Israel-Hamas war: Pro-Palestinian London protests - 'not illegal to fly a flag'

As the conflict in Israel and Gaza escalates, people took to the streets in Kensington, near the Israeli embassy.
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The Met Police made three arrests on Monday night as a demonstration was held near the Israeli embassy.

On Saturday Hamas launched thousands of rockets into Israel, while terrorists entered the country, with civilians killed and taken hostage, including at a music festival. Israel has since sealed the border with Gaza and carried out airstrikes.

In London, a pro-Palestinian protest took place in Kensington, with flares lighting up the streets.

The Met says three arrests were made and that it has "further live arrest enquiries under way".

Police liaised with organisers ahead of the protest, with the force saying in a statement: "UK policing has an obligation to uphold the right to protest. However we are clear that where any activity crosses into criminality we will, and have, taken action."

Responding to concerns about the flying of Palestinian flags causing communities to feel threatened, the Met said: "The waving of a particular flag is not, in itself, a specific criminal offence unless it relates to a proscribed organisation."

Protest arrests

At about 7.40pm British Transport Police officers arrested a 15-year-old male on Kensington High Street, near High Street Kensington Underground Station on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker.

At around 8pm a 70-year-old man was arrested in the Kensington area on suspicion of racially motivated criminal damage.

A 29-year-old man was arrested in Oxford Street at around 9pm on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and possession of an offensive weapon.

Further investigation

Police say that during the Kensington High Street protests people were seen damaging a building. The Met said evidence has been gathered and that enquiries are under way to arrest suspects.

The force added: "We are aware of concerns being raised about flags and other symbols being displayed in a way that could lead to people feeling threatened. Specialist officers reviewed these and determined they were not flags of proscribed organisations. The waving of a particular flag is not, in itself, a specific criminal offence unless it relates to a proscribed organisation. At present, no offences were identified."

Community safety

On Monday people in Golders Green told LondonWorld of their concerns about safety for Jewish communities.

The Met said: "Londoners will continue to see officers on the streets, in our communities across London in the days to come following days to reassure and protect. We have zero tolerance for any hate crimes. Anyone with concerns, or who has witnessed any offences should speak to an officer or contact police online, via 101 or call 999 in an emergency."