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Pro-Palestine Protest ‘Disrupted By Agitators’ in Guildford High Street

Published on: 7 May, 2024
Updated on: 7 May, 2024

The young woman on her release from Guildford police station

A pro-Palestine protest in Guildford High Street was disrupted by a rival group on Saturday afternoon (May 4) and one of the protesters, a young woman, was arrested.

The West Surrey Palestine Solidarity Campaign (WSPSC) claimed that the rival group was made up of “Zionist agitators” and they say police acted “aggressively” in arresting the young woman.

Later that day around 30 to 40 Palestinian protestors gathered outside Guildford police station to hold a vigil for the young woman. She was was released at about 8pm on bail conditions.

Surrey police have said in a statement that their priority in taking action was public safety and de-escalating tensions.

The WSPSC issued a statement saying:

“West Surrey Palestine Solidarity Campaign has been protesting peacefully in Guildford High Street for years with absolutely no trouble.

“On this occasion a group of 10 Zionist agitators arrived to abuse and intimidate the peaceful protestors and made false accusations against them, which resulted in at least five police officers aggressively arresting the young girl who was leading the protesters chanting.

“The chant the protesters were singing was ‘From the river to the sea , Palestine will be free.’

“This was a girl who cared for the suffering of others and who was protesting to try and stop the horrific genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from their own country by the illegal Israeli occupation.

“Around 30 to 40 Palestinian protestors descended upon Guildford police station to hold a protest and vigil outside the station until she was released.

“The young lady was finally released around 8pm to applause from the waiting support group.”

Today (May 7) Surrey police released a statement saying:

“On Saturday, a woman in her 20s from Woking was arrested on Guildford High Street on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence under Section 4A of the Public Order Act. She has since been released on police conditional bail.

“People have the right to peaceful protest, and we understand that people want to make their voices heard. We will continue to uphold and facilitate everyone’s right to lawful protest.

“Our priorities when it comes to policing protests are the safety of protestors, the public and police officers involved, preventing criminal behaviour or disorder and de-escalating tensions. We will always take action when it is necessary and proportionate to maintain public order.”

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Responses to Pro-Palestine Protest ‘Disrupted By Agitators’ in Guildford High Street

  1. Name and email address supplied Reply

    May 7, 2024 at 5:22 pm

    You are disgraceful for calling Israelis living in Guildford for 30 years Zionist agitators.

    We would like a retraction and apology.

    Please using words like that about residents of Guildford is disrespectful and incites hatred and antisemitism.

    Editor’s response: There was absolutlely no intention to incite hatred of any group of people. Jews and Israelis who have settled here have the same rights (including the right to peaceful protest within the law) as everyone else, as, of course, do Palestinians who have settled here. But the protestors did not claim that the counter protestors were Guildford residents.

    We did not intend to support any side in this article, nor offend anyone, but rather report the incident as accurately as we could. No Dragon reporter witnessed the incident first hand (This is not unusual. Many news reports, including those of the BBC are based on second-hand information and we made it clear that quoted claims were just that, claims, a crucial difference.)

    We do fully appreciate that this is a very sensitive issue with strong feelings on both sides but we cannot fail to report incidents because they are sensitive.

    We asked Surrey Police for a comment as soon as we could. Unfortunately, their media team is not directly available out of office hours but we added their statement as soon as possible.

    • Keith Marsden Reply

      May 8, 2024 at 8:53 pm

      It seems as though you are confusing zionism, IsraelI and Jew.

      The agitators were clearly supporting the state of Israel, which is founded on Zionism, but that doesn’t make them Israeli.

      Protesting against Israel is not anti-semitic.

      If you conflate protesting against the state of Israel with anti-semitism then you are effectively saying that the actions of Israel are condoned by all Jews. Which is a very slippery path.

      Keep “Isreal” and “Jew” separate.

  2. Dori Vana Reply

    May 7, 2024 at 9:17 pm

    An absolutely shocking and one-sided article, to say that the Palestinian rally is peaceful is far from correct and the police knows that.

    Peaceful protests by law abiding citiizens for the return of the hostages is respectable. But there’s no need for anti-semitism. Peace and love to everybody.

    Editor’s response: The claim that the rally was peaceful was made by the protester group; it was not reported as fact.

  3. M Durant Reply

    May 7, 2024 at 11:00 pm

    Anybody can be a Zionist. Calling people Zionist agitators because they support Jewish people having their own state while singing “from the river to the sea” it is highly inflammatory and promoting the genocide of Jewish people inside Israel.

    There are numerous Arab states but they are ganging up the only tiny Jewish state in the world.

    The Palestinian side never takes any responsibility for what Hamas did and is doing. It is terrible what is going on in Gaza, but its a very complex situation and Hamas has not given back the hostages.

  4. Derekh Smithz Reply

    May 8, 2024 at 7:13 am

    Surrey police failed to act on a couple who were racially abusing the protestor. Surrey police should apologise for their actions and start collecting cctv on those people who were racially assaulting the protestor(s).

  5. John Perkins Reply

    May 8, 2024 at 9:14 am

    Chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” is not peaceful protest. It is a call for the elimination of one group of people living in a particular place. “Ethnic cleansing” in other words.

    Police officers rarely act aggressively (as opposed to firmly) when making an arrest and, if they did so in this case, it’s likely that the woman or her supporters were obstructing them. These groups invariably film their actions so they could corroborate their claim by making the footage public, unedited.

    On the other hand, attempting to intimidate the police by gathering outside the station is aggressive.

  6. Jim Allen Reply

    May 8, 2024 at 5:33 pm

    Why has this foreign conflict been brought to our peaceful town?

    Not one resident in Guildford Borough to my knowledge has any ability to chalange the Isreal government nor the Hamas terrorists.

    Time protestors on both sides went home and protested by letter to the Hamas or the Isreali government.

  7. Martyn Turner Reply

    May 8, 2024 at 8:37 pm

    “From the River to the Sea” comes from the Likud party platform in 1977 who state: “between the Sea and the Jordan there will only be Israeli sovereignty”. The Likud party currently runs Israel [in coalition with six other parties].

    The protest on Saturday was peaceful until agitators appeared and used Islamophobic language to attack.

  8. Name and email address supplied Reply

    May 9, 2024 at 12:40 pm

    Martyn Turner is selective in his choice of Likud as the origin of this slogan “from the river to the sea”. It did not originate in 1977 with the Israeli Likud political party but was already in use by the PLO Palestinian Liberation Organisation and others such as DFLP and PFLP in the mid 1960s and “casting Israelis into the sea” was used by the Syrian President in 1966 in one of his speeches.

    It is a tragedy that some 750,000 Palestinians left in 1948, either forced to flee or encouraged to do so by the Arab governments of the surrounding countries who did not accept the UN mandate for the creation of the state of Israel.

    Perhaps what is less known is that an equivalent number of middle eastern, Arabic speaking Sephardi Jews were also forced out of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and the Maghreb counties of North Africa after Israel was founded. Would they be entitled to return to what had been their Arabic homeland? Iraq for example had the largest Jewish population for over 1,700 years.

    Peaceful protest on both sides certainly – but perhaps the claimed “agitators” were just ill-informed malcontents and rabble rousers who should have been arrested. Certainly no proof has been offered that they were Zionist, Jewish or Israeli.

    Sadly, fear and mistrust exist on all sides. Both sides need new political leadership, both sides have corrupt politicians. The Gazan people have been used as political pawns by Hamas to disrupt the ongoing Abrahamic Accords.

  9. Angela Marriott Reply

    May 9, 2024 at 5:22 pm

    As a resident of Guildford, I applaud the protests on the High Street raising awareness of the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Gaza.

    I have seen these protests several times. They are held by lovely caring people who are giving up their time to help others.

    Why would anyone not want a ceasefire and justice??

  10. Olly Azad Reply

    May 9, 2024 at 9:05 pm

    As the conflict in Israel and Palestine ravages on after seven long months and the death toll mounting, the sad fact is that innocent civilians on both sides have been killed unnecessarily.

    Hamas and Israel seem to be incable of stopping the fighting by themselves so maybe when they see the protests taking place here and abroad it might cajole them into action to seek peace and not war.

    Power to the people if they can bring about a change through this way for the sake of harmony, peace and the absence of war.

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