MP for Hendon, Dr Matthew Offord, condemned the presence of the terrorist organisation Hezbollah’s flags at a demonstration outside Downing Street today over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the UK.
Following concerns from constituents who were attending a counter-demonstration, Dr Offord attended the scene to witness the situation.
A statement released by his office reads as follows:
‘Whilst outside Number 10, Matthew saw the flying of Hezbollah yellow flags displaying machine guns. This is a criminal offence under the Terrorism Act as Hezbollah’s External Security Organisation was proscribed in March 2001 and in 2008 the proscription was extended to Hezbollah’s Military apparatus including the Jihad Council. Hezbollah is committed to armed resistance to the state of Israel and supports terrorism in Iraq and the Palestinian territories.’
‘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. Following a discussion with the Police Commander responsible for the demonstration, Matthew was informed that the immediate priority was to ensure public order by maintaining a distance between the two opposing demonstrations.’
‘Whilst accepting this in the given situation, Matthew was given assurances that follow up action would take place as those involved in the displaying of images had been videoed and identified.’
Dr Offord MP said: “I shall be taking this issue up with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to ensure action is taken against any individual who may have committed a criminal offence. I understand the police cannot intervene in such a situation that could lead to greater public disorder but such behaviour should not be dismissed without a proper investigation. While some people want to demonstrate, there are limits to acceptable protest and the glorification of terrorism and terrorist originations is not acceptable”.