Backlash aimed at police after divisive ‘From the River to the Sea’ slogan was projected onto Parliament

22 February 2024, 17:39

The controversial pro-Palestine slogan was projected onto the Elizabeth Tower, often referred to as Big Ben, last night
The controversial pro-Palestine slogan was projected onto the Elizabeth Tower, often referred to as Big Ben, last night. Picture: Getty
Sukhmani Sethi

By Sukhmani Sethi

The controversial pro-Palestine slogan was projected onto the Elizabeth Tower, often referred to as Big Ben, last night after campaigners gathered outside the Houses of Parliament last night during the crunch vote on a ceasefire in Gaxa, triggering backlash against the police.

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The controversial pro-Palestine slogan was projected onto the Elizabeth Tower, often referred to as Big Ben, after campaigners gathered outside the Houses of Parliament last night during the crunch vote on a ceasefire in Gaxa, triggering backlash against the police.

The chant, which has been branded as anti-Semitic for the alleged insinuation that it calls for the eradication of Israel, has been heard during pro-Palestine marches and spotted written across signs at protests demanding an immediate ceasefire.

Other messages projected onto the side of the building included, “Stop Bombs”, which was accompanied with animated falling missiles, as well as “Stop Bombing Gaza - Ceasefire Now”.

The Met police have been slammed for allowing the London landmark to be ‘used as a billboard’ for a ‘genocidal’ slogan, but the force has explained that last night’s display did not break any law.

In a statement, the nation’s largest force responded: ‘"This is a chant that has been frequently heard at pro-Palestinian demonstrations for many years and we are very aware of the strength of feeling in relation to it.

The controversial pro-Palestine slogan was projected onto the Elizabeth Tower, often referred to as Big Ben, last night after campaigners gathered outside the Houses of Parliament last nigh
The controversial pro-Palestine slogan was projected onto the Elizabeth Tower, often referred to as Big Ben, last night after campaigners gathered outside the Houses of Parliament last nigh. Picture: Getty

“While there are scenarios where chanting or using these words could be unlawful depending on the specific location or context, its use in a wider public protest setting, such as last night, is not a criminal offence"

Editor of the Jewish Chrnicle, Jake Wallis Simons posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: “‘From the river to the sea’ has only one meaning. We all know what it is.

“If you're comfortable with the October 7 atrocities, you'll find that you're comfortable with the slogan. If you're not, then stand up and say so.”

Reacting to the demonstration in Westminster, Conservative MP Andrew Percy told the Commons today that he ‘felt safer in Israel’ than in the UK, following his recent trip to Israel.

Percy warned that such demonstrations would prevent MPs from voting on Labour’s proposals for a ceasefire “with their hearts” because they are “frightened and they are scared.”

He added:”What do we expect? For months i’ve beens standing here, talking about people on our streets demanding death to jews, demanding jihad, demanding intafadas as the police stand by and allow that to happen.

The Tory backbencher said that the “genocidal call” implied that “no jew is welcome in the state of israel or in that land”

300,000 people in northern Gaza, including children, are facing acute malnutrition
300,000 people in northern Gaza, including children, are facing acute malnutrition. Picture: Getty

Reacting the voting crisis in the Commons yesterday, which saw the SNP and Conservatives call for a vote of no confidence in Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, a spokesperson from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “The events in Parliament yesterday were further evidence of the absolute disconnect between most MPs and the public, with opinion polls making clear that the vast majority of the British people support a call for an immediate ceasefire and by 2 to 1 believe Israel’s assault on Gaza is unjustified.”

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn blasted the astonishing events in Westminister yesterday as “an appalling day for British Parliament”.

He added: “It was much, much worse for the people of Gaza, who are dying slowly and painfully from dehydration, disease and starvation.

“We must end this systematic slaughter — the existence of the Palestinian people is at stake.”

The Gaza strip has been described as a ‘death zone’ by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organisation.

The death toll of Palestinians killed is approaching 30,000 as the Israeli bombing campaign continues, with conditions being particularly alarming in northern Gaza, where an estimated 300,000 people, including children, are facing acute malnutrition.

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