‘Anti-Palestinian Bias’: UK Home Secretary Alleges Police Favoritism Towards Pro-Palestine Protesters

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British Home Secretary Suella Braverman has accused London’s Metropolitan Police force of being more lenient towards pro-Palestinian demonstrators than other groups, escalating a political feud sparked by the Israel-Hamas war. Braverman said the police were ignoring lawbreaking by “pro-Palestinian mobs” and described demonstrators calling for a ceasefire in Gaza as “hate marchers”. Pro-Palestinian rallies have been held in London and other British cities every weekend since the war began more than a month ago.

The government has criticised organisers for planning a march on Saturday because it is Armistice Day, the anniversary of the end of World War I, when many in Britain pause to remember the victims of war. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has criticised planned protests on Remembrance weekend as “provocative and disrespectful.” But after summoning police chief Mark Rowley for talks on Wednesday, Sunak said the government backed “the right to peacefully protest”.

Braverman accused the police of acting more leniently towards pro-Palestinian demonstrators and Black Lives Matter supporters than to right-wing protesters or soccer hooligans. She said “there is a perception that senior police officers play favourites when it comes to protesters,” and called demonstrations calling for a cease-fire in Gaza “an assertion of primacy by certain groups,” particularly Islamic extremists.

Police say there have been almost 200 arrests across London related to the conflict since the start of the war, including 98 for suspected antisemitic offences and 21 for alleged anti-Muslim offences. Protests can be banned in Britain only if there is a risk of serious disorder. Police said that threshold has not been met, though they are worried that “breakaway groups intent on fuelling disorder” may show up, including far-right activists.

Opposition Labour Party spokeswoman Yvette Cooper said Braverman was “deliberately undermining respect for the police” and “seeking to create division.” Countries around the world have grappled with how to handle the strong emotions stirred by the conflict. France’s interior minister on 12 October issued an order to local authorities nationwide to ban pro-Palestinian protests, citing risks to public order.

SOURCE: Ref Image from Reuters

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