Fights break out as Tommy Robinson and supporters arrive in Whitehall
Fights break out as Tommy Robinson and hundreds of his supporters arrive in Whitehall and police form human barrier at Armistice Day exclusion zone – with a million pro-Palestine protesters due to march in London today
- Met Police is preparing for the biggest ever Remembrance security operation
- Get all the latest news and updates throughout the day on MailOnline’s live blog
Fights broke out as Tommy Robinson and hundreds of his supporters arrived in Whitehall on Saturday as police officers tried to maintain a ring of steel around the Cenotaph ahead of a huge march in solidarity with Palestinians later today.
As chants of ‘England till I die’ and ‘Let us through’ echoed close to the war memorial police reinforcements raced to contain the mob as they jostled to be allowed to join the large crowds gathered. Dozens broke through and police could be seen hitting out at those pushing through with batons.
Thousands of people were headed to London on Saturday from all over the UK to march in solidarity with the people of Palestine. The Met Police has deployed nearly 2,000 officers and is braced for a huge day of protests on Armistice Day.
Far-right Tommy Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, and his supporters were heard chanting football-style cheers as they overwhelmed police close to the memorial in the minutes preceding the 11am two-minute silence to remember those who have lost their lives in war.
Scotland Yard placed the war memorial under 24-hour police guard, with officers, barriers and police vehicles set to surround the perimeter until Sunday.
Far-right figure Tommy Robinson arrived in Whitehall early on Saturday morning along with hundreds of counter-protesters
Several hundred protesters, almost all of them men, were heard chanting and attempting to get close to the Cenotaph
Counter protesters gather on Whitehall ahead of a large pro Palestine demonstration in Central London
Police officers were standing guard at the Cenotaph early on Saturday as the Met braces itself for a day of action on Remembrance Day
Officers from the Metropolitan Police on duty at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in Central London ahead of a pro Palestine demonstration in the capital on Armistice Day
Early on Saturday people took to social media to show coaches full of protesters heading to London
Videos shared on social media showed full coaches of people heading to London
Protest organisers from London have planned to take activists to the capital on buses for the ‘Million March’
Far-right thug Tommy Robinson led hundreds of counter-protesters as they massed at barriers in Whitehall.
READ MORE: London pro-Palestine march route: Interactive map shows today’s Armistice Day protest
As chants echoed around the area police reinforcements raced to contain the mob as they jostled to be allowed to join the large crowds gathered at The Cenotaph.
Dozens of officers formed a human barrier to stop them entering the exclusion zone set up ahead of the Armistice Day ceremony.
The large crowd of people bearing St George’s flags was seen walking along Embankment and shouting ‘England till I die’.
A line of police attempted to stop them from reaching Whitehall but the group pushed through, with some shouting ‘let’s have them’ as officers hit out with batons.
The group appears to have reached Whitehall where the Cenotaph is situated. Many more are pushing through, shouting ‘forward’.
Military veterans appeared displeased and looked on in disgust as hundreds of people taunted police and shouted out ‘we want our country back’. Some of the mob climbed on a statue to Field Marshall Montgomery outside the Ministry of Defence building.
Pictures showed Tommy Robinson speaking with several police officers.
Pictures showed Tommy Robinson speaking with several police officers at Whitehall
Officers walk close to Whitehall as they monitor the arrival of counter-protesters
Police officers attempted to form a human wall to prevent Robinson and his supporters from reaching the Cenotaph
Early on Saturday leaflets claiming that terror group Hamas are a ‘resistance’ movement could be bought by pro-Palestinian protesters in London
Previous marches in support of Palestine have been largely peaceful as activists call for an immediate ceasefire to protect the lives of innocent Palestinian civilians – a call echoed by French President Emmanuel Macron last night.
The pro-Palestine march route does not go within a mile of the Cenotaph, but police fear some members of fringe groups or counter-protesters may try and make their own way to the memorial. Organisers say up to a million people are expected to attend.
Leaders of the Palestine demonstration claimed entire fleets of coaches were driving to the capital.
The Palestinian health authority run by terror group Hamas says that more than 11,000 people, including 4,500 children, have so far been killed in Israeli retaliation since their gunmen launched an unprecedented assault on the nation, killing at least 1,400 people.
On Saturday morning it was reported that Gaza’s largest hospital, Al Shifa, had completely shutdown operations after running out of fuel. It is feared dozens of people may die as a result.
It was claimed on Saturday that a coach firm in the north of England has had its entire 250-strong bus fleet booked out this weekend to ferry people down to London to participate in the Gaza protest.
It comes as British Transport Police announced restrictions on planned protests at major London stations which mean anyone gathering at London Waterloo, London Victoria and Charing Cross stations could face arrest.
The BTP issued a Section 14a under the Public Order Act 1986 which prohibits ‘trespassory’ assemblies from taking place.
In a statement the force said: ‘We have been made aware of planned demonstrations taking place today, Saturday 11 November, at London Waterloo Station, Victoria Station and Charing Cross.
‘We fully respect the right of people to protest lawfully but where we believe this could cause serious disruption to the railway services, we must take action.’
It added that anyone who ‘organises or takes part in an assembly during the prohibition commits an offence.’
Speaking to the Today programme on Saturday morning, head of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign Ben Jamal said organisers were expecting up to a million people to descend on the streets of London.
Many of the counter-protesters wore masks and balaclavas to conceal their faces
Officers guard the Cenotaph ahead of Armistice Day events on Saturday morning
Police officers speak together at the Cenotaph, the national War Memorial
A large police presence was visible on Whitehall early on Saturday morning
Police guard a statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square
The Cenotaph is under armed guard in an unprecedented show of security on Saturday
Military cadets salute as they rehearse wreath laying near the Cenotaph on Whitehall in Central London
Mr Jamal said: ‘We are on the brink of a major catastrophe [in Gaza]. People are marching peacefully calling for an end to this. We live in a really topsy-turvy world where people marching for peace are being defined by our PM and our Home Sec as extremists and hate speakers.’
What is ‘intifada’?
Intifada is a term commonly used in association with Palestinians and the state of Israel. It means uprising or rebellion.
There have been two famous intifadas, or uprisings, against Israel in Palestine.
The first in the late 1980s saw peaceful actions such as mass boycotts and some more violent attacks on Israelis.
The second, which grew out of the 2000 peace process, was far more violent and involved Palestinian tactics such as suicide bombings and rocket attacks.
Around 1,000 Israelis and 3,200 Palestinians were killed by the time peace returned in 2005.
He accused her of whipping up fear, saying the PSC had been clear with police weeks ago that they did not plan to disrupt Armistice Day events: ‘It is inconceivable unless she doesn’t speak to the police that she didn’t know that when she made her remarks.
‘She has described that what is going to be happening today as thousands of people as hate speakers, extremists, marching to Whitehall to desecrate the cenotaph.’
He added that statements by the Home Secretary which have referred to the marches as ‘hate marches’ are ‘absolutely disgraceful and demonstrate her own unfitness for office.’
Mr Jamal also accused authorities of ‘reframing language’ to suggest people mentioning ‘intifada’ care calling for a violent uprising, something he says is not the case.
‘Intifada doesn’t mean a violent uprising. This is an attempt to reframe language. Intifada is a word that means shaking off it is a word that means shaking off and standing against military occupation.’
He added that he has not seen or heard of a single placard advocating support of Hamas.
But by 10.30am on Saturday a vile leaflet which praises Hamas was already on sale to protesters.
The pamphlet described the terror group as a ‘resistance movement’.
It says it shows ‘unconditional’ support for Hamas, said it won ‘wide popularity’ among Palestinians and went on to say: ‘We consider Hamas to be a resistance movement against Zionism and imperialism.
‘From this perspective we unconditionally support Hamas when it is engaged in military or non-military struggles against Israel.’
It also described its fighters as having ‘extortionary heroism’ in the leaflet which was freely handed out at a Socialist Worker stand.
It was in the booklet, with the title ‘A revolutionary perspective on Hamas’, written by Mostafa Omar, of the Revolutionary Socialists, Egypt. It was first written in July 2014.
Hamas is a banned terrorist organisation in Britain.
This morning police cleared one side of Whitehall so those attending the Armistice Day event were all lined up behind one set of barriers.
No one was allowed to gather outside the gates of Downing Street where four armed police stood behind the metal gates.
With just over two hours before the ceremony was scheduled to begin about 250 people stood opposite The Cenotaph.
Outside the Israeli embassy on Saturday officers were constructing a ‘ring of steel’ using concrete blocks
Leader of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign Ben Jamal told the Today programme that intifada is not a call for ‘violent uprising’
A police officer stands guard near Whitehall on the day of a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza
Photographs on social media showed protesters heading to London on Saturday
The Rev Tim Daylin, who lost his niece in the 7/7 bombings, was among those at the Cenotaph this morning
On Friday night a group of health workers gathered outside Downing Street to call for a humanitarian ceasefire as they held posters with the names of colleagues killed in Gaza
There were no flags being displayed although one man stood out in a Union Jack jacket.
A group of burly looking men all dressed in black had initially joined the early morning crowds but walked off towards Trafalgar Square. They declined to comment when approached.
Others taking their place opposite The Cenotaph included The Rev Tim Daylin.
He said he will later be joining the Palestine marchers setting off from Hyde Park after laying flowers at the memorial to those who died in the 7/7 terror attack. His niece Elizabeth died in the attack on a London bus in Russell Square.
The Rev Daplin said:’ I am here to remember two of my friends who did not come back from serving in Northern Ireland.
‘I will then go to the Hyde Park memorial to the 7/7 bombing. My niece Elizabeth was among those killed. I will then join the other marchers.
‘If an old soldier cannot call for peace on a day like this, then there is something wrong.’
The Rev Daplin, from Bristol, said he had been dismayed at all the political gesturing in the days leading up to Armistice Day.
‘It is a day for all of us to reflect and to remember those who died,’ he said.
Metal barriers lined the entire length of Whitehall with dozens of officers stationed around Parliament Square. The ring of steel will remain in place until the events of Remembrance Sunday have taken place.
Yesterday Far-Right groups sent a chilling message to protesters, warning on vile WhatsApp groups with more than 1,000 members: ‘We’ll be waiting.’
The Hope Not Hate (HNH) campaign group yesterday exposed dozens of racist WhatsApp messages which included plans to ambush activists and links to buying crossbows.
HNH, who reported the messages to the police, also found posts calling Muslims ‘vermin’. Others wrote vile threats of violence and warned: ‘It’s war. For our children and country.’
On Friday night, the Met Police warned that Armistice Day could get ‘messy’ as officers begun an unprecedented round-the-clock guard of the Cenotaph.
A small group of health worker protesters gathered outside Downing Street to call for a ceasefire after it was reported that Israel had surrounded Gaza’s largest hospital, Al Shifa.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made an 11th hour plea for ‘unity’ amid fears of violence and disorder.
Met Police deputy assistant commissioner Laurence Taylor, who is in charge of the ‘large and robust policing plan’, told reporters at a briefing on the eve of Armistice Day: ‘There will be times this weekend where you see pockets of confrontation…’
He added: ‘You will see police intervention, and 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.
‘That doesn’t equate to serious disorder or to us losing control, but it does mean that we are taking robust, rapid and agile action to deal with what we are dealing with.’
Children cry during a funeral for family members in Gaza who were killed in Israeli strikes
A woman and a child look out from the window of a damaged building following Israeli bombing on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday
Israel bombards the Gaza Strip with missiles overnight on Friday
Far-Right groups have vowed ‘We’ll be waiting’ as pro-Palestine activists arrive in London today
Activists from right-wing Turning Point UK hold a counter-protest to the National March for Palestine alongside the Cenotaph on October 28. Far-Right groups have vowed to protect the Cenotaph today
Metropolitan Police officers standing guard around the Cenotaph in Whitehall on Friday afternoon
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (pictured at the Remembrance Crosses in the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey) has made an 11th hour plea for ‘unity’ amid fears of violence and disorder
In a last-gasp plea for a ‘moment of unity’, Mr Sunak warned commemorations are ‘sacred’ and such rallies can take place only because of those who fought ‘for the freedom we cherish’.
Mr Sunak said: ‘This weekend people across the United Kingdom will stand together in quiet reflection to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Veterans, loved ones of those who gave their lives for their country and many more of us will want to honour this moment.
READ MORE: Suella Braverman offers her ‘full backing’ to the Met Police after newspaper article row and ahead of pro-Palestinian march on Armistice Day
‘This act of remembrance is fundamental to who we are as a country and I want to reassure those wishing to pay their respects, attend services and travel that they can and should do so.’
He added: ‘It is because of those who fought for this country and for the freedom we cherish that those who wish to protest can do so, but they must do so respectfully and peacefully.
‘This weekend should be about the selfless bravery of our Armed Forces. We shall remember them.’
The Met has mobilised 1,850 officers from London and other UK forces as it prepares to control hundreds of thousands of protesters pouring into London as pro-Palestine activists call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.
Asked why the force has doubled the number of officers on the ground compared to the first weekend of protests, DAC Laurence Taylor said: ‘This is a really difficult weekend for policing.
‘We have got a significant march taking place. We are aware there will be counter-protests, as well as a lot of people who would ordinarily come to London to mark their respect on Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday. That means we need a large and robust policing plan in place.’
In every effort to protect Armistice Day events, a ‘ring of steel’ has been erected around Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade and the Westminster Abbey Field of Remembrance. This will be protected by metal fences, with any marchers trying to get inside facing arrest.
In contrast, those the Met consider ‘counter protesters’, who may include veterans, Right-wing extremists and football hooligans, will be allowed into those areas, principally to separate them from the pro-Palestinian march which has been redirected away from Whitehall towards Vauxhall.
The unprecedented security around Britain’s most hallowed war memorial was put in place yesterday and will remain until the end of remembrance commemorations on Sunday
A dispersal zone will be in place covering key central London locations including Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus. Anyone refusing to disperse can be arrested, the Met said
Exclusion zones have been put in place around the Israeli Embassy in Kensington and the US Embassy in Vauxhall
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty look at Remembrance Crosses in the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey in London ahead of Armistice Day
Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, joins poppy sellers on behalf of the Royal British Legion as the nation rallies around volunteers
DAC Taylor said the Met had information that ‘large numbers of counter protesters will be coming to London with a view to confronting those taking place in the main march’.
READ MORE: Demonstrators blockade weapons manufacturer BAE Systems site in protest over Israel-Hamas war
Asked why counter protesters would be allowed around the monument, Mr Taylor said the force ‘don’t anticipate any disorder will come from that group’ individually.
In the largest policing operation ever mounted for the commemorations, the capital will be flooded with almost 3,000 officers from across England and Wales. Chief constables have cancelled leave, extended overtime and drafted in 1,000 officers from outside London over the weekend to bolster Scotland Yard’s numbers across today and tomorrow.
Demonstrators will be banned from gathering outside the Israeli Embassy, while a dispersal order in place across a vast swathe of central London will allow police to arrest violent protesters breaking off from the main march.
Officers will also be granted more powers to carry out stop and searchers and order people to remove masks.
Meanwhile, the Met is deploying specialist traffic officers to police convoys of cars bringing protesters into the capital. Previous events have been marred by demonstrators driving through Jewish areas while waving flags and shouting anti-Semitic abuse.
Britain’s biggest force has also vowed to work with the British Transport Police to protect poppy sellers in stations and other busy areas after several incidents of volunteers being abused.
In a statement released on Friday, the Met rallied around volunteers, saying: ‘We have been clear no intimidation of those who so generously give up their time for this treasured national cause will be tolerated. Officers know the risk felt by sellers and should be sought out by anyone concerned throughout the weekend.’
The Met also declared that it was doing ‘everything’ in its power to ensure Jewish Londoners feel safe during the pro-Palestine protest.
DAC Taylor warned anyone calling for ‘jihad’ faced being arrested and said the force’s stance towards protesters had hardened following similar mass marches over the past month, when it was criticised for failing to stop anti-Semitism in the wake of the October 7 Hamas terror attack that took 1,400 Israeli lives.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has estimated half a million activists will take part in the march from Hyde Park at 1pm, a few hours after a two-minute silence will be held at the Cenotaph in Westminster for fallen soldiers.
Protective barriers around the ‘Remembrance Sunday footprint’ in Whitehall have been extended far wider than normal.
The Stop the War coalition said coach companies across the country are reporting that all their vehicles are fully booked, with waiting lists in some areas.
John Rees, from the group, said the protest in London will be ‘truly historic’, exceeding the half a million he believes joined a previous protest in the capital.
‘We are convinced it will be the biggest demonstration so far over Palestine,’ he said. Our local groups up and down the country have reported they’ve sold out of seats on hundreds of coaches.’
Lindsey German, the group’s convenor, said: ‘Our local groups in towns and cities across the UK, along with coach companies, are telling us that every one of their coaches have been booked to bring people to London. This is comparable only to two million strong protest against the Iraq War in 2003.’
Organisers have predicted that half a million pro-Palestine protestors will march in London on Armistice Day. Pictured is a march last Saturday
Sir Mark said officers would ‘protect locations and events of national importance at all costs’. Pictured: Police officers guard ‘The Cenotaph’ on October 28
Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley has refused to ban the controversial rally, saying he legally had ‘no power’ to stop it.
While march organisers have vowed not to go near the monument, there are fears splinter groups could clash with football hooligans who have vowed to ‘defend’ it.
Sir Mark said his officers would ‘protect locations and events of national importance at all costs’. He said he could not ban Saturday’s demonstration simply because people felt it should not take place.
‘The laws created by Parliament are clear. There is no absolute power to ban protest, therefore there will be a protest this weekend,’ he insisted.
‘The law provides no mechanism to ban a static gathering of people. It contains legislation which allows us to impose conditions to reduce disruption and the risk of violence, and in the most extreme cases when no other tactics can work, for marches or moving protests to be banned.’
Sir Mark said organisers of Saturday’s march had shown ‘complete willingness to stay away from the Cenotaph and Whitehall and have no intention of disrupting the nation’s remembrance events’.
‘Should this change, we’ve been clear we will use powers and conditions available to us to protect locations and events of national importance at all costs,’ he said.
The decision to allow the protest to take place prompted accusations of bias from Home Secretary Suella Braverman. But on Friday, she gave the police her ‘full backing’ at a meeting with the commissioner.
DAC Taylor said this was the first time there had been a 24-hour guard around the Cenotaph for ‘this length of time’. This was in response to the attack on the Cenotaph in Rochdale just days before Armistice Day which sparked outrage.
When quizzed on whether comments from politicians had raised the risk of disorder, he added: ‘This weekend is going to be tense. Narratives play into that. We won’t comment on individual narratives.’
Demonstrators waving Palestine flags in Trafalgar Square during last Saturday’s protest
Police officers detain a protestor during a ‘March For Palestine’, in London on November 4
Police guarding the Cenotaph this morning. The Met has vowed to ‘protect locations and events of national importance at all costs’
Sir Mark Rowley said use of the power to block moving protests is ‘incredibly rare’ and must be reserved for cases where there is intelligence to suggest a ‘real threat’ of serious disorder. Pictured: Poppy vendor counter is disturbed by pro-Palestinian demonstrators
Gangs of football hooligans have said they are planning to ‘team up’ and ‘protect’ the Cenotaph from pro-Palestine protesters this weekend.
One group, named ‘Football Lads Against Extremism’, claims veterans have reached out and asked for their support ‘due to the threat from the far-Left and pro-Palestine supporters to disrupt the Remembrance Day parade’.
READ MORE – Suella Braverman breaks cover as Tories demand she is sacked
They are calling on ‘all football lads up and down the country to join us in standing shoulder to shoulder with our veterans that fought for our freedom’.
Ms Braverman had controversially accused the police of ‘playing favourites’ with protesters by clamping down hard on Right-wing demonstrations while taking a softly-softly approach to those organised by groups on the Left.
In an article in The Times, she repeated her description of pro-Palestinian demonstrations as ‘hate marches’ – a phrase no other minister had publicly endorsed, but which supporters say is backed up by examples of ugly anti-Semitism on previous protests.
Earlier in the week Rishi Sunak took a more measured tone insisting that he would hold Sir Mark ‘accountable’ for what happened at the protest.
A policeman holding a surveillance camera while shouting at a protestor during a pro-Palestine march on November 4
Pro-Palestine protesters this morning outside a BAE Systems plant in Chatham, Rochester
The Home Secretary expressed her support for the Metropolitan Police at a meeting with Sir Mark Rowley yesterday, a source close to her said.
Mr Sunak continued to express his confidence in her, but No 10 declined to say whether they had spoken since her inflammatory unauthorised article in The Times.
No 10 said they were working ‘very closely’ ahead of Saturday’s heavily-policed march, but chose not to repeat her widely-criticised language in a piece for The Times.
Yesterday, the source close to Ms Braverman said: ‘The Home Secretary and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police met this afternoon to discuss the policing of demonstrations to be held tomorrow, on Armistice Day.
‘The Commissioner outlined plans to continue working to maintain public order, ensure compliance with the law and maintain the safety of participants, police officers and the general public.
‘The Home Secretary emphasised her full backing for the police in what will be a complex and challenging situation and expressed confidence that any criminality will be dealt with robustly.’
Ms Braverman (pictured leaving home yesterday morning) yesterday gave police her ‘full backing’ after her widely-criticised allegations of police bias were disowned by Downing Street
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty observe the Remembrance Crosses during a visit to the Field of Remembrance
Rishi Sunak talks with a supporter of the Royal British Legion in the QEII centre ahead of Armistice Day
Steve Hartshorn, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents rank and file officers, said it was unacceptable for Ms Braverman ‘to publicly attempt to tamper with the operational independence of policing’.
‘It is entirely reasonable that the Home Secretary might raise concerns with senior police leaders in private, it is unacceptable to publicly attempt to tamper with the operational independence of policing,’ he said.
‘Policing must be free of politics. Operational independence is a key pillar of UK policing and must be respected. Policing does not comment on political manoeuvrings, and we expect to be able to carry out our duties without political interference.’
A former Home Office permanent secretary said he did not understand how Mr Sunak could continue to have confidence in Ms Braverman.
Metropolitan Police officers guard the Cenotaph in Whitehall ahead of Armistice Day tomorrow
Metropolitan Police officers guard the Cenotaph in Whitehall amid fears of vandalism
Sir David Normington told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: ‘There are 2,000 ordinary police officers who will be on the streets doing a very difficult job this weekend.
‘They have the right to expect the Home Secretary to be supporting them. Instead, she seems to be undermining them and actually making things worse. And that’s just not the job of the Home Secretary.
‘I hear the Prime Minister has confidence in her. I don’t know how he can.’ The ex-mandarin said he ‘despaired’ about her piece for The Times.
He said: ‘She’s tried to interfere with the operational independence of the police. She’s accused them of partiality in the way they police demonstrations. She’s used inflammatory language. She’s even made some absolutely crass comments and comparisons about Northern Ireland.
‘That’s at least four reasons why she’s unsuitable to be Home Secretary.’
In a lengthy briefing Friday, the Met Police also vowed to protect defiant poppy sellers who are refusing to abandon their stalls ahead of planned pro-Palestine protests on Armistice Day.
Officers said they will be on hand to monitor the intimidation of ‘generous’ poppy sellers after concerns were raised over their safety in the last week.
Stalls were missing at Kings Cross, Euston, Victoria, London Bridge and other railway hubs this week despite it being days before Armistice Day.
The Royal British Legion has said that they are ‘keen to get on with collecting’ and their merry band of volunteers feel the same, insisting that all stations will now be manned until November 11.
Tracy Cooper (right), 65, who has sold poppies in Paddington Station for 22 years, urged other poppy sellers to ‘go out and sell your poppy with pride’. She was helped by Nicky Veschiera, 60, (left) and her friend Audrey, also 60 (centre)
Jane Low, 80, and Maggie Davies, 80, (left to right) man the stall at High Street Kensington. They raked in £700 in two hours yesterday
Poppy sellers have told MailOnline that they will be not be cowed by the threat of protests, although three out of four at St Pancras last night were wearing bodycams in case there is trouble.
Many thanked people for their support as MPs urged Britons – and police officers – to wear poppies ‘with pride’ and in ‘solidarity’.
The RBL has said it is working closely with Network Rail, Transport for London, major supermarkets and the police to keep volunteers safe. They also spoke of safety measures but did not expand on those.
A spokesman said: ‘We have thousands of brilliant individuals who volunteer to collect donations for the Poppy Appeal each year, across cities, towns, villages and communities. We are reliant on the generous time these volunteers offer and we arrange Poppy Appeal collections as widely as possible but cannot provide volunteer cover at all locations throughout the whole appeal.
‘The safety of all Poppy Appeal volunteers is our number one priority. We have permission to collect at every location where Poppy Appeal volunteers are collecting, and assess those locations have measures in place to ensure the safety of our volunteers.’
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