Two Hezbollah flag-waving protesters have been arrested following the continued efforts of CFI Officer Dr Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon, who called for legal action to be taken against flag-wavers of the terror group.
It was confirmed on Wednesday by the Metropolitan Police that two men were arrested “for offences under Section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000”.
Last month, pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrated outside Downing Street during the visit to the UK by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Dr Offord attended the scene to witness the situation following concerns from constituents who were attending a counter-demonstration.
At the demonstration, Dr Offord saw the flying of terrorist organisation Hezbollah yellow flags displaying machine guns and condemned the lack of police action against flag-waving protesters.
In Business Questions earlier this month, the MP for Hendon asked the Leader of the Commons if a Minister would come to the House to explain why the police did not think it necessary to take legal action against identified individuals who were flying Hezbollah flags, shouting anti-Semitic remarks and making anti-Semitic gestures.
The Leader of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling MP, responded by stating the incident was a criminal matter and that he would like to see the police “take strong action when such behaviour occurs”.
In a meeting with Conservative MPs last October, the Home Secretary made it clear that new guidance on hate crime has been issued to all police forces which makes specific mention of anti-Semitism and confirmed that the flying of ISIS, Hezbollah, and Hamas flags is a criminal offence. Hezbollah’s military wing is proscribed across the EU as a terrorist organisation.
Section 13 of the Terrorism Act (2000) states that people who “wear clothing or carry or display articles in public in such a way or in such circumstances as arouse reasonable suspicion that an individual is a member or supporter of the proscribed organisation” are guilty of a criminal offence.
Assistant Commissioner to the Metropolitan Police, Patricia Gallen, responded to Dr Offord’s complaint by stating that “the flag represents both Hezbollah’s political party and the proscribed terrorist group” and as such, displaying it in these circumstances alone does not constitute an offence under Terrorism Legislation”.
However, it was confirmed on Wednesday by the force that two men were arrested “for offences under Section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000”.
A police spokesman said that “those who seek to create division within our communities and whose protests cross over into unlawful intimidation, violence and public disorder will be dealt with robustly”.
The arrests were welcomed by Simon Johnson, Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, and Home Secretary Theresa May who said on Tuesday: “I have made it clear to the police that they should take action when they see these kind of things”.