By: Emmi Kivi
October 12 2023
Braverman stated that waving the Palestinian flag could be illegitimate if used glorify acts of terrorism. It is not a plan to ban the flag altogether
On October 7, Hamas launched its attack on Israel. The BBC reported that since then, antisemitic incidents have more than quadrupled in the U.K. On October 9, London saw demonstrators supporting both sides of the conflict.
A post from Mint Press News claims that the U.K. Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, plans to ban the Palestinian flag. The image on the post states, ”Suella Braverman to make waving Palestinian flag illegal.” This post is based on a recent letter from the Home Secretary to chief constables of England and Wales, dated October 10.
Mint Press News is known to share conspiracies and misleading claims. However, Braverman’s letter encourages the police to consider circumstances in which the use of some chants or symbols, including the Palestinian flag, could constitute a public order offense. It is not evidence of an intention to ban the Palestinian flag altogether.
In concern of further disturbances in the domestic public order and cohesion, the Home Secretary issued the letter to chief constables of England and Wales.
While expressions and symbols show support for Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organization in the country, Braverman’s letter further considers other related symbols and chants that could constitute an offense under Section 5 public order offense.
According to the 1986 Public Order Act, Section 5 on harassment, alarm or distress, “a person is guilty of an offense if he uses threatening or [abusive] words or behavior, or disorderly behaviour, or displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening [or abusive] in either a public or private place."
However, Braverman emphasizes the importance of context when evaluating if an antisemitic or pro-Palestinian chant or symbol could constitute an offense: “I would encourage police to give similar consideration to the presence of symbols such as swastikas at anti-Israel demonstrations. Context is crucial. Behaviours that are legitimate in some circumstances, for example the waving of a Palestinian flag, may not be legitimate such as when intended to glorify acts of terrorism.”
"I encourage all Chief Officers to ensure that any protests which could exacerbate community tensions by way of offensive placards, chants, or behaviours that could be construed as incitement or harassment, have a strong police presence to ensure perpetrators are appropriately dealt with, and that communities feel protected,” Braverman urged the police in the letter.
According to Braverman’s letter to the chief constables of England and Wales, waving the Palestinian flag might be illegitimate in the U.K. if the act intends to glorify acts of terrorism or constitute a public order offense. In the letter, Braverman explicitly emphasizes the meaning of context. The letter does not provide evidence of an intention to make the Palestinian flag illegal in the U.K. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.