Met 'understands concerns' after telling charity to turn off van screens showing hostages held by Hamas

Officers said they wanted to keep Campaign Against Antisemitism volunteers safe, with a vigil organised nearby by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
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The head of a charity combating antisemitism said he had “one of the most disturbing experiences” after claims he was “physically restrained” by the Met Police and told to turn off billboards showing images of children taken hostage by Hamas.

Footage posted online by the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) appears to show two vans broadcasting the visuals pulled over by officers in central London.

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One of the officers can be heard asking Gideon Falter, chief executive of the CAA, where the vehicles were to be driven.

The video then skips to Mr Falter asking under what legal basis the police were requesting the billboards be switched off.

One of the officers tells Mr Falter: “We want to make sure that they’re (the van drivers) safe, their property is safe, and what we don’t want to do is have people coming this way and doing any damage to their vans.”

Mr Falter on several occasions complains about being held back by police while attempting to talk to one of the drivers.

The billboards were being driven through central London. Credit: Campaign Against Antisemitism.The billboards were being driven through central London. Credit: Campaign Against Antisemitism.
The billboards were being driven through central London. Credit: Campaign Against Antisemitism.
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In a monologue introducing the footage, Mr Falter said he had received a call from volunteers recording footage of the billboards saying they had been stopped by protesters near Big Ben, before the police turned up. 

“I was just astonished by this,” Mr Falter continues. “How on earth could the police stop people in central London, in our capital, from showing the pictures of children kidnapped by a terrorist organisation banned by our government?”

He said he went to the location of the vans, and after running the route again, the police showed up, telling them they had to turn the billboards off and clear the area “for our own safety”.

The Met Police subsequently posted a statement of its own on social media, saying: “We have watched the video and we understand why this has caused concern.

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“The officers were in the area because of a vigil that was happening nearby organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

“We have reviewed the body-worn video of the officers involved to establish the full sequence of events.

“This exchange happened at around the same time as the vigil came to an end and the priority of officers was the safety of everyone involved and those nearby.

“We will be making contact with the Campaign Against Antisemitism to discuss the matter further and update them on the work taking place across the Met to tackle hate crime.”

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In response, the CAA claimed the streets were empty when the vans were shut down. It has also separately said it is “considering our legal options and a public protest”.

Posting on X, the CAA wrote: “If you want to protect Jews, instead of telling us to go home and hide the faces of children kidnapped by a proscribed terrorist organisation whose founding charter calls for our annihilation, try letting us exercise our right to call for their safe return and arrest the protesters breaching the peace and intimidating our people. That's how you “tackle hate crime”.”

Hundreds of mourners attended the gathering outside Downing Street on October 18, in memory of the victims of a deadly explosion at the Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital in Gaza.

Palestinian authorities have said more than 500 people were killed in the bombing, with both Hamas and Israel blaming one another for the tragedy. CNN however reports an unclassified US intelligence community assessment puts the figure between 100 and 300.