31 May 2024 17:26 Met Police outlines policing operation ahead of weekend of events and protest A significant policing operation will take place across London on Saturday with officers deployed to police protests as well as the Champions League Final and related fan events. More than 2,000 officers will be on duty, including more than 400 from police forces outside London.

A significant policing operation will take place across London on Saturday with officers deployed to police protests as well as the Champions League Final and related fan events.

More than 2,000 officers will be on duty, including more than 400 from police forces outside London.

The Champions League Final, between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, kicks off at Wembley at 20:00hrs. Aside from the match there will be a number of fan events taking place across London on Friday and through the day on Saturday.

T/Commander Louise Puddefoot, who is leading this weekend’s policing operation, said: “We want fans visiting London for this fantastic event to have a safe and enjoyable experience.

“There will be a visible police and stewarding presence not just around Wembley but at fan zones and other events.

“Anyone who sees anything suspicious or who has concerns about safety or security should speak to an officer or a member of the stewarding team.”

Earlier in the day, there will be a number of protests taking place in central London requiring a dedicated police presence.

A protest organised by Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, more commonly known as Tommy Robinson, will set off from the Victoria area at around 13:00hrs, ending up in Parliament Square where speeches will take place and a film will be shown.

Among those expected to attend the event are groups from across the UK with links to football disorder. We are working with forces across the UK, including the British Transport Police, to ensure we have a good understanding of those likely to be travelling to London.

Conditions have been imposed under the Public Order Act requiring all those taking part to form up in an agreed area, to follow a pre-agreed route and to remain in Parliament Square for the subsequent assembly. The conditions are in place to prevent serious disruption or serious disorder.

A static counter protest, organised by Stand Up To Racism, will take place in Whitehall from midday. Conditions have been imposed on that protest requiring those taking part to remain in the allocated area in Whitehall which is the section opposite Downing Street, adjacent to Richmond Terrace.

All relevant maps are attached to this release.

Officers will be deployed in significant numbers to ensure those in Parliament Square and those in Whitehall do not come together.

T/Commander Puddefoot said: “Officers have been in discussion with the organisers of both protests in recent weeks. Our priority is to ensure those exercising their right to lawful protest, both in the main march and as part of the counter protest, can do so safely.

“Officers will police these demonstrations, as they always do, without fear or favour – keeping participants and the wider public safe and responding decisively to criminal offences and any attempt to cause serious disruption.

“While we are grateful to the main organiser of the protest for comments he has made publicly discouraging violence on Saturday, we do have concerns about the number of those believed to be attending who have links to football disorder.

“When these groups have come together at previous protests we have regrettably seen violence directed at officers. This precedent unavoidably plays a part in shaping the policing approach, including the number and nature of resources allocated to police this particular protest.

“We also understand why the concern goes beyond the potential for officers to be targeted. For some in London, in particular our Muslim communities, comments made by those associated with this event will also cause fear and uncertainty. All Londoners have a right to feel and be safe in their city and we will take a zero tolerance approach to any racially or religiously motivated hate crime we become aware of.”

A third protest, likely smaller in size and unrelated to the above events, is expected to take place in central London on Saturday afternoon.

The organisers, Youth Demand, have threatened to take direct action in protest against the ongoing conflict in Gaza. They have said in public statements that they intend to occupy roads and bridges.

T/Commander Puddefoot said: “This group has made no secret of their intentions. They have indicated that they will go beyond what can be considered lawful protest, instead trying to cause serious disruption to communities by blocking roads and the bridges that are essential for keeping traffic moving across London.

“We have seen in previous protests that when bridges are blocked, the impact on not just ordinary people but also ambulances and other emergency vehicles can be significant.

“Regrettably they have not engaged with us ahead of this event. Protest organisers do have an obligation to inform the police of their intent to hold a protest, allowing us to plan accordingly, but Youth Demand are one of those groups who don’t engage.

“If they did we would reiterate to them that we will of course respect their right to protest, but not to cause serious disruption.

“Officers will be deployed to respond to any action taken. They will use all the relevant powers available to them, including the imposition of conditions.”

There has also been limited promotion online of a potential protest march in the Finchley area, also against the conflict in Gaza.

Recognising the serious disruption and concern that would be caused to many if a protest of this nature was to pass through an area with a significant Jewish population, particularly on the Sabbath, we have intervened proactively to impose conditions under the Public Order Act.

If protesters do gather they will be restricted to a static demonstration that will be required to take place at a location away from sites that will cause obvious fear and concern to Jewish residents, but that is still of importance to the protest organisers.

T/Commander Puddefoot said: “There is a significant difference between a protest that takes place in central London on a Saturday away from residential areas and a protest that seeks to walk right through an area with a significant Jewish community. It is right that our policing response takes this into account.

“We have been clear since the outset of these protests that context is very important in determining the impact on communities. The right to protest must be respected, but we have a duty to balance that right against the rights of the public to go about their lives without fear or intimidation or being subject to unacceptable disruption.“