“On 11th November 2023, hundreds of thousands of people marched peacefully through London calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Chanting “ceasefire now” and “stop bombing children”, organisers estimated 800,000 people walked the route from Hyde Park to the American Embassy in Vauxhall.
Inflammatory rhetoric from the UK Government in the days running up to the march, particularly from the Home Secretary Suella Braverman, had branded the peaceful protestors as “hate marchers” with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak producing a statement on 3rd November complaining that the march seeking a ceasefire was scheduled to take place on Remembrance Day – a day designed to mark a ceasefire. Sunak suggested that it posed a “clear and present risk that the Cenotaph and other war memorials could be desecrated”.
Counter protestors, from far right groups, supposedly gathered to ‘defend the cenotaph’ on Saturday, after members of the UK Government offered more solidarity to a block of stone than it did to the more than 11,000 people, including 4,500 children, who had lost their lives since 7th October. It was these far right protestors, “who broke violently through police lines, toppling over metal barricades, throwing missiles and temporarily forcing officers back as they surged towards the Cenotaph” (Guardian 11th Nov).”