Home Office Considers Call to Curb Pro-Palestine Protest With Tighter Law

1 month ago 62

The department is examining proposals submitted by Campaign Against Antisemitism and by the government’s adviser on political violence and disruption.

The Home Office has said it’s “looking closely” at calls from Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) to curb weekly pro-Palestinian protests with tighter laws.

The campaigner has submitted proposals including a call on Home Secretary James Cleverly to change the law so marches that cause cumulative disruption, not limited to physical obstructions, can be banned.

In a statement to media outlets on Saturday, a Home Office spokesperson thanked CAA for its proposals, adding, “we will be looking closely at them alongside [Independent Adviser on Political Violence and Disruption] Lord Walney’s recommendations which will be published this week.”

“The right to protest is a cornerstone of our democracy, but there are clear concerns about the cumulative impact protests are having on some of our communities which we are looking at,” the spokesperson said.

“All communities should be able to go about their daily lives without fear. We have been clear with the police that they must use all the powers available to them to police protests appropriately and will always have our backing in doing so,” they added.

Since the Israel–Hamas war broke out following the Hamas terror attack on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, large-scale pro-Palestinian marches have been held almost weekly in central London.

Related Stories

Campaign Against Antisemitism Calls Off March Following Threats
Calls to Remove Met Police Chief After ‘Openly Jewish’ Man Threatened With Arrest

While some demonstrators say they are advocating on behalf of civilian casualties in Gaza, the marches have been controversial for their failure to exclude displays and chants that are perceived as being anti-Semitic.

The Metropolitan Police has also faced repeated criticism for its handling of the marches, including delayed arrests of suspects.

CAA last month called for Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley to quit after the campaigner’s chief executive Gideon Falter was threatened with arrest for being “openly Jewish” near a pro-Palestine protest.

Calling for the law to be changed, CAA said its polling of British Jews suggested 90 percent of them would avoid city centres when pro-Palestinian marches are going on, and two-thirds believe the police apply a double standard on so-called anti-Semitic hate crime and other types of “hate crime.”

There is no standalone “hate crime” in England’s statute book. The police record any criminal offence which is perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s actual or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or sexuality as a hate crime. Once a defendant is convicted of a crime, the Crown Prosecution Service can ask the court to increase the sentence if the crime has been flagged as a hate crime.

In its proposals, CAA called on the home secretary to tighten a rule to curb disruptive protests, which was introduced in recent years in response to road blockings by climate protesters.

The campaigner said the types of disruption should not be limited to “physical obstruction,” and that accounts “must” to taken of “relevant cumulative disruption.”

CAA proposed that the mayor of London is required to seek assurances from the commissioner ahead of a planned protest that the policing of the event is sufficiently resourced so arrests can be made immediately and not at a later date, and that others acting lawfully in the vicinity can be protected.

If such assurances are not forthcoming, the mayor should be required to work with the commissioner to increase resources, or restrict or ban the event, the campaigner said.

It also called on the home secretary to proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Houthi rebels, and other Palestinian groups involved in the Hamas-led Oct. 7 terrorist attack so police can arrest supporters of the groups.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the main organiser of pro-Palestinian protests, for comment.

Read Entire Article