POLICE have identified far-right groups organising counter-protests to pro-Palestinian demonstrations in London this weekend as the main risk of public disorder, according to reports.

The Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, which will be attended by the King and Queen and other members of the royal family, will take place on Saturday with Remembrance Sunday events at the Cenotaph in Westminster being held the following day.

It is understood there are “concerns that breakaway groups” from the main march “could look for trouble”, while counter-demonstrations may add to policing difficulties.

The i newspaper reported that messages in one anti-Islamic WhatsApp group, containing more than 1000 members, called on people to “fight back” against pro-Palestinian protesters.

The National:

Organisers, including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), have refused a request from the Met to postpone their rally on Saturday, and are hoping as many as one million people will show their support for a ceasefire in the war between Hamas and Israel.

English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson has also spoken out, saying “British men are mobilising for Saturday to be in London” to “show our government and show our police and show Hamas and everyone sitting around the world saying “Britain has fallen’ that there is a resistance”.

A call to arms has also been issued on social media by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance, a right-wing organisation that uses football fan networks to spread Islamophobic hate.

A post on the group’s Facebook page says: “Vets have reached out and asked for our support due to the threat from the far-left and pro-Palestinian supporters to disrupt the Remembrance Day parade.

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“We 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.”

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley on Tuesday resisted pressure heaped on the force by politicians including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to try to block a pro-Palestinian gathering in London on Saturday.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay, who insisted the rally will be “provocative”, told Sky News: “I think there’ll be ongoing discussions on this.

“There is a legal threshold, and the Commissioner is of the view that that legal threshold has not been met.

“Obviously, the Home Office and colleagues will discuss that over the course of the day.”

His Cabinet colleague Lucy Frazer, who is Jewish, called for the Met to keep the “very provocative” march “under review”.

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Frazer urged groups to refrain from “taking responsibility into their own hands”.

The Cabinet minister said: “We live in a country where we have freedom of expression, but what I do not want to see is any escalation of violence across the board.”

The planned route for the London march goes from Hyde Park – about a mile from the Cenotaph – to the US embassy in Vauxhall, south of the Thames.

Nick Lowles, CEO of charity Hope Not Hate, said: “Parts of the far-right are trying to mobilise against the pro-Palestine demonstration taking place this weekend around central London. However, these are by no means united efforts across the groups intending to head to London on Saturday.

“What remains to be seen is whether these groups have the power to mobilise in the way that they could several years ago. Tommy Robinson, his supporters, football hooligans and other far-right groups have failed in recent years to drum up sizeable numbers, but their appetite for confrontation could still pose a risk even if there is a small presence.”