London – A former senior campaigner at Amnesty International, and life-long human rights campaigner was arrested by the Metropolitan Police on Saturday 4 November at the Trafalgar Square pro Palestine rally for holding a satirical placard regarding Israel. Aisha Jung’s arrest under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 follows a broader state sponsored intimidation campaign against solidarity with Palestine.
Aisha Jung, a mother of three, had just arrived at the protest with her family when the Police were drawn to her satirical placard. The placard held by her described Israel as an “apartheid c*ntry”. She is due to appear at a London police station on 8 November, where the police will determine if she will be charged or not.
This arrest raises serious alarms about the highly politicised policing of pro-Palestine solidarity. The police have been given clear directions from the Home Secretary to act and intervene forcefully. This is being enforced overzealously with multiple arrests taking place for chanting, holding placards and mere presence at public protests.
CAGE wrote to the Home Secretary and Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, about their inflammatory statements undermining the freedoms of assembly and expression guaranteed under the Human Rights Act 1989. Both have not had the courage to respond and are intent on creating a climate of fear and engaging in intimidatory tactics normally used by fascist regimes.
Speaking to CAGE, Aisha Jung said:
“I have been an activist since I was a child, volunteering and working on many many campaigns. As a young teenager, I used to join the non-stop picket outside the South African embassy, calling for the release of Nelson Mandela, imprisoned for 27 years for his struggle against apartheid. Over the years, I have worked in animal rights and human rights, including 17 years working for Amnesty International.”
“The Palestinian struggle for freedom has always been close to my heart. Over the years, we have seen the devastating and illegal suppression against them only worsen, in plain sight, with the so-called “international community” effectively redundant and incapable of fulfilling its own mandate to protect Palestinian land and Palestinian rights. It breaks my heart that the Muslim world has failed too, to provide a viable counter to the now irrefutable fact of Western, racist, colonial brutality which is as intact now as it was in 1917, when the Balfour Declaration first allocated Palestinian land to others.”
Naila Ahmed, Head of Campaigns at CAGE said:
“We are witnessing excessive Police overreach, bolstered by a hostile political and media environment that enables the Israeli war crimes and genocide of Palestinians. As a result, British people from all walks of life have poured on to the streets every week to condemn Israel, stand in solidarity with Palestinians and demand an end to the relentless bombing of an imprisoned civilian population.”
“Aisha Jung should be celebrated for acting courageously and compassionately by protesting against the slaughter of 10,000 lives. The police are reacting to political pressure from right wing interests led by the Home Secretary. As a result, they have dropped any pretence of neutrality. We are witnessing not only the oppression of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank but also of those who have the courage to stand in solidarity with them.”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)