Some Acts At Pro-Palestinian Marches In UK ‘Not Acceptable’, Says Sunak
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday condemned some incidents at pro-Palestinian marches in Britain this weekend as “simply not acceptable” after police made several arrests.
“There is no place in our society for anti-Semitism and we will do everything we can to stamp it out. And where it happens, it will be met with the full force of the law,” Sunak said during a visit to a Jewish school in London.
London’s Metropolitan Police force said on Sunday evening that 15 people were arrested at Saturday’s pro-Palestinian protest in the centre of the British capital.
Three men were subsequently charged with committing crimes, including a 68-year-old man suspected of making racist comments. The other two were charged with illegal knife possession and failing to remove a face covering.
“They’ve made several arrests but they’re also now reviewing footage of some of the things that many people would have seen that are just simply not acceptable, and where they can they will be able to make further arrests,” Sunak added.
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in London and other UK cities in support of Palestinians on Saturday, a week after Hamas gunmen launched the deadliest-ever attack on Israel after crossing the border from Gaza.
The Islamist militants killed more than 1,400 people and took dozens more hostages.
Israel declared war on Hamas the next day, unleashing a relentless bombing campaign of Gaza that has flattened neighbourhoods and left at least 2,750 people — mainly civilians — dead in the territory.
The UK government and British police have said that they have noted a spike in anti-Semitic crime and incidents in Britain since the Hamas attack.
Sunak said he had told members of Britain’s Jewish community he would do “everything in our power to keep them safe”.
He also warned that praising Hamas, which is a banned terrorist organisation in the UK, could result in lengthy prison sentences.
“It’s very clear under the law: the support and glorification of Hamas is illegal and those offences are punishable with up to almost 14 years in jail,” he told British broadcasters.
The Met said last week that while supporting Hamas is a crime, general expressions of support for Palestinians, including flying the Palestinian flag, were not criminal offences.