Friday, June 14, 2024
HomeDemocracy in DecayShocking misreporting of a peaceful, family-friendly event

Shocking misreporting of a peaceful, family-friendly event


FOR weekends on end, since Hamas invaded Israel on October 7 last year, massacring 1,200 people and taking 250 hostages to Gaza, London streets have seen mass demonstrations protesting against Israel’s response. Many people openly support Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation that has called for the destruction of the Jewish state. Often violent and extremely intimidating for the Jewish community, the only people the Metropolitan police have seemed interested in arresting are those who display British flags or banners saying ‘Hamas is a terrorist organisation’. Meanwhile much of the MSM, for whatever reason, characterises the protests as ‘peaceful’ or ‘pro-peace’. 

Last November one of the few counter-protests took place against growing anti-Semitism, calling for the release of the hostages. Tommy Robinson, a vocal supporter of Israel and campaigner against anti-Semitism, said he’d be reporting it for his media company Urban Scoop. Almost immediately after he arrived, as he sat in a cafe having breakfast before the protest began, the Met police swooped in and arrested him. His attendance was ‘causing distress’, they claimed. Though he put up no resistance at all, 30 officers surrounded him, handcuffed and pepper-sprayed him in the face before bundling him into a police van. He was detained overnight in a cell. The punitive (police state-style) bail conditions imposed on him forbade him from entering London again until his trial for ‘refusing a dispersal order’ came up. That was five months later. At his trial on April 23 (St George’s Day) an unbiased judge ruled his arrest and imprisonment had been unlawful. The judge found police evidence to be flawed or fabricated – none of the 30 officers had been able to produce bodycam video evidence to justify the arrest (strangely, all their cameras were out of action). 

Robinson’s November arrest was another example of the Metropolitan Police’s ‘two-tier’ policing in which often violent or disruptive groups favoured by the ‘progressive establishment’ (such as Black Lives Matter, Just Stop Oil, and the ‘pro-Palestine’ horde) are treated with deference and courtesy while those such as British patriots celebrating St George’s Day are subjected to the harshest treatment. It was but the latest in a long line of attacks on Robinson that he and others have written about. It prompted Robinson, who has produced and presented a number of documentaries, to make one more, ‘Lawfare’, on this theme and on censorship, to screen at a rally in London. Last Saturday crowds gathered in Parliament Square to see it and to hear him and others speak.

The MSM response was predictable. The ‘far-right racist and thug’ caricature of him, the smear required to criminalise, demonise and censor him out of society, was taken up by the media before the rally had even begun. The fact is that he is an embarrassment and indeed a threat to the establishment’s multicultural mores, denial and blind eye to the consequences of uncontrolled immigration and Islamism. Robinson was the first to expose the (mainly Muslim) grooming gangs and officialdom’s cover-up. He has continued to expose threats posed by leftist and Islamist extremists. Worse, from the establishment’s point of view, he has a large following. He is popular. They are not.

Once again the mainstream media and Metropolitan Police decided the narrative in advance: this was going to be a bunch of ‘football hooligans’ causing trouble led by the ‘thug’ and ‘convicted stalker’ Robinson. Using the same template from the last time Robinson was involved in an event in London, the supposedly conservative Daily Mail tweeted this and other derogatory tweets below:

The Met was also determined to ‘warn’ of trouble and developed the football hooligan narrative in this tweet.

I was there from start to finish and can report that this fearmongering and demonising was entirely unfounded. I’d thought these smear and fear tactics would keep attendance down to a few hundred. Indeed, between 2018 and 2023 when Tommy Robinson was banned from all social media platforms except Telegram, these were the best numbers he could muster for events he organised. This time thousands and thousands came to the rally. His reinstatement to Twitter/X in 2023 may have brought a new dynamic, but it is also a time when trust in establishment politicians has plummeted to rock bottom and more people are coming to realise that he’s been right all along and appallingly treated.

It was clear to me from the moment I arrived at Victoria for the march to Parliament Square that not only was this going to be an enormous event (far more than I predicted) but that the profile of the participants was nothing like the stereotype image claimed by the mainstream media. The majority perhaps were traditional working-class Brits, but all sections of society were there; young and old; white, black and Asian; and people of all religions and none. 

Union flags flew alongside flags of Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Israel, Iran and the USA. 

(Photos above by Norman Fenton)

This  short video I compiled gives an even better feel of who attended and of the atmosphere in the crowd. Mayhar Tousi’s video provides a more comprehensive overview.

I didn’t witness any trouble or aggression amongst the 15,000 or more who marched. Additional thousands who wanted to get into Parliament Square were unable to do so because the police set up a tight cordon closing off access. But the Met, who had been hyping up the likelihood of trouble from all these ‘football hooligans’ before it began, then put out their remarkable tweet (shown in full above) as the square filled, seemingly disappointed that they had not made any arrests ‘so far’ and keen to point out that ‘the event still has a number of hours left’. 

This last shameless tweets make the Met’s two-tier discriminatory policing policy: it references identifying people who ‘have a history of violent disorder’ (they have Tommy Robinson in this category) and also ‘involvement in lockdown protests against the pandemic’ – that is people like me and hosts of other law-abiding citizens. No such profiling has ever been directed by the Met Police at any of the anti-Israel demonstrators despite their links with terrorist organisations or previous records. It’s no wonder they turned off ‘replies’ to the tweet. In fact only two arrests were made (one was one for public urination -the closure by police of all pubs along the route didn’t help). 

The full three-hour event, watched live on Tommy Robinson’s X account by 850,000 people, can be seen here. This is the kind of viewing figure which the mainstream media news channels can only dream of. At the time of writing it has been watched 3.1million times. Laurence Fox, Carl Benjamin, Gerard Batten and Mayar Tousi were there on the platform with video speeches from Katie Hopkins, June Slater and Calvin Robinson. 

You can watch Robinson’s Lawfare on YouTube and on rumble.

Despite the evidence (which even the Met reluctantly had to recognise) that it was an extremely peaceful family-friendly and multicultural event, the mainstream media was still determined to report it otherwise. The linked article in the Daily Mail tweet above, which kept changing online as the day wore on, started as a vicious hit job on Robinson and morphed into extremely biased misreporting of the rally. There was noevidence of people wearing balaclavas, for example. At least the paper acknowledged the true numbers of people. Other mainstream media either ignored it completely or, like the Mirror, reduced the numbers participating to hundreds (of hooligans, of course). 

Contrary to all their hopes it was an uplifting event. My fear, however, is that its very success with a follow-up event on July 27 promising to attract even more people, will intensify not lessen the demonisation of a man whose truth-telling the establishment does not want anyone to hear.

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Norman Fenton
Norman Fenton
Norman Fenton is a British mathematician and computer scientist. He is Professor of Risk Information Management in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London.

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