London police ask protesters not to demonstrate during Armistice weekend

FILE PHOTO: Protest in solidarity with Palestinians, in London

LONDON (Reuters) - London police on Monday urged organisers not to go ahead with any protests planned this weekend when Armistice Day will be marked after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak slammed plans for a pro-Palestinian march.

Authorities asked unidentified organisers to consider postponing any demonstrations in London over the weekend, including Saturday's anniversary of the end of World War I, due to security concerns, London's Metropolitan Police said.

The force previously said pro-Palestinian activists intended to hold a "significant demonstration" on Saturday but didn't refer to them in its latest statement.

"The risk of violence and disorder linked to breakaway groups is growing. This is of concern ahead of a significant and busy weekend in the capital," Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan said.

"Our message to organisers is clear: Please, we ask you to urgently reconsider. It is not appropriate to hold any protests in London this weekend."

Sunak said on Friday plans by pro-Palestinian demonstrators to march in central London on Armistice Day were "provocative and disrespectful".

Britain has supported Israel's right to defend itself after an Oct. 7 attack by militant group Hamas that Israel has said killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians.

Israel has bombed the enclave daily since, killing more than 10,000 people, according to Palestinian health authorities, and prompting tens of thousands of Palestinian supporters to march through central London every Saturday demanding the British government call for a ceasefire.

Hate crime in London has spiked since the start of the conflict and police said violence and disorder linked to protests have escalated, often perpetrated by groups with "no interest" in demonstration causes.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)