Met police make 18 arrests at pro-Palestine march in central London - including man 'holding Nazi placard'

25 November 2023, 20:44

Police issued a hate speech warning
Police issued a hate speech warning. Picture: Met police/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Police arrested 18 people at a pro-Palestine march in central London today, including a man who was 'holding a placard with Nazi symbols on it'.

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Officers arrested a man on suspicion of inciting racial hatred after he was seen carrying a placard with Nazi symbols on it.

It came after they warned that hate speech would not be tolerated as thousands descended on the capital for a pro-Palestine rally.

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

Protesters were previously seen with anti-Semitic signs and slogans during the march on Armistice Day.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan, who led the policing operation, said: "Regrettably, there was still a small minority who believed the law did not apply to them. Thanks to the efforts of our CCTV teams and other officers, a number of those are already in custody.

"Investigations into other offences are already under way and will continue in the coming days.

"I would also like to thank the Met officers, as well as all those from other forces who travelled long distances to help us keep London safe, for their efforts.

'We said we would intervene decisively where offences took place and that is what they did.”

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Leaflets from police 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."

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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."

Hate crime protest leaflets
Hate crime protest leaflets. 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."

Planned route
Planned route. Picture: Met police

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."

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