In the wake of the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, just as the government has promised a crackdown on extremism and terrorism, the red carpet has been rolled out for hundreds of supporters of Hizballah in central London today.
Marchers draped themselves in Hizballah flags bearing a dagger and a raised fist clenching an assault rifle, and organisers handed out flags for those who had not brought their own. The organising charity even distributed placards emblazoned with the slogan: “We are all Hizballah”. As the marchers claimed that Zionists were responsible for ISIS and even the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, the Metropolitan Police Service refused to make arrests or even accept reports of hate crimes when approached by members of the public, with one Inspector even claiming that Hizballah flags belong to a legitimate “state” instead of a terrorist organisation. Terrifyingly, demonstrators even attached Hizballah flags to children whilst police looked on.
However, supporters of Hizballah did not have the streets to themselves. As they marched down iconic Regent Street, their path was blocked by anti-terrorist protesters chanting “Terrorists” and playing Jewish music (they had come prepared with a saxophonist). The police however suddenly spurred into action, with vans of officers arriving within seconds to start demanding that the anti-terrorist protesters move out of the way, with reports of pushing and shoving.
The brazen display of support for a genocidal antisemitic terrorist group was met with inaction, but opposition by members of the public was swiftly rounded upon.
Outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, marchers were addressed by figures including Mick Napier, Chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who was convicted in March of aggravated trespass over allegations of intimidating bank staff at a demonstration against investment by Barclays Bank in an Israeli company. Campaign Against Antisemitism will analyse the excitable speeches.
A counterdemonstration was held by Jewish and Zionist organisations in Grosvenor Square.
The procession was mostly the work of a registered charity known as the “Islamic Human Rights Commission”, which issued guidance to participants in the procession telling them that “you can bring a Hizballah flag to show support for the political wing of Hizballah.” They also issued a press release stating that the “carrying of flags of Hizballah and other flags at the demonstration is not antisemitic.”
Whilst the British government has proscribed the “military wing” of Hizballah under the Terrorism Act 2000, the “political wing” is not proscribed, something that even Hizballah finds ridiculous. In October 2012, Hizballah Deputy Secretary-General, Naim Qassem, said: “We don’t have a military wing and a political one; we don’t have Hizballah on one hand and the resistance party on the other…Every element of Hizballah, from commanders to members as well as our various capabilities, are in the service of the resistance, and we have nothing but the resistance as a priority.” Hizballah’s Secretary-General, Hassan Nasrallah, who is the leader of any fictitious “wing” of Hizballah that the government may wish to imagine, said: “If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”
Before the march, lawyers for Campaign Against Antisemitism had challenged the police to use their powers under section 12 of the Public Order Act 1986 to impose a condition on the procession simply so that marchers were in no doubt that they cannot show the emblem of Hizballah. The Metropolitan Police Service refused our request.
Hizballah is clear that it seeks the genocide of Jews worldwide, committing terrorist atrocities from Bangkok to Buenos Aires to Burgas. As Britain mourns those we have so recently lost to Islamist terrorism, the Metropolitan Police Service and Charity Commission permitted Hizballah supporters to mount a show of force through the heart of London. This is the reality of the supposed crackdown on extremism and terrorism. Since the authorities intend to take no action, it now falls to us to ensure that there are consequences for those who organised a pro-terrorist show of strength through the heart of London today. We will also be reviewing our legal options for holding the authorities to account over their utterly despicable failure to act.