Pro-Palestine protesters to be jailed 3 months, fined in UK: Cleverly

A new public order offense states that pro-Palestine protesters who climb war memorials could face jail for three months and a 1,000 pound ($1,260) fine.

  • Pro-Palestinian, anti-“Israel” protesters gather with placards and flags at a “National March For Palestine” in London on November 11, 2023 (AFP)

UK Interior Minister James Cleverly revealed a new public order offense in a statement on Sunday, saying that pro-Palestine protesters who climb war memorials could face jail for three months and a 1,000 pound ($1,260) fine.

Cleverly claimed that the protests “have seen a small minority dedicated to causing damage and insulting those who paid the ultimate price for their freedom to protest,” adding, “Peaceful protest is fundamental in our county, but climbing on our war memorials is an insult to these monuments of remembrance and cannot continue.”

He stressed that this would be part of a plan to ensure police can keep public order and peace.

This came shortly after thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through London to “condemn UK government actions” in the war on Gaza and demanded an immediate ceasefire.

Ben Jamal, director of the UK-based Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, said the protests reached Whitehall as a message to Downing Street that “the UK must end its complicity in Israel’s genocide” and demand a permanent ceasefire.

Selective policing

The Met Police have warned against wearing face covers that could hide a protester’s identity, as an intimidation tactic that could scare people from participating, thereby suppressing the march, Jamal said. However, he noted that large numbers of people are turning up despite the threats and the fear attempts. 

Read more: UK defense company complicit in Gaza genocide targeted by protesters

The Met tried to hurdle Saturday’s protest, first by disallowing the march to reach Whitehall and Trafalgar Square, forcing protesters to take a U-turn toward Downing Street and second by dispatching hundreds of officers throughout the march and placing obstacles along the way, making the protests more dangerous for participants

Pro-Palestinians noted that the same attitude was missing when pro-Israeli marches and protests were taking place. 

In late October, a similar incident was faced as the head of the Metropolitan police, Commissioner Mark Rowley, declared that his forces would be “absolutely ruthless” during pro-Palestine protests but said prosecutions would only happen when the law is broken.

The UK has not only been notorious for impeding pro-Palestinian rights marches but has gone back to its imperial roots by implicating itself with the US in recent attacks against Yemen. 

Read next: US-UK aggression against Yemen is an open war: Ansar Allah

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