UK police arrest 5 for spraying red paint on defense ministry, in protest against Israel

People walk past the UK Ministry of Defence Building in central London, hours after members of Youth Demand and Palestine Action spayed red paint onto the brickwork to demand that the political parties in the UK impose a two-way arms embargo on Israel and end the development and production of fossil fuels in the UK, on April 10, 2024. (Henry Nicholls/AFP)
People walk past the UK Ministry of Defence Building in central London, hours after members of Youth Demand and Palestine Action spayed red paint onto the brickwork to demand that the political parties in the UK impose a two-way arms embargo on Israel and end the development and production of fossil fuels in the UK, on April 10, 2024. (Henry Nicholls/AFP)

LONDON — British police have arrested five people suspected of criminal damage after the UK Ministry of Defence’s London headquarters was sprayed with red paint in protest at arms sales to Israel.

The arrests came just hours after police charged three people with public order offenses for staging a pro-Palestinian protest outside the London home of opposition leader Keir Starmer.

The incidents come 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, triggered by the Hamas terror group’s October 7 attack.

Protest groups Palestine Action and Youth Demand say their activists had spray-painted the ministry’s facade.

“We no longer accept the continuation of this death project as the UK allows the funding of arms to Israel,” Youth Demand posts on social media, alongside video of the stunt.

Transport police officers assigned to a central London protest made the five arrests after spotting “a group of people spraying paint on a building along the Embankment,” London’s Metropolitan Police say.

“We will never tolerate people causing criminal damage to buildings under the guise of protest,” the force says on X, formerly Twitter.

Earlier, the Met said two women and a man had been charged under section 42 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 over the protest Tuesday outside Labour leader Starmer’s home.

“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,” it added.

The accused, all in their 20s, were arrested outside Starmer’s Kentish Town house in north London.

They had hung a banner outside the house reading: “Starmer stop the killing,” surrounded by red handprints.

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