Suella Braverman to challenge Met police after ‘jihad’ chant at London protest was allowed by officers

23 October 2023, 00:20

The Home Secretary is expected to quiz Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley on Monday about the incident.
The Home Secretary is expected to quiz Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley on Monday about the incident. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Home Secretary Suella Braverman will challenge the Met Police on Monday after they concluded a ‘jihad’ chant during a pro-Palestine protest in London was lawful.

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Suella Braverman is set to challenge Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley on Monday after officers did not arrest protesters chanting ‘jihad’ during a march on the weekend.

Ms Braverman will reportedly say that “there can be no place for incitement to hatred or violence” and police “must crack down on anyone breaking the law” when addressing Sir Rowley.

It comes after the Met said it was told about clips showing a man at a Hizb ut-Tahrir protest chanting "jihad" during a campaign in London on Saturday.

“The Home Secretary is already due to meet the Metropolitan Police commissioner to discuss the ongoing Israel-Gaza protests and will be asking for an explanation over the response to incidents which took place on Saturday,” a source close to Ms Braverman said.

“There can be no place for incitement to hatred or violence on Britain’s streets and, as the Home Secretary has made clear, the police are urged to crack down on anyone breaking the law.”

Another minister told the MailOnline: “I'm worried the police are losing the confidence of the public, certainly the Jewish community.”

Police said specialist officers had reviewed clips of a man chanting "jihad, jihad" and signs and banners that referred to Muslim armies but said it did not identify any offences.

Read more: Government to probe why Met Police concluded 'jihad' chant and 'Muslim armies' signs at Palestine demo were lawful

Read more: ‘It’s the Israeli government’: Student Marie Andersen tries to defend vile anti-Semitic poster causing global fury

Ms Braverman is expected to challenge Sir Mark Rowley over the incident on Monday.
Ms Braverman is expected to challenge Sir Mark Rowley over the incident on Monday. Picture: Alamy

It added that "jihad" has "a number of meanings" while "there are varying interpretations" of what "Muslim armies" can refer to.

Sir Rowley is expected to defend his officers’ decision speaking to Ms Braverman on Monday and argue that the demonstrators could not have been prosecuted for their actions under existing legislation.

It comes after immigration minister Robert Jenrick said that the Met’s conclusion of the incident was “surprising” as he suggested they should have been met with the “full force of the law”.

Speaking to LBC’s Andrew Castle on Sunday morning, Mr Jenrick said: "I think a lot of people would find the Metropolitan Police analysis surprising and that's something we intend to raise with them and to discuss this incident with them."

He added: "I don't think that there's any place for chants of 'jihad' on the streets of Britain, I think that's totally unacceptable.

"In the context that was said yesterday, from what I've seen, that is an incitement to terrorist violence.

"Ultimately it's a decision for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service whether to take action, it's not for me to tell them what to do.

"Beyond the legality there is a question of values and I would hope there would be a consensus in this country that chanting 'jihad' on the streets of Britain is completely reprehensible and should not be allowed to continue."

Robert Jenrick calls cries of 'jihad' at Free Palestine march 'unacceptable'

Tens of thousands of people marched through the centre of London on Saturday and called for an end to Israel's attacks on Gaza.

Israel is bombarding the strip ahead of an expected ground invasion to destroy Hamas after the terror group massacred more than 1,000 people on October 7.

The demonstrators marched from Marble Arch to Parliament bearing Palestinian flags and green smoke devices.

Some were seen with signs bearing the controversial "rivers to the sea" slogan which some have deemed anti-Semitic.

The force said in a statement: "The word has a number of meanings but we know the public will most commonly associate it with terrorism.

"Specialist officers have assessed the video and have not identified any offences arising from the specific clip. We have also sought advice from specialist Crown Prosecution Service lawyers who have reached the same conclusion.

"However, recognising the way language like this will be interpreted by the public and the divisive impact it will have, officers identified the man involved and spoke to him to discourage any repeat of similar chanting.

"We are also aware of photos from the same protest showing signs and banners referring to 'Muslim armies'.

"While there are varying interpretations of what the language on the placards should be interpreted to mean, officers must take decisions based on the wording actually used.

"Again, this was subject to a careful assessment and no signs or banners were identified that were unlawful."

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