Police stop vans showing images of kidnapped Israeli children
A huge row has broken out after Metropolitan Police officers blocked a legal demonstration displaying the faces of Israeli children kidnapped by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
It came just days after the same force had allowed Hamas supporters to openly display signs on the streets of London in pr-Palestinian protests glorifying the acts of terror which saw more than 1,400 innocent Israelis murdered and many hundreds more wounded.
The atrocities included the alleged beheading of babies as well as verified images of Israeli children’s bodies mutilated and burnt to death.
Among the symbols was the image of a black paraglider based on how some of the Hamas terrorists entered Israeli territory.
In the hours which followed the attacks on October 7, Metropolitan Police officers stood aside to allow supporters of Hamas to celebrate the atrocities on the streets including in front of a Jewish restaurant in Acton where Countdown star Rachel Riley was dining.
READ MORE: Anti-Israel protest camp next to the Cenotaph was ‘a major security breach’
Despite this light-touch approach to supporters of Hamas, the Metropolitan Police instantly clamped down on an attempt by the Campaign Against Antisemitism to drive a van through London with images of the kidnapped Israeli children on it.
Anti-Semitic elements in London have already been filmed and pictured tearing down posters with the children’s faces on them.
Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemtisim (CAA), a leading charity dealing with hatred aimed at Jews, described how he was driving the van, stopped by police, taken to the other side of the road and prevented from taking the images further.
The whole saga was posted on video on social media (above) leading Workington Conservative MP Mark Jenkinson to respond angrily.
He asked: “What are the Metropolitan Police playing at?”
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In a message to the police, Mr Jenkinson went on: “You were perfectly at liberty to watch them as they drove up Whitehall, and stop *actual crime* if those billboards – calling out terrorist atrocities – became a ‘point of tension’. Arrest criminals instead of policing thought.”
Mr Falter posted: “I’ve just had one of the most disturbing experiences in nine years at Campaign Against Antisemitism.
“Who are the police protecting here?
“Those standing up to terrorists, or those who sympathise with them? We are considering our legal options and a public protest.”
Already there has been fury that the police have been accused of allowing anti-Israel protesters including Hamas terror supporters in their midst to set up camp next to the Cenotaph in Whitehall without permission from Westminster Council.
The Met posted a statement: “Having watched the video shared this evening, we can understand why the intervention of officers was seen as preventing that protest and why it has caused such frustration and upset.
“In the days since the attacks in Israel took place, officers have worked to facilitate a number of demonstrations, vigils and other gatherings across London.
“We have no wish to limit freedom of expression or to prevent people from exercising their right to protest in whatever lawful way they see fit.
“However we do have a responsibility for public safety and there will be occasions where we try to avoid groups with strongly opposing views coming into immediate contact with each other.
“Last night officers were on duty policing a vigil organised by pro-Palestinian groups in Whitehall, just up from Parliament Square where the incident involving the billboard vans and officers was filmed.
“While many participants had already left due to the poor weather a number still remained and officers were keen to avoid the billboard vans becoming a point of tension or conflict.
“We took similar actions on Saturday where we prevented pro-Palestinian demonstrators from reaching the area around the Israeli Embassy given their doing so would likely have led to an escalation in tension and a possible risk to public safety.
“As with any incident we will carefully consider whether our response was appropriate and what we might do differently should a similar situation arise again.”
However, the CAA has not accepted the explanation offered.
The charity posted: “This response does not hold water. The streets were empty when the vans were shut down for the second time, and our Chief Executive was physically restrained from speaking to the drivers.
“We have seen all too well the fruits of the ‘work taking place across the Met to tackle hate crime’: demonstrations on our streets and incitement on social media surging, versus the rapid shutting down of our billboards.
“If you want to protect Jews, instead of telling us to go home and hide the faces of children kidnapped by a proscribed terrorist organisation whose founding charter calls for our annihilation, try letting us exercise our right to call for their safe return and arrest the protesters breaching the peace and intimidating our people.
That’s how you ‘tackle hate crime’.”
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