Petition calling for Met Commissioner’s resignation over officer’s ‘openly Jewish’ remark gains 10,000 signatures

‘Don’t just manage marches, police them’: Rishi Sunak chastises the Met Police for ‘unconscionable’ treatment of Jewish campaigner


Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley is facing calls to resign after a Jewish campaigner was threatened with arrest by an officer for attempting to cross a road during a pro-Palestine march while being 'openly Jewish'. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Nearly 10,000 people have signed a petition calling for the resignation of Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley after a Jewish campaigner was told by an officer that his “openly Jewish” presence at a pro-Palestine march was causing a “breach of the peace.”

The petition was sponsored by the Campaign Against Antisemitism after a Metropolitan Police officer prevented the organisation’s chief executive, Gideon Falter, from crossing a road during a Palestine march in central London on 13 April due to his “openly Jewish” appearance.

Rishi Sunak has since said that Scotland Yard must regain the confidence of the public by policing protests properly, telling the Met Police: “Don’t just manage marches, police them.”

Sunak's comments intensify pressure on Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley who is facing calls to resign over the incident, footage of which has been widely viewed on social media.

Sunak said: “I was shocked to see that footage over the weekend, as I'm sure many people were. That's why when I was asked yesterday I was very clear that the police have got to not just manage these protests, they’ve got to police them.

“People are seeing scenes like that that they don't understand, they don't think are acceptable and that they think undermine the values that are important to us as a country and society,” Sunak said.

“My expectation is that the Met Commissioner regains the trust and confidence of the Jewish community and the public more broadly when it comes to how these protests are being policed and not just managed.”

Falter has called on his supporters to join him for a “walk” this Saturday, which will coincide with another pro-Palestine march in central London. In a letter to Met Police Chief Superintendent Andy Brittain, a screenshot of which Falter posted to X, the CAA head wrote:

“I am not planning a protest on 27th April. I am going for a walk as a private individual. I have not yet decided where I will walk, however it is likely that whilst walking I will be quite openly Jewish. Others might decide to join me. They might not. That is a matter for them. They might also be quite openly Jewish. They might not. That is also a matter for them.”

Falter clarified in a statement on Monday that he has not been offered a meeting with Rowley. He added that “any suggestion otherwise, if they came from the police, could have been a ploy by the Met, which is scrambling to save the Commissioner’s job.”

“The fault for this policing policy, which we have seen play out for half a year now on our streets, does not lie with frontline officers, including those with whom I interacted who have been put in an impossible position by the leadership. The fault lies squarely with Sir Mark. It is time for him to go, and if he does not resign, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Home Secretary, James Cleverly, should remove him from his post.”

Defying calls for his removal, Rowley met with Home Secretary James Cleverly and London mayor Sadiq Khan on Monday, and they were joined by representatives from Jewish groups who called for stricter regulations on the number of pro-Palestine protests allowed to take place in central London.

Cleverly said: “Jewish people will always have the right to be able to go about their daily lives safely and freely, in London and across the UK. Sir Mark has reassured me he will make this clear to all sections of the community as a matter of urgency. The Met's focus now is rightly on reassurance, learning from what happened, and ensuring that Jewish people are safe and feel safe in London. I support them in that critical endeavour.”

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