Met police issues hate speech warning as thousands gather for pro-Palestine march in London

25 November 2023, 10:53 | Updated: 25 November 2023, 12:54

Police have issued a hate speech warning
Police have issued a hate speech warning. Picture: Alamy/Met

By Emma Soteriou

Police have issued a hate speech warning ahead of this weekend's pro-Palestine march through London.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Thousands of protesters are set to descend on the capital on Saturday afternoon for a pro-Palestine rally.

Around 1,500 officers will be deployed for the march, with the Metropolitan Police handing out leaflets telling demonstrators what will be considered a criminal offence.

It comes after anti-Semitic signs and slogans were seen and heard during the march on Armistice Day.

The leaflets read: "The law protects the right to lawful protests, and the Met Police supports your right to legally make your voice heard.

"However, the law also protects people from racist abuse and from terrorism being promoted.

"Whilst the majority of people are complying with these rules, a minority have crossed the line."

Read more: First Israeli hostages reunited with families, as government prepares for more captives to be released

Read more: Who are the 13 Israeli hostages released by Hamas? Sisters aged 2 and 4 among the captives freed

Hate crime protest leaflets
Hate crime protest leaflets. Picture: Met police

The Met's deputy assistant commissioner Ade Adelekan said: "This sets out that anyone who is racist or incites hatred against any group should expect to be arrested.

"As should anyone who supports Hamas or any other banned organisation.

"We will not tolerate anyone who celebrates or promote acts of terrorism - such as the killing or kidnap of innocent people - or who spreads hate speech."

Planned route
Planned route. Picture: Met police

Organisers Stop the War coalition said the stepped up measure was "intrusive". They reminded people attending to avoid "any actions that might leave you or others around you open to arrest".

The group said in a statement: "We ask that all attending our marches respect these clear anti-racist principles, including in any signs or placards they choose to bring to the march."

Addressing the policing approach, the Met said: "There will be trained spotters at specific points of the march looking out for criminal activity, including hate placards and clothing, and identifying those responsible.

"We also have officers who have been briefed on chants, including those which cross the line of the law.

"Across the weekend, we will also be using technology to identify and track offenders within large groups of people and deploying intervention teams where we need to extract suspects."