The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, held a meeting this afternoon with representatives of the organisers of the proposed ‘March for Palestine, Peaceful Solidarity Protest’ planned for tomorrow, Saturday 22nd March. Also in attendance with the Chief Minister was the Commissioner of Police, Richard Ullger, and Superintendent Nolan Romero.
The Chief Minister shared with the representatives of the organisers of the proposed march the concerns that had been expressed to and by the Commissioner of Police about the potential for serious public disorder to result if it were to go ahead.
The Chief Minister and the Commissioner also shared with the representatives of the organisers the nature of the information that gave rise to their concerns.
The representatives of the organisers of the proposed march used the opportunity of the meeting to share their motivations and concerns with the Chief Minister and the Commissioner. They expressed also their aims and objectives in the organisation of the proposed march. They were very clear in setting out that they wished their actions should not be seen as divisive.
After a very frank and useful discussion, it was, however, agreed by the representatives of the proposed organisers that they will cancel the march and demonstration which they had advertised for tomorrow, Saturday 22nd March 2021.
The representative of the organisers of the proposed demonstration have, nonetheless, agreed with the Chief Minister to continue to work together with his office and the Commissioner and his Senior Command Team to, instead, pursue the organisation of alternative events that will not raise concerns about any public order issues arising as a result of their organisation and which will be designed to be inclusive and promoting of the respect between all the communities that make up the social fabric of Gibraltar.
The Chief Minister said: ‘This evening’s meeting was very respectful and cordial. I found the representatives of the organisers of the proposed demonstration helpful and engaging in explaining to the Commissioner and to me their motivations, intentions and objectives. I also found them very receptive and understanding of our concerns. I was very pleased at the understanding they displayed at the depth of our concerns about potential serious public disorder arising, which I have no doubt was the last thing the organisers would have wished to see emerge from their march. In the circumstances I am genuinely and deeply grateful for the decision taken by the representatives of the organisers to cancel the proposed march and demonstration tomorrow. I believe it is the right decision to ensure that we all put our little grain of sand into continuing to promote the respect and understanding that is the hallmark of our precious Gibraltar. I look forward to continuing to work with this group to promote these core values going forward as they shape their alternative proposals.”