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Police: We can't stop people flying Hezbollah flags on London march
From the Jewish Chronicle
Police have confirmed that the flag of Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah can be flown at next month’s Al Quds Day Parade in central London – because the organisation’s “political wing” is not proscribed by the British government.
A letter sent to MP Louise Ellman, the vice-chair of the Labour Friends of Israel, said that police would allow the controversial flag to be raised once again at the June 10 parade because parliament had “consciously chosen” to proscribe only the military wing of Hezbollah – but the group’s flag is “shared across all elements of that organisation.”
Metropolitan Police Commander Jane Conners says in the letter that both she and Commissioner Cressida Dick “share concerns” that the raising of the Hezbollah flag on London’s streets “may be construed as belonging to a terrorist organisation.” But Conners adds: “Purely holding a flag does not necessarily incite religious or racial hatred.
Reacting to the letter, Ms Ellman said:“The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that they cannot prevent the flying of the Hezbollah flag on Al-Quds Day due to the policy of this government. We must remove this false and ludicrous distinction between Hezbollah’s political and military wings from UK law, and I would urge the new home secretary to take this action immediately. If we see the machine-gun adorned flag of an antisemitic terror group on London’s streets again this June it will be due to the inaction of the government – they must act now.”
Regular readers might recall that for most of the last 8 years I have joined, in one form or another, whatever counter there has been to this appalling march. Observing the march in 2009 is how I met the gentlemen of March for England. Some years MfE, EDL, the Casuals, Iranian secular exiles and others formed a big enough group to mount a counter demonstration. Other years, when the march was held on a working day individuals did their best to persuade the police to have the flags removed but this was always refused. The circular arguement always went, 'We have orders to permit it - you must write to your MP or the Home Office' and the Home office replied to the individual of their MP, 'Policing is a matter for the most senior officer on the spot; The Home Secretary does not interfere in day to day policing." Catch 22 yes? Sadiq Khan has never been interested. And I can't see new Home Secretary Sajid Javid rocking the multi-cultural boat.
For the last two years several Jewish groups have also countered the march under the umbrella of Stand Against Hate, and to have music, song and dance (and numbers, courage, all the virtues) on our side for the first time in 2016 was most uplifting.
Al Quds this year is Sunday 10th June and now that the US embassy has moved from Mayfair to south London The march will terminate in a rally by the Saudi Embassy. I know groups who are intending to join the challenge. Hopefully numbers will be good.
The picture is one I took last year. Senior police officers of the Metropolitan Police and the City of London police, and the offending flag.