santayana. Israel it’s clearly showing.”

“At the end of the day we have put it in a way to compare both leaders. I think it’s a pretty fair comparison," she added.

“At the end of the day let’s keep it to the facts, Hitler, what he did was outcasted people, he killed them.

“Netanyahu’s doing the same thing, even if you listen to the things he said so outright like trying to flatten Palestine.”

There has been a huge a rise in antisemitism in the UK following the October 7 attacks in the Middle East.

pro-Palestinian march

Palestine protester compares Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu to Hitler


Pro-Palestinian march in London

Pro-Palestinian march in London


1.49pm update: Police keep Palestine protesters wearing white poppies away from war memorial

Palestinian protesters, many wearing white poppies, are marching past a war memorial on Grosvenor Gardens.

Police officers in attendance are standing in-between those marching and the memorial in order to avoid any trouble with the monument.

In the crowd, one sign says “Jews against genocide our grief will not be weaponised”.

Chants include “free, free Palestine”, “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free” and “ceasefire now”.

1.35pm update: High profile political activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu among pro-Palestine marchers

This weekend's pro-Palestine march has attracted a whole range of high profile politicians, activists and campaigners.

Earlier this week GB News reported that union boss Mick Lynch had vowed to attend a London rally calling for a ceasefire in the Middle East territory.

This afternoon British-Nigerian lawyer and political commentator Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu highlighted she was also taking part in a march.

13.14pm update: Sadiq Khan brands protesters 'far right' as he blames Braverman for violence

Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has taken aim at Suella Braverman, accusing her of being responsible for protesters’ clashes with police.

Accusing those involved of being “far right”, he said: “The scenes of disorder we witnessed by the far-right at the Cenotaph are a direct result of the Home Secretary’s words.

“The police’s job has been made much harder.

“The Met have my full support to take action against anyone found spreading hate and breaking the law.”

12.32pm update: Pro-Palestinian protesters begin chanting just minutes before march begins

Pro-Palestinian protesters have begun chanting just minutes before the march through London begins.

As many as 500,000 are expected to join the protest.

Chants of, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” & “Ceasefire now!” erupted as protesters continue to gather.

Pro-Palestinian protesters gather in Hyde Park

Pro-Palestinian protesters gather in Hyde Park

Getty Images

12.24pm update: Humza Yousaf demands Braverman resign

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf has demanded that Home Secretary Suella Braverman “must resign”.

The comments come after Braverman wrote an article for The Times attacking the police for “playing favourites” and accusing them of ”double standards” in regard to Armistice Day protests.

The article was not signed off by No10.

Braverman's comments have ignited internal rows within the Tory Party with some calling for her to resign while others back her.

12.22pm update: Pro-Palestinian protesters gather at Hyde Park

Pro-Palestinian protesters have begun to gather at Hyde Park ahead of their march through London.

The march which will begin on Park Lane will march south before ending at the US embassy.

Pro-Palestinian protesters gather at Hyde Park

Pro-Palestinian protesters gather at Hyde Park

GB News

12.00pm update: Counter protesters throw projectiles at police

Police were forced to confront counter protesters after they moved from Whitehall to Chinatown and threw projectiles at officers.

In a statement, police said: “A group of counter protestors who left Whitehall and moved into Chinatown confronted and threw missiles at officers who tried to engage with them.

“Additional officers have been deployed to the area to identify, locate and deal with those involved.

“Our priority is keeping the public safe. We will not tolerate disorder in central London today.”

11.50am update: Met Police issue statement after 'aggression' from counter protesters

The Met Police have issued a statement after fighting erupted between police and counter protesters at the Cenotaph.

While the two minutes' silence was marked “respectfully and without incident”, police said their officers had faced “aggression”.

They continued: “If their intention is to confront the main protest departing later today from Park Lane, we will use all the powers and tactics available to us to prevent that from happening.”

11.16am update: Britons across the country gather in silence to pay their respects

This year, as with every year, Britons across the UK paused their daily lives at 11am to take part in the two minute silence.

From the cenotaph in London to local war memorials up and down the rest of Britain and Northern Ireland, people reflected on those who gave their lives to those who served this country.

No pro-Palestine protesters disrupted the silence in Whitehall.

The two minute silence was marked at the Cenotaph in London


People taking part in the two minutes silence to mark Armistice Day during the Lord Mayor's Show in the City of London


Britons paused to pay their respects


10.56am update: Nation poised to enter silence at 11am

Millions of people around the country are preparing to enter silence at 11am to pay their respects to those who have died.

10.51am update: Protesters breach police lines

Social media footage has shown the moment a group of protesters have pushed through police lines.

Footage shows hundreds of activists shoving police out of the way as they rush down the streets.

One demonstrator appears to hurl a projectile into the crowd.

\u200bProtesters breach police lines ahead of Armistice Day service

Protesters breach police lines ahead of Armistice Day service


10.37am update: Boris Johnson says remembering the dead this year is more important than ever

Former Prime Minister and GB News presenter Boris Johnson has released his message on Armistice Day.

He said it was “more vital than ever” that this year we remember those who have died fighting in conflict, citing the return of war in Europe due to the Ukraine invasion and the rise in antisemitism following the Israel-Hamas war.

“We give thanks to all out armed forced for keeping us safe today,” he added.

10.05am update: EXCLUSIVE - Woke black poppy blasted as 'cultural suicide' amid 'destructive attitude to divide'

The black poppy is a symbol of “cultural suicide” and divides people, a former US Veterans' Affairs Secretary has claimed.

Robert Wilkie, who is a Colonel in the US Air Force Reserves, criticised the use of the 13-year-old black poppy appeal.

Earlier this week, King Charles was spotted wearing a Black Poppy Rose sparking fierce debate over the icon.

Wilkie told GB News: “Well, I'm not going to criticise His Majesty, but I will go back to this cultural suicide that we are engaged in what those people would not appreciate and they would probably ignore if they knew it.”

He added: “This is again dividing us into our constituent racial and ethnic groups instead of coming together as a proud people.”


Black rose poppyBlack rose poppyGBN

9.27am update: Nigel Farage's special Armistice Day message

Nigel Farage has issued a special message on Armistice Day, saying he “prayed” protests don't get in the way of the event.

Speaking in a social media video, Farage said: “Well, it may be 105 years ago, but the 11th hour of the 11th day, of the 11th month still matters in a huge way.

“That was the moment the guns fell silent on the Western front. The end of the First World War.

“Something like 20 soldiers across all sides killed in action. But of course, it all happened again just 21 years later with World War Two. And this country has been involved in many subsequent conflicts.

“So this moment at 11am today, marks a time when we think about the sacrifice made by so many people so that we can be free, so that the world can be absolutely free of tyranny.

“Well, it may not have been perfect, but for us in this country, we have had relative peace and prosperity. And in a way, this is really the most sacred moment in the whole of our national year. It matters massively.

“Now it’s very sad this year politics has got in the way. I’ve never seen it quite like this before.

“But the idea that people are out selling poppies to raise money for the Royal British Legion, who do amazing work for veterans and their families, the fact they’ve been intimidated into not going out and selling them, is very, very sad.

“When you think about it, it wasn’t just the UK that fought in those wars. We did it with all our Commonwealth friends and allies as well.

“Forty per cent of those that fought for the British Army, Air Force and Navy, didn’t come from this country. They came from India, Australia and all over the world.

“So let’s just remember the amazing contribution we’ve made to peace in the world. Let us be thankful for the life we’ve been able to live. I hope and pray this does not get disrupted by people living in this country who don’t appear to respect everything that we stand for.”

​8.51am update: Pro-Palestinian march MAPPED

The pro-Palestinian march is expected to begin from the Marble Arch corner of Hyde Park at approximately 12pm on Saturday,

The march will then head south down Vauxhall Bridge Road before crossing the River Thames.

Organisers say the march will end at the US Embassy on Nine Elms Lane.

Pro-Palestinian march MAPPED

Pro-Palestinian march map showing start and ending points


8.20am update: Pro-Palestinian protest could become ‘messy’ if police use force, chiefs say

Met Police have said exclusion zones will be imposed in several key areas of London today in a bid to prevent activists from overshadowing Armistice Day, a top officer has said.

Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade, the Westminster Abbey Field of Remembrance and other relevant areas will see pro-Palestine demonstrators banned.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor warned: “I hope we don’t, but I think it’s likely you will see police having to use force to manage some of the situations that we have to deal with.

“And at times that might look messy.”

Pro-Palestinian protesters clash with police ahead of Armistice DayPro-Palestinian protesters clash with police ahead of Armistice DayPA

8.15am update: Good Morning

Hello there,

My name is Oliver Trapnell and I’ll be helping to run this Remembrance weekend live blog today.

I’ll be keeping you up to date on all the latest events happening over the next two days.

Got a story? Email me at oliver.trapnell@gbnews.uk

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