Minister on pro-Palestine march on Remembrance weekend

Humza Yousaf has said planned pro-Palestine protests should “absolutely” go ahead on Armistice Day.

The Scottish First Minister also raged at the UK Government’s response to the march, which is demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict, due to take place in central London this Saturday.

There are fears the planned demonstration could disrupt Remembrance Day events commemorating the nation’s war dead.

The SNP leader said: “I understand (the march) is taking place after the minute silence that we will all undoubtedly observe, I hear it’s not going anywhere near Whitehall or, indeed, the Cenotaph.

“And, of course, if Armistice was about anything, my goodness, it’s about peace.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has condemned the planned rally on Remembrance Day, while Home Secretary Suella Braverman branded them “hate marches”.

But Mr Yousaf, whose in-laws left Gaza over the weekend after a month of being trapped, said: “I am beyond angry at the Home Secretary and the UK Government who seem to want to drive every issue into a culture war.

“Describing those marches as hate marches is disgraceful, unacceptable.

“Yes, in every single march, I’m afraid you’ll get one or two idiots who will do and say something that we all universally condemn, but to describe those hundreds of thousands in London, in cities across the UK, including here in Scotland, as full of hate or hate marches is completely unacceptable.

“Frankly, this UK Government is unfit for office and certainly the Home Secretary is unfit for office.”

But Scottish Tory MSP Stephen Kerr said: “Armistice day is the one day of the year we dedicate to the hundreds of thousands who have given their lives to keep this country free.

“Surely we can have just the one day.”

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, organisers of the planned protest, has pledged to avoid the Whitehall area where the Cenotaph is located.

The Met Police has said it would use “all powers and tactics” at its disposal to prevent disruption, including Section 13 of the Public Order Act 1986, which allows the banning of a procession when there is a risk of serious disorder.

A two-minute silence will be observed at 11am on Saturday, while there is also the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, which is usually attended by members of the Royal Family.

Remembrance Sunday events will take place at the Cenotaph in Westminster the following day.

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