Ministers need powers to ban 'hateful' pro-Palestinian marches, says Suella Braverman

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Suella Braverman has called for ministers to be given the power to ban protests outright, labelling pro-Palestinian demonstrations “hateful marches”.

The former home secretary, who had branded the protests “hate marches” before she was sacked by the Prime Minister last year, used an article in the Telegraph to call for a crackdown on the rallies.

London and cities across the UK have seen regular demonstrations criticising the Israeli bombardment of Gaza and calling for a ceasefire, with tens of thousands taking to the streets as the civilian death toll rises.

Ms Braverman and others have condemned certain chants and slogans, including “from the river to sea”.

Writing in the paper, the Tory backbencher called for new laws allowing the home secretary to prevent protests.

“Ministers, answerable to the public, are powerless while the police are the ones who technically possess the legal power to initiate a ban of a march,” she wrote.

“This doesn’t strike the right balance and so a power should be taken, as in France, to enable ministers to make the decision when it is believed violence may occur or a protest is causing ongoing distress to a community.”

The call comes as Home Secretary James Cleverly is expected to announce shortly new powers to curb certain types of protest activity.

Also among the proposals set out were new laws to make it easier to prosecute “expression of support of terrorism” and chants Ms Braverman said were antisemitic and involved Nazi imagery.

She also said it needed to be possible to proscribe groups of “extremist concern”.

“I will fiercely defend the right to peaceful protest in a democratic society. But these marches are not about peace. Rather they are outpourings of vicious bigotry.

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“This cannot become our new norm. We need leadership to unequivocally condemn Islamism and antisemitism on our streets. To reassert what Britain means to the world: civility, tolerance, and order,” she said.

Ms Braverman has clashed with the Government several times since her sacking.

She lost her job after branding pro-Palestinian protesters “hate marchers” and accusing the Metropolitan Police of bias for letting a rally go ahead on Armistice Day.

The ex-Cabinet minister was also accused of stoking tensions after scenes of far-right violence towards officers on the day resulted in dozens of arrests.

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