(Bloomberg) -- UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she would consider any request by police to cancel a pro-Palestinian march planned for Armistice Day and labeled recent large demonstrations against the Israeli response in Gaza as “hate marches.”
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“I will consider that application as they put it to me,” Braverman told Sky News on Sunday, adding that the behavior on these marches has been “utterly odious.”
Under UK law, police can seek to get a protest canceled if there are concerns they could lead to threats to public safety.
Braverman’s comments come amid concerns that a pro-Palestinian demonstration planned for Nov. 11 in central London could cause upset as it coincides with the commemoration of British and Commonwealth war dead on the 105th anniversary of the end of the World War I. Traditionally, political leaders from all parties and members of the royal family participate in the commemoration and lay wreaths at the Cenotaph near the prime minister’s residence.
A series of protest in support of Palestinians and critical of Israel’s response in Gaza have been held regularly since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, attracting crowds that have topped 100,000. While there have been isolated scuffles with authorities, the protests have generally been peaceful. The government has called on police to arrest any demonstrators openly supporting Hamas or advocating violence or antisemitism.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called the planned pro-Palestinian rally for Remembrance Day “provocative and disrespectful” and said there was a risk of memorials being vandalized, while his deputy Oliver Dowden said on Sunday he has “grave concerns” about what could happen on the day.
“If anyone were to vandalize the Cenotaph, they must be put in a jail cell quicker than their feet can touch the ground,” Braverman told Sky News. She once again described the demonstrations as “hate marches.” Organizers of next Sunday’s protest have said they don’t have plans to march near the Cenotaph.
Braverman also defended controversial comments she made in recent days about the homeless, saying that she plans to ban rough sleeping in tents, branding it a “lifestyle choice.”
“Sleeping in a tent has become a lifestyle choice and with is has brought drug use, criminality and anti-social behavior,” she said. “We will help those who are genuinely homeless.”
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