UK police charge 3 over protest outside party leader’s home

Two women and a man were staging a pro-Palestinian protest as Britain debates what are acceptable levels of public demonstrations.

UK police on Wednesday charged three people with public order offences for staging a pro-Palestinian protest outside the London home of opposition leader Keir Starmer.

The case comes amid debate in Britain over the acceptable limits of public demonstrations, with fears for lawmakers’ safety increasing since the start of the war in Gaza.

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The capital’s Metropolitan Police force said two women and a man had been charged under section 42 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001.

“This power stops the harassment of a person at their home address if an officer suspects it is causing alarm or distress to the occupant,” the Met said in a statement.

The accused, all in their 20s, were arrested on Tuesday outside Starmer’s home in the Kentish Town area of north London.

They had hung a banner outside the Labour leader’s house that read: “Starmer stop the killing”, surrounded by red handprints.

They also laid rows of children’s shoes in front of the door to signify children killed in Gaza.

The three are due to appear in court later on Wednesday.

Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose home was targeted by environmental protesters last year, has urged police to halt protests outside lawmakers’ residences, parliament, and political party offices.

In February, he claimed that Britain was descending into “mob rule” in comments that were criticised by civil liberty groups.

UK lawmakers have reported receiving a surge of abuse since Hamas’s deadly attack on Israel on October 7.

Earlier this year, Sunak’s government announced a package of £31 million ($39 million) towards boosting MPs’ security.

© Agence France-Presse