A pro-Palestinian march is set to take place in London on Saturday, despite criticism from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The rally, known as the “National March for Palestine,” is the fourth of its kind since the Hamas attacks on Israel in October. However, there are concerns about the timing of the march, as it coincides with Armistice Day, a day of remembrance for war veterans. The government has called for the march to be cancelled, citing the potential for violence. The police have prepared a large operation to maintain order and prevent any disorder. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor has expressed concerns about the possibility of serious disorder if opposing groups come together. Despite the support for Israel from Western governments, including Britain, there has also been anger over the Israeli response to the Hamas attacks, leading to weekly protests in London calling for a ceasefire. The organisers of the march have assured that it will avoid the Cenotaph war memorial near Sunak’s office and will conclude at the U.S. embassy. The police have implemented an exclusion zone around remembrance events and have placed a 24-hour guard at the Cenotaph since Thursday. The organisers expect a significant turnout for the march, with hundreds of thousands of people attending. While previous marches have been mostly peaceful, there have been arrests for offences such as showing support for Hamas and displaying offensive slogans. Three women appeared in court on Friday charged with terrorism offences for supporting Hamas. The behaviour of breakaway groups at the rallies has also become more violent. Home Secretary Suella Braverman has faced controversy for referring to the protesters as “hate marchers,” and Sunak has been urged to dismiss her by his own lawmakers. The prime minister himself has criticized the march as disrespectful but believes it should be allowed to proceed. Lawmakers are concerned that far-right groups may exploit the occasion for violence. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, the former co-leader of the English Defence League, has called on his supporters to gather in London. The police are hoping to prevent trouble, but clashes are expected. DAC Taylor has acknowledged that there may be confrontations and that force may be necessary to manage the situations.
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