Braverman accuses Met of ‘double standards’ over pro-Palestinian protests

Politics

Suella Braverman has accused the police of “double standards” in the way they handle protests – after Rishi Sunak conceded that a pro-Palestine march on Armistice Day will go ahead.

The home secretary has sharply criticised the Metropolitan Police in an op-ed for The Times newspaper – saying there is “a perception that senior police officers play favourites when it comes to protesters”.

It comes after Mr Sunak described Saturday’s planned march in London as “disrespectful”.

The prime minister met the chief of the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday afternoon – and had vowed to hold Sir Mark Rowley “accountable” for his decision to greenlight the demonstration.

Sir Mark had resisted calls to try and block a march taking place – and said that, after looking at intelligence, the legal threshold for a ban had not been met.

Ms Braverman once again described pro-Palestinian protesters as “hate marchers” – writing that it is “a phrase I do not resile from”.

That is despite numerous government ministers saying they would not use such language.

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She wrote that the marches are “problematic, not just because of violence around the fringes but because of the highly offensive content of chants, posters and stickers”.

She added: “This is not a time for naiveté. We have seen with our own eyes that terrorists have been valorised, Israel has been demonised as Nazis and Jews have been threatened with further massacres.”

Claiming that a double standard exists within the Met, she asked: “Right-wing and nationalist protesters who engage in aggression are rightly met with a stern response yet pro-Palestinian mobs displaying almost identical behaviour are largely ignored, even when clearly breaking the law?”

The home secretary also questioned why protests for Black Lives Matter were allowed to go ahead during the COVID pandemic, while “lockdown objectors were given no quarter by public order police”.

In words seeming to pile pressure onto Sir Mark Rowley, she concluded: “This weekend the public will expect to see an assertive and proactive approach to any displays of hate, breaches of conditions and general disorder.”

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