The British people will not be intimidated by threats to sabotage our national day of remembrance next weekend, a former top British Army commanding officer, the Royal British Legion and political figures said.
Colonel Richard Kemp, who was awarded the King’s Commendation for Bravery, was responding to a rallying cry to boycott Remembrance Day traditions, with some groups now calling for a “national march” on November 11, sparking fears of a dangerous “tipping point” in community tensions.
Issuing a word of caution, the Army veteran pointed to the array of people from different cultures and religions who fought and died for the liberties and freedoms we enjoy today.
The retired British Army officer, who served from 1977 to 2006, told Express.co.uk: “It is up to every individual whether he or she wishes to commemorate the supreme sacrifices of our armed forces in war.
“Those who are thinking of boycotting acts of remembrance are at liberty to do so but it is worth remembering that many Muslims as well as Christians, Jews and members of other religions or no religion fought and died for the freedom and liberty we enjoy today.
“All that I would ask is that those who do not wish to take part do not attempt to politicise, protest or disrupt these solemn events which mean so much to so many of our people in this country, including families recently bereaved by sacrifice in war.”
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The Royal British Legion also weighed in, reminding potential disrupters about the Poppy Appeal’s role in honouring the fallen and not making political points.
A spokesman told Express.co.uk: “While we respect the right of people to protest within the law, we believe the Poppy Appeal is a time for Remembrance, and not for political protests or public disorder, as we honour those whose service and sacrifice protects our rights and freedoms.”
Colonel Kemp and the Royal British Legion’s warnings come after the deputy editor of a leading online publication called on his social media followers to boycott the two-minute silence traditionally observed on the sombre occasion.
Dilly Hussain, of the website 5 Pillars UK, said the mark of respect at 11am on November 11 would be rejected for many years to come in comments posted on X, formerly Twitter.
He wrote on the platform: “We are expected to observe a two-minute silence on Remembrance Day.
“The defeat of the Ottomans in World War One, the colonisation of Palestine by the British Mandate, and the 1917 Balfour Declaration is when the idea of Israel was actualised.
“There will be a resounding rejection of this silence this year, and for many years to come.”
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There were also calls on social media from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) for its supporters to join a national march on November 11 following similar protests over the previous three weekends.
Previous demonstrations, with up to 100,000 taking to the streets, have proved controversial with Home Secretary Suella Braverman branding them “hate marches” last week.
The PSC told its followers to focus on localised gatherings this weekend and then expand the action on the Remembrance weekend.
The group wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “On Saturday 4 November, join an action in your local area to call for a #CeasefireNOW and build for the next National march on November 11.”
The Met Police would not comment on the November 11 march, saying it would provide updates closer to the time.
But Reclaim MP Andrew Bridgen warned his constituents would not be intimidated by threats to “twist our national day of remembrance into something which it is not”.
The MP for North West Leicestershire told Express.co.uk: “While I deeply regret the loss of innocent lives on both sides of the conflict in the Middle East, this should not affect our Remembrance Services.
“The act of remembrance does not glorify war, indeed it reminds us all of the human cost of wars, which many families in the UK know only too well.
“Only someone with a very divisive agenda would seek to twist our national day of remembrance into something which it is not.
“My constituents in North West Leicestershire will not be intimidated and neither will the wider British public.
“Remembrance brings our community together and so I am not surprised that divisive elements despise it.”
Commenting on the prospect of protests disrupting Armistice Day commemorations, former MEP Martin Daubney warned it threatened to tip the UK into a “battle of good versus evil”.
The GB News host and contributor said: “To specifically target the Armistice silence would be the most despicable act of sacrilege imaginable – a direct assault on a tradition more than a century old.
“It would spit on the graves of all who fought to keep this country free from tyranny. Yet it would reveal to the British public the true contempt the pro-Palestine mob holds for British tradition and values.
“I fear it could be a tipping point: a moment when the so-called culture war was tipped towards something darker, towards a battle for our future, a battle of good versus evil.”
It comes after an anti-Israeli protest erected a stand on the Cenotaph in Whitehall last month in a move that was denounced as “desecration” of “a sacred site” by a furious Tory MP.
Speaking to Express.co.uk at the time, Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith said that pro-Palestinian protests “should be banned” as they have in other European countries including France.
He said: “It’s outrageous to have it surrounding the Cenotaph.”
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, deputy chairman of the Tory Common Sense Group, said: “Under no circumstances should something like this be allowed. It’s beyond disrespectful.
“The Cenotaph remembers all those who have died fighting for our country and its values. Apologists for terror do not represent these values and should be allowed nowhere near such a sacred national monument.”
It also follows a mass protest at London’s Liverpool Street station on Tuesday this week, which saw hundreds of pro-Palenstine activists lock down the busy transport hub during peak rush hour traffic.
Brexit firebrand Nigel Farage shared a clip of the protest on social media, with the simple caption: “We are in huge trouble. Open your eyes.”
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