The Metropolitan Police “plays favourites” when it comes to the types of demonstrations they allow to take place in London, and have “largely ignored” the aggressive behaviour of anti-Israel yobs “even when clearly breaking the law”, Suella Braverman has said.
In a piece published in The Times that will pile more pressure on the force to put a stop to the next anti-Israel march, scheduled to take place on Armistice Day, the home secretary argued that senior officers are employ a “double standard” when it comes to policing protests in the capital.
Braverman pointedly referred to the demonstrations as “hate marches” saying: “Each weekend has been worse than the previous one. Last Saturday police were attacked with fireworks, train services were brought to a halt and poppy sellers were mobbed. Now, as we approach a significant weekend for our nation, the hate marchers — a phrase I do not resile from — intend to use Armistice Day to parade in yet another show of strength.”
The home secretary, whose husband is Jewish, stated that the rallies were more than “merely a cry for help for Gaza”, and described them “an assertion of primacy by certain groups — particularly Islamists — of the kind we are more used to seeing in Northern Ireland”.
She went on to suggest senior police officers “play favourites when it comes to protesters”, arguing that during Covid, “lockdown objectors were given no quarter by public order police yet Black Lives Matters demonstrators were enabled, allowed to break rules”.
While far-right protesters who “engage in aggression” are “rightly met with a stern response”, the “pro-Palestinian mobs displaying almost identical behaviour are largely ignored, even when clearly breaking the law,” she added.
Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has said Saturday’s march may only be stopped if there is a threat of serious disorder, and that the "very high threshold" has not been reached.
Half of Britons think the anti-Israel marches – billed as pro-Palestinian rallies - should be banned on Armistice Day, according to a YouGov poll conducted for Sky News.
Of the 2,080 British adults polled this week, 50 per cent wanted the marches banned, 34 per cent thought they should be allowed to go ahead, and the remainder said they did not know.
On Wednesday, the Met said that since October 7 it had made 188 arrests for alleged hate crimes and violence linked to protests in the capital. Of these, 98 were suspected antisemitic offences, 21 were alleged Islamophobic offences and 12 were believed to be hate crimes against other faiths. An additional 57 were public order offences, of which “many” were racially aggravated.
The vast majority of protest arrests took place in Westminster, while the majority of antisemitic offences were reported in Hackney, north London, which is home to a large Jewish community.