Metropolitan Police protest arrests raise questions

Met Police comes under harsh criticism following police intimidation of Israel supporters and those taking a stand against Hamas and other UK-designated terrorist organizations

Anti-Israel protests have taken the world by storm in the past six months across the Western world, with open calls to violence, support for terrorist organizations like the Houthis and Hamas, and antisemitic placards and chants. One of the largest and most aggressive locations of repeated anti-Israel rallies is London, where the Metropolitan Police purport to be cracking down on support for terrorism and violence. Counterprotesters, however, are having a different experience.
Niyak Ghorbani, an Iranian dissident, has spent months standing with the Jewish community against these hateful protests, making headlines on social media and media for his now infamous sign stating “Hamas are terrorists.” Despite being assaulted repeatedly by anti-Israel demonstrators, Ghorbani has refused to give up, showing up to every protest with his sign and proudly standing against the pro-Hamas demonstrators.
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Protests in London against Hamas
Protests in London against Hamas
Niyak Ghorbani holding a sign against Hamas during an anti-Israel protest in London
(Photo: Amanda Rose)
In recent weeks, however, it isn’t the protesters who assaulted him who were getting arrested, but Ghorbani himself. In February, Ghorbani was forcibly removed from the protest by the Metropolitan Police for holding a sign that stated “Hamas are terrorists.”
On March 9, Ghorbani was violently arrested for assault when the police incorrectly believed that Ghorbani assaulted a protester – when in fact Ghorbani was the victim of assault. Once video evidence was reviewed, Ghorbani was immediately released. But a number of weeks later, on March 30, Ghorbani was again arrested for protesting against Jeremy Corbyn before being released.
Niyak Ghorbani arrest on March 9 at the anti-Israel protest
(Video: Niyak Ghorbani)
Last week, the saga continued as Ghorbani was contacted by the police via email prior to the protest, asking if he was planning to attend. Ynetnews also independently verified that the Metropolitan Police even contacted members of the Jewish community to find out if Ghorbani planned to attend. Once Ghorbani was present, this time without his sign, he stated that a large number of officers were following him around the area of the protest prior to the event and asked him what his intentions were as they “were told to watch him.”
Ghorbani was informed he would be arrested if he left the counter-protest (pro-Israel) area, after which he explained he was there in a journalist capacity and would not be taking part in either protests that day. The officer confirmed that he was permitted to do such, but when Ghorbani was outside of the designated counterprotest area, still prior to the protest beginning, the police arrested him again – this time detaining him for 8 hours and banning him from participation in future demonstrations until July 5. At the same protest, two other Iranian dissidents, both standing with the Jewish community were also arrested, Shahab Zaheri and Hashem Yosephi.
Ghorbani being led out of protest by police
(Video: Niyak Ghorbani)
Ynetnews contacted the Metropolitan Police for comment and asked who instructed the officers to follow Ghorbani and why multiple Iranian dissidents, including a journalist, were being singled out for harassment. The police responded to Ynetnews stating, “on the day, he was spoken to by officers since he was positioned along the protest march route outside the defined area for the counter-protest. Officers spoke with him for an extended period and he was given numerous opportunities to return to the area where other counterprotestors were standing. He chose not to do so and was arrested for breaching the conditions in place.”
The police declined to answer the question as to why Ghorbani, who showed press credentials and unlike previous events was not taking part in either protest, was singled out throughout the day by officers. They also did not answer Ynetnews' inquiry as to why multiple Iranian dissidents were being targeted, or if there had been pressure from the Islamic Republic and its allies on the police regarding these activists.
2 View gallery
Protests in London against Hamas
Protests in London against Hamas
Protests in London against Hamas
(Photo: Amanda Rose)
Ghorbani has since been released on bail and the investigation is ongoing.
The Metropolitan Police has also come under harsh criticism after a viral video from the same protest showed an officer stating that an anti-Israel placard with a swastika on it “needed context” to determine whether or not it violates the law. While arrests have been made of some pro-terror activists at these marches, many are disheartened by the bias and police intimidation of Israel supporters and those taking a stand against Hamas and other UK-designated terrorist organizations.
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