World leaders condemn Pro-Palestinian Protesters

As protesters gathered across the world to show solidarity with Palestine and Israel and express their outrage over the loss of innocent lives, Political leaders have taken a firm stance against the Hamas attack and also have condemned pro-Palestinian protesters saying they are glorifying Hamas.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said “I’d just remind everyone that Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organisation. People should not be supporting Hamas and we will make sure that we hold people to account if they are.” Sunak confirmed his support for Israel, saying he stood in solidarity with the state and its people “in the face of these barbaric acts of terrorism”. Officers will “clamp down on any behaviour that falls foul of the law”, Sunak said.

“Hamas terrorists aren’t a resistance, they’re not freedom fighters. They are terrorists, and no one in Canada should be supporting them, much less celebrating them,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau. He also condemned demonstrations across Canada by those they said were glorifying violence by supporting Palestinian Islamist group Hamas’ attack on Israel. “I strongly condemn the demonstrations that have taken place, and are taking place, across the country in support of Hamas’ attacks on Israel,” Trudeau said in a post on X, formerly called Twitter. When asked if he made a distinction between pro-Palestinian protesters and demonstrators supporting Hamas, his office declined to comment.

“Waving a Palestinian flag or singing a chant advocating freedom for Arabs in the region may be a criminal offence,” British Home Secretary Suella Braverman has told senior police officers.In a letter to chief constables in England and Wales, the home secretary urged them to clamp down on any attempts to use flags, songs or swastikas to harass or intimidate members of the Jewish community. In the letter, Braverman said police should not restrict themselves to potential offences related to the promotion of Hamas, a proscribed organisation.

“It is not just explicit pro-Hamas symbols and chants that are cause for concern. I would encourage police to consider whether chants such as: ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ should be understood as an expression of a violent desire to see Israel erased from the world, and whether its use in certain contexts may amount to a racially aggravated section 5 public order offence.

“I would encourage police to give similar consideration to the presence of symbols such as swastikas at anti-Israel demonstrations. Context is crucial. Behaviours that are legitimate in some circumstances, for example the waving of a Palestinian flag, may not be legitimate such as when intended to glorify acts of terrorism.

“Nor is it acceptable to drive through Jewish neighbourhoods, or single out Jewish members of the public, to aggressively chant or wave pro-Palestinian symbols at. Where harassment is identified, I would encourage the police to take swift and appropriate enforcement action.

“I encourage all chief officers to ensure that any protests which could exacerbate community tensions by way of offensive placards, chants, or behaviours that could be construed as incitement or harassment, have a strong police presence to ensure perpetrators are appropriately dealt with, and that communities feel protected,” she wrote. Home Office sources confirmed her words had been approved by government lawyers.

Decisions on arrests are an operational matter for the police, Braverman wrote. “However, I would urge you to ensure your forces use all available powers to prevent disorder and distress to our communities, and that your officers will act if there are any incidents that stray into criminality,” she said.

A “significant number” of British-Israeli dual nationals have been caught up in the conflict in Israel and Gaza, said the foreign secretary, James Cleverly. The foreign secretary said: “There is no need, there’s no necessity for people to come out. It causes distress. This is a difficult, delicate situation.”Earlier, Cleverly called on supporters of Palestine to stay at home, after protests in London.

The human rights barrister Shami Chakrabarti said “The letter had been so readily press-released suggests that the intervention is at best virtue signalling and at worst seeking to compromise operational independence”, adding: “Police chiefs know their powers and duties. Anxious and vulnerable minority communities are not made safer by the politicisation of policing in difficult and dangerous times.”

The Islamophobia Register Australia reported a quadrupling of reports since the 7 October Hamas attack on Israel. “Divisive rhetoric by people in leadership positions is irresponsible and dangerous, and clearly has an impact on domestic tensions,” the executive director, Sharara Attai, says. The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network executive officer, Jessica Morrison, says they are hearing “lots of stories from lots of young people” being targeted, particularly at school, and that the community is “distressed” by the discourse about Palestinians.“Younger Palestinian people at the moment are feeling very uncomfortable because of what’s going on,” she says.

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