Joint letter to Met Police demanding independent policing of Al-Quds Day rally

Joint letter to Met Police demanding independent policing of Al-Quds Day rally

Sir Mark Rowley

Metropolitan Police Commissioner

New Scotland Yard,

8-10, Broadway,

London SW1H 0AZ


3 April 2024


Dear Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley,

Joint Letter to Sir Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police Commissioner re Annual Al Quds Day March 5 April 2024

We are writing ahead of the annual al-Quds Day march on Friday, April 5.

We ask you to fulfil your responsibility as head of the Metropolitan Police to ensure the demonstration is policed impartially without fear or favour.

The Metropolitan Police has regularly abused its legal powers to harass pro-Palestine protestors, especially since pro-Palestine protests have proliferated since last October.


Politically-driven policing                                                            

This harassment has responded to pro-Israel politicians and media demonising the protests, e.g. as hate marches, antisemitic, extremist, pro-terrorist, etc. Protesters have been arrested, detained for long periods, only for the overwhelming majority of them to be released without charge, but sometimes with bail conditions which curtail their freedom for no valid reason (see examples in the annex below). Few charges and even fewer prosecutions have resulted from the arrests.

The arrests play several political roles. They disrupt protesters’ lives, theatrically portray the protests as dangerous, perversely vindicates the politicians’ demonization of the protests, and builds support for greater police powers to limit or ban pro-Palestine protests. All these harms accommodate pro Israel politicians. In short, the harassment is politically driven policing, rather than a response to any criminal behaviour by protestors.


Your responsibility

You have a duty and responsibility to stop the police harassment.

As Commissioner who is responsible for the day to day operations of the force, you must instruct the police to cease their harassment. You can hold them accountable and punish police officers for wrongful arrests.

In the latest national demonstration for Palestine in the capital on 30 March we were disturbed by the proximity of the pro-Israel demonstration. This group has the right to demonstrate its support for Israel, but for it to be permitted to do so very close to the Palestine demonstration, with its banners very visible and chanting equally audible, it was bound to generate hostility. It is difficult not to conclude that its placement was deliberately provocative, almost as if the Met Police were seeking to engineer a physical conflict and then blame the pro-Palestinian demonstrators for it, thus vindicating the accusations from pro-Israel politicians. We would expect you to ensure that any pro Israel counter-demonstrations are kept well away from the Al-Quds Day rally and march this Friday.

In the 40-plus years that the annual Al-Quds Day demonstration has taken place it has always been good natured and peaceful. The Met Police has itself remarked on the peaceful, family-friendly nature of the event. In order to ensure that it stays this way you must act now to make sure your officers resist political pressure and police independently.

There have been too many arrests and incidents of harassment to date for protest organisers and participants to be assured that the police are going to perform the role the public expects and not what some politicians are baying for.


Signed by

Islamic Human Rights Commission

Convivencia Alliance

InMinds Human Rights Group

Jewish Network for Palestine

Peacemaker Trust

The Campaign against Misrepresentation in Public Affairs, Information and the News (CAMPAIN)


Annex of examples


  1. On 25 November 2023, two ladies were arrested at a pro-Palestine demonstration for carrying a banner written in Arabic. The arrests were made despite police not having anyone on hand to translate the message into English. Both women were later released without charge.
  2. Ibrahim Hlaiyil, 38, was charged with failing to comply with a requirement to remove a face covering, under Section 60aa of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act after being arrested at a protest on October 14, 2023. On 28 Feb this year, the City of London Magistrate’s Court dismissed the case against him saying the police lacked a valid basis for his arrest. In dismissing the charge, the judge said: “There is no evidence to prove the essential element of the charge.” The judge stated that the arresting officer seemed to have taken the view that he was able to arrest anyone who refused to take off their face mask at the protest. The law actually only allows for arrest if a person is wearing a face covering for the purpose of concealing their identity, something that the police did not argue in court.
  1. On March 9 this year Waseem Khan was arrested in London following a march for Palestine. Police dragged him off a bus, pulled him to the ground, handcuffed him and bundled him into a police van. Waseem had been carrying a shield in the demonstration which said, “Resistance is justified when your land is occupied”. Police said it constituted hate speech and they had to arrest him so he wouldn’t cause anyone any more harassment, alarm or distress. He was later released without charge.
  1. On March 30 this year 16 year-old Ali Kazim was detained by police during a national march for Palestine. He was detained/arrested for carrying a banner depicting the Israeli flag having a red cross through it. After a stand-off with protestors who staged a sit-in around the police vehicle to which Ali was taken, Ali was released without charge.
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