'Why remove Gurkhas tent but allow XR to put a boat in Oxford Circus?'

12 August 2021, 08:55 | Updated: 12 August 2021, 09:05

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

‘How come the Met removed elderly Gurkha’s awning but XR can put a yellow boat in Oxford Circus?’: Nick Ferrari puts Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick on the spot.

During a regular Call the Commissioner phone in the Met Police chief was asked "how come the Met removed elderly Gurkhas awning, but you can put a yellow boat in Oxford Circus and skateboard and sing with demonstrators?"

The criticism comes after officers removed a tent like awning from Gurkhas on a hunger strike opposite Downing Street.

The Commissioner said she has "massive respect for the Gurkhas," and there are former soldiers in the Met.

Watch in full: Call the Commissioner - Met Police chief answers LBC listener's questions

She said the bylaws of the area where the former soldiers are protesting "do not allow for, what might become a permanent encampment."

The Commissioner said she felt her officers were "police and professional and doing their job."

Nick challenged Commissioner Dick pointing out previously Extinction Rebellion protesters had pitched tents and camped on several London bridges.

The Met Chief shot back that many areas of London did not have the same bylaws as exist on Whitehall.

The top cop ended by telling Nick Ferrari that in this case she did think her officers have "done the right thing."

The Gurkhas are protesting in an area of Whitehall called Richmond Terrace, which has a dedicated area for demonstrations opposite the main gates of Downing Street.

The group of former soldiers are campaigning for equal pensions for Gurkhas who retired before 1997 and are not eligible for a full UK Armed Forces pension.

The Support Our Gurkhas protesters, who reached their fifth day of not eating on Wednesday, say they have been "harassed" by police officers who took down their gazebos.

Veteran Dhan Gurung told LBC: "Our Gurkha ancestors fought and gave their lives, blood, tears and sweat in order to save Great Britain and the Crown."

But now, three of us are sacrificing our lives in order to get equal rights.

"That is our fight."