King Charles III leads silence for British war dead
Chelsea Pensioners parade during the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London, on November 12, 2023. Remembrance Sunday is an annual commemoration held on the closest Sunday to Armistice Day, November 11, the anniversary of the end of the First World War and services across Commonwealth countries remember servicemen and women who have fallen in the line of duty since WWI. (Photo by Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP)
(AFP) - King Charles III on Sunday led Britain in a two-minute silence to honour its war dead in his first remembrance service since being crowned, a day after violence marred commemorations.
The memorial was the scene of ugly scenes on Saturday, Armistice Day, when police scuffled with a group of counter-protestors -- opposed to a huge pro-Palestinian march -- as they attempted to reach the site.
Almost 10,000 veterans marched past the Cenotaph memorial in central London, while thousands more members of the public gathered in tribute to British and Commonwealth servicemen and women who have died in battle.
The king, along with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer, laid wreaths on the Cenotaph shortly after the nation fell silent at 11.00am (1100 GMT).
"The courage and commitment shown by our servicemen and women, both today and throughout the generations that came before them, is humbling and I know many across the country will be honouring their memory today in quiet reflection," said Sunak.
"Recent events have served as a stark reminder that we cannot take the hard-earned peace we live in for granted.
"I am determined to ensure we never forget the ultimate sacrifice they have made," he added.
Marchers included 100-year-old Second World War veterans and children of servicemen and women who have died in conflict.
Remembrance Sunday is an annual commemoration held on the closest Sunday to Armistice Day, November 11, the anniversary of the end of the First World War to remember servicemen and women who have fallen in the line of duty since WWI.
It comes after the march on Armistice Day saw hundreds of thousands of pro-Palestinian supporters march through London calling for a ceasefire in Israel's war in Gaza.
The march went ahead after a week of tensions, which saw the government call for it to be scrapped, and police said they made scores of arrests.
© Agence France-Presse