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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Gwyn Wright

Five arrested at London King’s Cross after pro-Palestinian protest banned

Five people have been arrested during a pro-Palestinian sit-in at London’s King’s Cross station after the demonstration was banned.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said he had given an order to allow police to stop the demonstration on Friday evening under Section 14a of the Public Order Act 1986.

One video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, appears to show a man draped in a Palestinian flag shouting “free, free Palestine” while being carried away from the station by three officers.

While the right to peaceful protest is a key part of our democratic society, it cannot be at the expense of other people’s right not to be seriously disrupted or intimidated
— Mark Harper

Others appear to show the controversial slogan “from the river to the sea” being shouted with demonstrators replying “Palestine will be free”.

In videos, protesters can be seen sitting on the station concourse chanting “ceasefire now”, “free, free Palestine” and “in our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians”.

A banner accusing Israel of genocide can also be seen in some clips.

Lukas Slothuus, 33, an academic from London who attended the sit-in, told the PA news agency: “Over 9,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel and everyone should protest whenever they can at our government’s complicity with the catastrophe Israel is causing.

“The protest was huge, with many hundreds of Londoners, and it shows the popular opinion in support of calling for a ceasefire.”

British Transport Police said its officers told protesters about the notice and advised them to leave.

Five people were later arrested for failing to comply with the notice, the force said.

Most protesters left “without incident” by 7.15pm, the force added, and some then joined a demonstration outside the station.

Half an hour later officers from BTP and the Met escorted around 50 protesters away from the area to Euston.

A man was arrested near Euston station on suspicion of common assault before protesters left the area.

Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said: “I am pleased that the use of the public order legislation, which applied to the operation of the railway, worked well tonight.

“While initial arrests were necessary, the rest of the protesters then complied with the prohibition order and quickly left the station.

“This was a good operation where partners from BTP, Network Rail and the Metropolitan Police worked together to keep London safe and moving.”

The Transport Secretary said: “While the right to peaceful protest is a key part of our democratic society, it cannot be at the expense of other people’s right not to be seriously disrupted or intimidated.

“That’s why I have granted consent for the British Transport Police (BTP) to make an order under Section 14a of the Public Order Act 1986 prohibiting the planned protest at King’s Cross station this evening.

“This means protest activity at the station is classified as unlawful and anyone taking part will be subject to arrest.

“Officers must have the powers they need for our stations to remain safe places for people to go about their journeys, protecting public safety and preventing disorder.”

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