LONDON (AP) — King Charles III on Sunday led a national memorial service honoring those who died serving the United Kingdom — an event that passed without incident despite fears that tensions surrounding the Israel-Hamas war might disrupt the ceremony.
London's Metropolitan Police Service deployed more than double the usual number of officers to safeguard the event and put a 24-hour guard around the national war memorial, known as the Cenotaph, to ensure it wasn't defaced.
The annual service, during which thousands of veterans paraded past the Cenotaph, came after a week of debate over calls to cancel a massive pro-Palestinian march on Saturday out of respect for the weekend's memorial events. While the march was largely peaceful, police clashed with far-right counter-protesters who tried to disrupt it.
Police on Saturday arrested about 120 people. They described them as mostly soccer “hooligans” from around the U.K. who spent the day confronting officers trying to keep them away from the march. Nine officers were injured, including two who were hospitalized.
“Recent events have served as a stark reminder that we cannot take the hard-earned peace we live in for granted, which is why I am honored to lay a wreath on behalf of the nation in the memory of all those that have lost their lives defending our country and the values we hold so close,'' Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a prepared…