Six pro-Palestinian activists arrested for plot to disrupt London Stock Exchange

Police say plan to prevent opening of building may have had ‘serious implications’ if successful; top BBC presenter Gary Lineker advocates for international sport boycott of Israel

Illustrative: People walk by the Bank of England building (L) and Stock Exchange building (R), in the financial district, central London, on November 2, 2023. (HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)
Illustrative: People walk by the Bank of England building (L) and Stock Exchange building (R), in the financial district, central London, on November 2, 2023. (HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)

British police on Sunday arrested six  members of the Palestine Action protest group as part of an investigation into an alleged plot to disrupt the London Stock Exchange.

The police alleged the activists had planned to target the LSE on Monday morning in an attempt to prevent the building from opening for trading.

In a statement, London’s Metropolitan Police said three people were arrested in the northern English city of Liverpool, two in London, and one in the south coast city of Brighton.

“These are significant arrests. We believe this group was ready to carry out a disruptive and damaging stunt which could have had serious implications had it been carried out successfully,” said Detective Superintendent Sian Thomas.

The police said all six activists remained in custody.

In a statement reported by Sky News, Palestine Action said: “Our direct action campaign will not be deterred. We are unafraid of putting our liberty on the line.”

London has seen large weekly rallies calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, which have come under scrutiny for antisemitic chants and posters by some participants.

Also in the UK, the BBC’s highest-paid presenter, Gary Lineker, reposted a tweet from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, urging FIFA and the International Olympic Committee to join a global boycott of Israel.

The former soccer star was blasted by Conservative MPs, who said the BBC should take action against Lineker for supporting the boycott campaign.

“The BDS [Boycott Divestment and Sanctions] movement [to boycott Israel] is a racist, antisemitic campaign and nobody who receives taxpayers’ money working in the BBC should be endorsing a campaign that is widely understood to promote Jew hate,” Conservative MP Andrew Percy told The Telegraph.

“There has to be a line where the BBC has to intervene and him endorsing a racist campaign, which is what the BDS group is widely understood to be, surely must be a new low if they’re going to allow him to get away with that,” he added.

Gary Lineker leaves his house in London on March 13, 2023. (Niklas Halle’n/AFP)

The BBC, the UK’s public broadcaster, has had to issue several apologies over its reporting of the Israel-Hamas war since the start of the conflict on October 7, at times rushing to publish unverifiable claims by Hamas and Palestinian media.

The TV network has also faced widespread criticism, including from the British government, for refusing to call Hamas a terrorist group or its members terrorists — a policy it has in common with many major international news organizations.

Lineker has been the focus of an ongoing dispute over the impartiality of the BBC, sparked by his criticism of the UK government’s asylum policy. The former England soccer player was briefly taken off air by bosses at the publicly funded broadcaster last year after comparing the launch of the Conservatives’ new policy to the rhetoric of Nazi-era Germany.

The UK has experienced a surge in antisemitic and anti-Israel activity since October 7, when Hamas-led terrorists rampaged through southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping at least 240 people to Gaza.

Israel then launched a military campaign — aimed at toppling the Hamas regime which has ruled Gaza since 2007 — and securing the release of the hostages. The offensive has come under harsh international criticism for its mounting death toll.

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