Call to prosecute anti-Israel Proms protesters

By Simon Rocker, January 12, 2012
Some of the IPO Proms protesters

Some of the IPO Proms protesters

A new pro-Israel lawyers group has written to the Metropolitan Police calling for the prosecution of protesters who disrupted a concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in London last September.

Jonathan Turner, chairman of UK Lawyers for Israel, set up last year, urged the Met's Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, to ask the Crown Prosecution Service to act before the March 1 deadline on mounting a prosecution.

Mr Turner argued that charges of aggravated trespass could be brought against some of the demonstrators over the incident during a Proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

He wrote: "The disrupters loudly sang, chanted and shouted, effectively ruining the performance for those present and causing the BBC to take the live transmission off the air.

"Eye-witness accounts and video footage confirm that the repeated interruptions resulted in a threatening atmosphere which could easily have led to a serious breakdown of public order."

While a number of witnesses had contacted the police at the time, Mr Turner wrote: "It appears that a decision was then taken not to prosecute, apparently because the Royal Albert Hall management did not specifically ask the police to act.

"We find this difficult to understand. The fact that the Royal Albert Hall has not asked the police to intervene does not mean that no crime has occurred."

Last updated: 12:19pm, January 12 2012