Londoners have a right to get their own city back

The JC Leader 26 April 2024


Protest on 17 April 2024 against the export of arms from Britain to Israel. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

April 25, 2024 15:55

When a prime minister declares that he is “appalled” at an aspect of policing, it is clear that something has gone very wrong. Rishi Sunak’s reaction to the police threatening to arrest Gideon Falter for supposedly provoking pro-Palestine marchers by being “openly Jewish” will surely be shared by the vast majority of people.

But amid the furious debate about the videoed exchange between the officer and Falter, the bigger picture is in danger of being lost. As the CST pointed out in a statement, the real problem is the police’s failure to get to grips with the weekly marches. The Met has appeased the thugs on the rallies by placing the avoidance of confrontation above the need to arrest those chanting antisemitic slogans or carrying banners supporting jihad or intifada. As a result, anyone “openly Jewish” nearby is now being threatened with arrest to keep the peace. 

Meanwhile, Niyak Ghorbani, the Iranian activist who holds a sign saying simply “Hamas is terrorist”, has been violently arrested four times, supposedly for his own safety. This hands all the initiative to the marchers, who are in effect setting the terms by which they will be policed.

The fundamental issue, as the Community Security Trust puts it, is “how much longer these costly and disruptive protests will be allowed to continue… It feels like any balance between the right to protest and the rights of everyone else has been completely lost, with the extremists the only ones to benefit”.

This has been going on for more than six months. It must not be allowed to continue. London cannot be allowed to become a no-go area for any minority because the police are unwilling, unable or simply afraid to tackle extremists.

The police have failed not just the Jewish community but London itself through their failure to police the marches properly. The right to protest must be weighed against Londoners’ right to have their city back.

April 25, 2024 15:55

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