The annual ‘Million Mask March’ protest will be held in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 5 November at 6:00pm.
It is a protest against austerity, the infringement of rights, war crimes, corrupt politicians and to reinstate liberty, attracting gatherings of anti-austerity and extreme left wing/environmentalist protest groups to highlight their respective causes.
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Last year’s event saw around 2,500 persons attended, the majority went to Trafalgar Square and then walked around Central Westminster, Whitehall, Parliament Square, Buckingham Palace and back to Trafalgar Square. There was minimal engagement from main organisers during the event with Police Liaison Teams, however a large majority of protesters were happy to engage. Unfortunately due to the time of year, Fireworks and flares were let off throughout the night with some being directed at Police Officers. Groups of people turned up in possession of fireworks, flares, laser pens and spray paint.
Key locations visited by the Million Mask March in previous years: Queen Victoria statue (The Wedding Cake), Buckingham Palace, Leicester Square, Bank of England, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Parliament Square, Whitehall, Westminster Bridge and Trafalgar Square, however other locations may become the focus for protest during such a fluid event.
The Metropolitan police are expecting that this year’s event will follow in a similar pattern, and it is likely that smaller groups may try and splinter from the main march and cause disruption in various areas across Central London.
Protestor tactics which we expect to see at this event include:
- Splintering into smaller groups to dilute the strength of the police resources on the event
- Attempt to force entry into premises
- Obstructing traffic and blocking roads
- Convene in other locations away from the official meeting point, using cafes and public houses that are in the proximity of the event
- Missile throwing, specifically fireworks
- Obstructing Officers from affecting arrests/ making enquiries.
The MPS plan is flexible and intends to minimise the disruption to the everyday life of the Capital.
Road Closures: Although the plan is fluid there is a 3:30pm lockdown of Constitution Hill, Spring Gardens, Marlborough Road, Spur Road and Horse Guards Road and Matthew Parker Street.
A wide range of options and legislation are open to the police command team if deemed appropriate and proportionate, including imposing certain conditions, dispersal zones if anti-social behaviour’s a problem, enforcing powers to search for weapons and using legislation to instruct people to remove their masks if they think they’re wearing them for criminal intent.
Commissioners Directions (road closures) have been for the BOCUs of Westminster, Camden, Lambeth, Southwark and Kensington & Chelsea from 2:00pm.
Currently the following legislation has been authorised:
Public Order Conditions have been signed covering the following:
1. Any static assembly held can only take place at the following locations:
In the area in the centre of Parliament Square (known as Parliament Square Gardens)
In the barriered area on the East Footway of Whitehall, opposite Downing Street (known as Richmond Terrace).
2. Any assembly held at any of these three locations will start no earlier than 6:00pm and conclude no later than 9:00pm.
3. The march will commence from Trafalgar Square and must stay within the area bounded by Trafalgar Square, Northumberland Avenue, Victoria Embankment, Bridge Street, St Margaret Street, Abingdon Street, Millbank (up to the junction with Great Peter Street), Parliament Square, Parliament Street, Whitehall.
4. The march must not commence before 6:00pm.
5. The march must not continue after 9:00pm.
6. The participants must follow the directions of a constable even if the route is varied.
7. There will be no motor-vehicles as part of the procession.