Braverman attacks ‘sick’ antisemitic chants as police charge seven over protests

Braverman attacks ‘sick’ antisemitic chants as police charge seven over protests

Suella Braverman has condemned “sick, inflammatory and, in some cases, clearly criminal” chants and placards at a pro-Palestinian march on Armistice Day as police charged seven people over disorder that mainly stemmed from far-right counter-protests.

The Home Secretary demanded “further action” as she warned that London’s streets are “being polluted by hate, violence and antisemitism”, in comments that appear unlikely to calm tensions.

She praised police for their “professionalism” in the face of “violence and aggression from protesters and counter-protesters”.

But her first public remarks since Saturday’s ugly scenes focused on displays of antisemitism by some on the pro-Palestinian march she had urged police to ban.

The Metropolitan Police said seven men had been charged with offences including assault on an emergency worker, criminal damage and possession of an offensive weapon.

Officers made 145 arrests during the main demonstration and the counter-protest by far-right groups, the force said.

A pro-Palestinian protest in Park Lane
A pro-Palestinian protest in Park Lane (Victoria Jones/PA)

Mrs Braverman has been under fire for inflaming tensions after she last week branded pro-Palestinian protesters “hate marchers” and accused police of bias for allowing the rally coinciding with remembrance events to go ahead.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing intensifying calls to sack her as his Home Secretary.

Her latest intervention appeared to pile pressure on police to stop weekly pro-Palestinian demonstrations by saying “this can’t go on”.

Rishi Sunak with Suella Braverman
Rishi Sunak with Suella Braverman (Phil Noble/PA)

Writing on social media site X on Sunday, she said: “The sick, inflammatory and, in some cases, clearly criminal chants, placards and paraphernalia openly on display at the march mark a new low. Antisemitism and other forms of racism together with the valorising of terrorism on such a scale is deeply troubling.

“This can’t go on. Week by week, the streets of London are being polluted by hate, violence, and antisemitism. Members of the public are being mobbed and intimidated. Jewish people in particular feel threatened. Further action is necessary.”

Praising police, she said: “Our brave police officers deserve the thanks of every decent citizen for their professionalism in the face of violence and aggression from protesters and counter protesters in London yesterday.

“That multiple officers were injured doing their duty is an outrage.”

Counter-protesters confront police in Parliament Square
Counter-protesters confront police in Parliament Square (Jeff Moore/PA)

Nine officers were injured as they prevented a violent crowd reaching the Cenotaph.

Mr Sunak has said he expects far-right “thugs” and “Hamas sympathisers” to face “the full and swift force of the law”.

The Prime Minister said he will meet Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley in the “coming days” and repeated his threat to hold the police chief “accountable” for allowing the pro-Palestinian march to take place on Armistice Day.

With Mr Sunak under growing pressure to fire Mrs Braverman, senior Cabinet minister Grant Shapps failed to back her survival as Home Secretary for another week, saying “a week’s a long time in politics”.

Mr Shapps played down suggestions that her comments had emboldened far-right groups who caused trouble in London, saying the counter-protest “was already going to happen”.

But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper blamed the unrest on Mrs Braverman’s “appalling and unprecedented attack” on the police’s impartiality and her “deliberate” stoking of tensions.

Hundreds of thousands of people took part in the biggest UK rally since the Israel-Hamas conflict began on October 7.

Police said that while the march did not see the sort of violence carried out by far-right groups, officers were investigating serious offences relating to antisemitism and hate crimes.

The Met said on Sunday that seven men between the ages of 21 and 75 had been charged, hailing from areas including London, Kent, Norfolk and West Lothian.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, who led the Metropolitan Police operation on Saturday, said: “Public order policing doesn’t end when demonstrators go home.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley (James Manning/PA)

“We have teams of officers who continue to build cases against those in custody and launch investigations into those who come to our attention when images and videos are shared on social media.”
Appeals in relation to eight incidents have been published, with more expected, he said.

A total of 91 people were arrested to prevent a breach of the peace in Pimlico as they tried to confront the main pro-Palestinian march, the Met said.

Meanwhile, Cabinet minister Michael Gove thanked police for getting him “home safely” after he was mobbed by pro-Palestinian demonstrators at London’s Victoria station.