Fury after Met Police officer tells protesters to take down Israeli flag at Trafalgar Square because ‘it’s a heritage site’ – after force allowed Palestine flags to be flown in London at repeated rallies
- Trafalgar Square has been the site of several rallies by pro-Palestine activists
- READ MORE: Pro-Palestine protests in London cost police ‘£20million’
The Metropolitan Police has been blasted after telling protesters in Trafalgar Square to stop waving Israeli flags because it is a ‘heritage site’ – despite the square playing host to several pro-Palestine rallies in recent weeks.
In a video shared online by the campaign group Eye on Antisemitism, the officer can be heard telling a protester to take the flag ‘off the wall’ in front of the National Gallery before he is then challenged by someone filming the exchange.
During the two-minute clip, the Met constable says: ‘You’re not meant to be here because this is a protected heritage site, so you need a licence to be here, to do what you’re doing.
‘You didn’t have one in the first place and we’ve been nice enough to let you be here, alright?’
The person filming claims during the clip that the officer ‘got jittery’ after someone shouted ‘Free Palestine’ – and points out that the square has been the site of many pro-Palestine rallies in the last two months.
The Metropolitan Police officer said he and his colleagues had been ‘nice enough’ to let pro-Israel protesters hold a rally in Trafalgar Square
The Metropolitan Police officer told protesters to take a flag ‘off the wall’ because Trafalgar Square is a ‘protected heritage site’
The officer then says he won’t ‘argue’ with the person filming about his request for the flag to be removed – prompting them to reply: ‘Two-tier policing, innit’
A pro-Palestinian protest in Trafalgar Square on November 4. Protesters can be seen standing on, and draping flags over, the same area of the square
A previous gathering on October 14 – one week after Hamas’ violent incursion into Israel – saw protesters climb onto the base of Nelson’s Column
Shaking his head, the constable replies: ‘Sir, I’m not arguing with you.’ He then claims he has asked people to take flags down in the past before he is then challenged by other observers.
The man filming then adds: ‘On Saturday there were thousands of Palestinian flags here. You got jittery over one Star of David, yeah. Two-tier policing, innit.’
READ MORE: Police hunt pro-Palestine protesters including man holding ‘Final Solution’ placard featuring the Star of David and woman waving sign ‘comparing Israel to Nazi Germany’
He continues: ‘This is a heritage site he said, right? And that’s why you’re not allowed the flag up there. Did that stop the Palestinians from climbing up there Saturday and waving all their flags?’
The video has been watched more than 40,000 times and ‘liked’ more than 1,100 times on X, formerly Twitter, according to analytics provided by the website.
‘Absolutely sick of these double-standards,’ wrote one X user, posting a sea of Israeli flag emojis. ‘I know which flag I would rather see.’
Another user added: ‘Oh look @metpoliceuk another example of your two tier policing policy on camera again.’
A third person, sharing the video to their own profile, added: ‘For goodness sake, why on earth is this @metpoliceuk officer causing such a situation? It’s a flag.’
The Metropolitan Police has been contacted for comment.
An assembly of pro-Israel protesters – including some calling for Israel to do more to bring home Hamas hostages – gathered in Trafalgar Square on Monday night beneath a large menorah lit up for Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights.
Protesters chanted ‘bring them home now’ in the square, which has been the focal point of several pro-Palestine demonstrations in the weeks since Hamas terrorists crossed into Israel and slaughtered 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians.
The Metropolitan Police has been criticised for its allegedly lax approach to policing pro-Palestine marches, including assemblies in the central London plaza.
Pro-Palestine activists have previously been photographed standing on and draping flags over the same walls where the Star of David flag was hung on Monday night.
The square has also been the scene of ugly clashes between police and pro-Palestine activists – leading to some activists being detained by officers. Others have been pictured setting off flares.
Beyond this, protesters have climbed on statues, including the square’s iconic lions, and other sculptures elsewhere in London.
Trafalgar Square has been the scene of clashes between pro-Palestinian activists and police officers (pictured: a scuffle on October 14)
Pro-Palestinian activists climb on top of one of Trafalgar Square’s fountains during a protest on November 4
A man wears a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf and waves a Palestinian flag in front of one of Trafalgar Square’s lions on October 21
Police watch as pro-Palestine activists wave sparklers during a protest in Trafalgar Square on October 14
The central London square has also hosted a number of rallies by pro-Israel activists calling for the safe return of Hamas hostages
Last month, a Met Police officer was filmed politely asking a pro-Palestine marcher to climb down from a war memorial at Hyde Park Corner before doing nothing to arrest him. Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said the man had not broken any laws.
On Saturday, officers were slammed for not immediately detaining attending the latest Palestinian solidarity march, who brandished a sign comparing the IDF’s treatment of Palestinian prisoners to the Nazis during the Holocaust.
It later issued an appeal in a bid to trace the woman who was seen carrying the sign – and even issued a direct response to a photographer who videoed his attempts to speak to officers about the placard.
The Met said in a tweet to cameraman Stuart Mitchell: ‘The officers didn’t stop because as the video was being filmed, they were already following the person holding the placard while waiting for other officers to reach them. That was their focus.’
Officers have also issued an appeal to trace a man carrying a sign depicting the Star of David with the caption: ‘The Final Solution?’ – an alleged reference to the Holocaust.
At least 13 protesters were arrested in Saturday’s protest, largely in connection with offensive signs.
An additional 2,000 officers have been dispatched to the capital every weekend since Hamas invaded Israel on October 7, costing taxpayers an estimated £20million and stretching the Met’s frontline resources.
Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley last week told Mayor Sadiq Khan that his force has been ‘severely bent out of shape’ by protesters over the conflict in the Middle East.
More than 17,000 Palestinians have been killed in the two months of air strikes and ground operations that followed the Hamas incursion, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. It claims two thirds of the dead are women and children.
The IDF claims to have killed 7,000 Hamas terrorists since the October 7 attacks, though its claims have not been independently verified.
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