Pro-Palestine protester with 'coconut' sign of Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman questioned by police, as new appeal issued to trace suspects

Thursday 16 November 2023

A teacher who carried a placard depicting Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman as 'coconuts' at the Armistice Day protest, has been interviewed by police.

The woman, thought to be Marieha Mohsin Hussain, held the sign at the pro-Palestinian march in London on Saturday where 300,000 demonstrators called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Depicting someone of colour as a 'coconut' is seen as racial slur implying they are 'white' on the inside and have betrayed their race.

A woman, thought to be Marieha Mohsin Hussain, at the pro-Palestinian march in London

Police launched an appeal to trace the placard holder and have confirmed they interviewed a 36-year-old woman under caution on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence.

A police spokesperson said: "Yesterday a woman attended a police station, after a picture on social media showed a placard depicting two politicians as coconuts.

"The 36-year-old was interviewed under caution on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence. Thank you to all who have assisted."

Another pro-Palestine marcher who carried a placard that combined the Star of David symbol with a Nazi swastika above the slogan “No British politician should be a ‘friend of Israel’” has separately been identified as former Labour Party activist Kate Varnfield.

Kate Varnfield, after she carried an offensive sign at pro-Palestine protest (Met Police)

Police are also seeking the public’s help to identify 11 men suspected of displaying signs or wearing clothing in support of terrorist groups.

The suspects were all seen at demonstrations held since Hamas militants entered Israel on October 7.

Detectives investigating an allegation of incitement of racial hatred relating to antisemitic chanting on Armistice Day are looking to speak to two men seen in social media footage.

Police want to speak to this man following an allegation that people at a protest in Trafalgar Square on 4 November invited support for a proscribed organisation by engaging in pro-Hamas chanting

Police would like to identify this man following an allegation of incitement of racial hatred relating to anti-Semitic chanting

The first is said to be between 20 and 30 years old with light skin and a beard, and was wearing a black baseball cap with a white front panel.

The second is said to be the same age with light skin, short dark hair and a beard and goatee. He was wearing a black puffer coat.

Officers also want to speak to two men captured in social media footage over allegations they engaged in pro-Hamas chanting in Trafalgar Square on November 4.

Inviting support for the banned organisation is an offence under the Terrorism Act.

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