Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley watches on phone as pro-Palestinian march escalates at Westminster
MET Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley was seen watching a pro-Palestinian protest escalate outside the Houses of Parliament.
The top officer of Britain's biggest police force was spotted by Essex News and Investigations some distance from the demo by the Supreme Court as the scale of the protest at Westminster on the evening of November 15 2023 appeared to take officers by surprise.
It happened after MPs had earlier voted inside against calling for a cease fire in the conflict in Gaza, sparked by the Hamas atrocities in Israel on October 7, and came the same day judges in the nearby Supreme Court ruled the Tory Government's Rwanda immigration plan to remove illegal migrants from the country was "unlawful".
According to police on the scene the numbers who attended had not been expected and there were up to 5,000 people there, although "mainly peaceful."
Several officers were on standby as the crowd chanted "Cease fire now" over and over.
Sir Mark was seen several metres away from the crowd, near the Supreme Court, at about 7:15pm.
He was watching events unfold and talking on the phone, as if relaying details back to New Scotland Yard, around the corner.
He was flanked by two men in plain clothes, who appeared to be acting as security.
One of the men confirmed it was Sir mark, but they then ushered him away from the area, as he remained talking on the phone, as they left.
It is not clear exactly what he was doing there, and he was in a suit, not in uniform.
The National Police Chief's Council and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners annual summit was taking place around the corner in the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.
The Met refused to comment on his attendance or on whether the protest had been expected in such numbers.
A Met spokeswoman said: "We don’t routinely provide estimates for protests (we realise we have for last weekend but it is not something we will do regularly).
"We won’t be making any comment on the Commissioner."
The protest was supposed to end at 8pm, but a breakaway group managed to make its way to Downing Street, where police had to prevent them getting over security gates.
Some of the group later scaled the Royal Artillery War Memorial at Hyde park Corner, which drew much condemnation, but the Met said no laws had been broken by doing this.