Scotland Yard is bracing for a weekend of pro-Palestine activism as it emerged leaders of several groups behind scheduled protests had links to Hamas or had expressed support for the terrorist organisation.
A rally beginning at Marble Arch in central London on Saturday is expected to be larger than protests attended by tens of thousands last weekend that saw some openly support Hamas’ attacks of October 7.
Among those showing support for the terrorist acts in Israel were two women who were photographed wearing images of Hamas paragliders on their jackets.
Following the rally Home Secretary Suella Braverman warned protesters who celebrated Hamas atrocities would feel the full force of the law.
But the Jewish Chronicle revealed that leaders of some of the groups behind tomorrow’s march have expressed sympathies with Hamas.
Scotland Yard is bracing for a weekend of pro-Palestine activism as it emerged leaders of several groups behind scheduled protests had links to Hamas or had expressed support for the terrorist organisation
Thousands of people take part in a vigil outside Downing Street for the victims of an airstrike on Al-Ahli Al-Arabi Baptist hospital on Wednesday
A rally beginning at Marble Arch in central London on Saturday is expected to be larger than protests attended by tens of thousands last weekend that saw some openly support Hamas’ attacks of October 7
The Friends of al-Aqsa was founded by Ismael Patel, a Leicester-based activist who told a rally in 2009: ‘Hamas is no terrorist organisation… we salute Hamas for standing up to Israel.’
John Nicholson, of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, told a rally in Oldham earlier this week: ‘We support the Palestinian resistance.
‘Let Suella Braverman hear this clearly: Oldham supports the Palestinian resistance.’
Mr Nicholson, who has previously referred to former Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a terrorist, added: ‘We have a right to wave a flag, we have a right to sing a little song that they are forbidding, and I’ll ask you to join with me, if you want to do a little gentle law-breaking in Oldham this afternoon. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.’
Hamas was proscribed as a terrorist group in November 2021 and membership carries a potential prison sentence.
Ms Braverman last week wrote to chief constables urging them to clamp down on those who glorify terrorism.
She referred to the chant ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ as ‘a staple of antisemitic discourse.’
The home secretary added: ‘To hear it shouted in public causes alarm not just to Jews but to all decent people.’
Lord Pickles, special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, called for tomorrow’s rally, which comes just two weeks after more than 1,400 civilians were murdered in Israel by Hamas, to be called off.
‘We don’t want a march glorifying racial hatred on our streets,’ he told the Jewish Chronicle.
Former independent reviewer of terror legislation, Lord Carlile KC, added: ‘The wise course would be for the demonstration not to take place, and for a period of public calm respectful to all victims in Israel and Gaza to occur.’
The Metropolitan Police deployed more than 1,000 officers at protests last weekend.
Deputy assistant commissioner Laurence Taylor warned at the time that anyone seen with a flag in support of Hamas or another proscribed organisation would be arrested.
An expression of support for the Palestinian people or waving the Palestinian flag would not constitute a criminal offence, but there were some situations where the presence of a banner or flag could be seen as intimidation, he added.