“Hate marches” are how Home Secretary Suella Braverman has characterized public protests in favor of Palestinians.
It coincides with the filing of five charges following a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London on Saturday, the second weekend in a row that saw marches.
Following an emergency COBRA meeting led by Rishi Sunak, Ms. Braverman responded to a question regarding the demonstrations by saying, “In my opinion, there is only one way to characterize those marches: they are hate marches.
“What we’ve seen over the last few weekends, we’ve seen now tens of thousands of people take to the streets following the massacre of Jewish people, the single largest loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust, chanting for the erasure of Israel from the map.”
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She stated that police are concerned about the “large number of bad actors who are deliberately operating beneath the criminal threshold in a way which you or I or the vast majority of the British people would consider to be utterly odious” .
Azal Khan, a backbencher for Labour, responded by calling the home secretary’s description of the marches “disingenuous, dangerous, and deeply contradictory to the right we all hold to protest”.
Approximately 100,000 people have gathered in the capital over the last two weekends to express their disapproval of the Israel-Hamas war.
As Israel besieges Gaza and aerial bombards it, the force detained nine people on Saturday, two of whom were suspected of assaulting police officers and seven of whom were accused of violating public order.
In the wake of an incident in Trafalgar Square on Sunday morning, two other women were detained on suspicion of inciting racial hatred.
The UK’s terror threat level remains unchanged.
After talks on Monday, the UK is not raising the terror threat level just yet.
According to Ms. Braverman, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) maintains a “substantial” threat level from international terrorism.
The decision was made in spite of Sir Mark Rowley, the Commissioner of Metropolitan Police, who expressed concerns about “state threats from Iran” and warned on Sunday that events in the Middle East are “accelerating” terrorism.
Angry comments were made about Sir Mark’s police force after it was revealed that a video of a protest in which a demonstrator was heard chanting “jihad” had not revealed any crimes.
There have also been chants along the lines of “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea.”
The Anti-Defamation League claims the slogan is antisemitic, while some see it as a call for the destruction of Israel and others as a call for support for the Palestinian people.
Downing Street only went so far as to call the chant “a deeply offensive chant to many” on Monday, but Ms. Braverman has previously called the chant antisemitic and urged police to adopt a “zero tolerance approach”.
Although the UK has strong laws against hate crimes, Sir Mark continued, there is a “gap” in terms of extremism.
Ms. Braverman declared that she “would not hesitate to act” in the event that a change to the law was required.