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Pregnant Mother Charged for Holding Satirical ‘coconut’ Placard

May 21, 2024

London – Last week, Marieha Hussain was charged by the Metropolitan Police for a racially aggravated public order offence. In November 2023 Marieha was pictured holding a placard depicting Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman as coconuts during a pro-Palestine demonstration. The police charges against Marieha are politically motivated against a pregnant mother who has faced abuse and harassment for speaking out against the live-streamed genocide taking place in Gaza. 

For nearly six months, Marieha was subjected to an abusive police interview, late-night police harassment, termination from her teaching position, negative media headlines, and the trauma of relocating her family and withdrawing her son from school for his safety. All this while Marieha, who is five months pregnant, faced the anxiety of an ongoing investigation without clarity on whether charges would be pressed.

On May 17, Marieha was informed by a journalist – not the police – that she had been charged with a racially aggravated offence. This unprofessional conduct highlights the Metropolitan Police's poor mishandling of the case and raises serious concerns about their integrity and motives. 

In a Channel 4 News report, Andy George, the President of the National Black Police Association argued that “I don't think the word coconut in and of itself should be seen in the same way as the N word or other highly offensive racial language.” Marieha’s charges are reflective of how laws that were once used to protect ethnic minorities are now being weaponised and used against them. 

This charge attempts to silence and censor pro-Palestine voices. The allegations against Marieha are not only absurd but also reflect a broader pattern of political persecution against those who advocate for Palestinian rights.

Dr Asim Qureshi, Research Director at CAGE International said:

“We have reached late-stage Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, where legislation enacted to ostensibly protect minorities from racial discrimination, is now being weaponised against people of colour for expressing their political views. 

It is why CAGE International focuses on the systemic, rather than seeking to ameliorate a broken system of injustice. Racism never went away, it was just subverted by racists into being something that could become everything except doing the actual work of anti-racism”

Marieha Hussain, pregnant mother who has been charged, said:

“Whilst I find it bewildering that the police have thought this would be a good use of their time and money, I am absolutely committed to fighting this ridiculous charge in court. I also want to thank the thousands of people who have expressed their support and demanded the CPS drop the case."

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Pregnant Mother Charged for Holding Satirical ‘coconut’ Placard
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Pregnant Mother Charged for Holding Satirical ‘coconut’ Placard
Statements & Press Releases