On November 25, Dr. Ranjeet Brar and three members of the UK CPGB-ML were arrested at the national Palestine solidarity demo for manning a table selling a book critical of the history of Zionism that was published nine years ago and has since been distributed widely.  They were told that the book might constitute an ‘incitement to racial hatred’ for which they were held in isolation for 24 hours before being released on bail.

While imprisoned, their families were subjected to 3:00 AM raids, during which police seized phones, laptops, and party literature. When they were set free the following day, it was on the condition that they should not sell or distribute leaflets or pamphlets, deviate from the main routes of any march, or “carry swastikas” (!) The cases are pending until February.

Then, on the 13th of January, while proceedings were being brought against Israel in the International Court of Justice on charges of genocide and British bombers attacked Yemen, another huge London demonstration in solidarity with Palestine was targeted – this time not in a hunt for ‘antisemites’ but for ‘terrorist sympathizers’.

Some fifty officers descended on CPGB ML supporters, surrounding them and confiscating their literature (the leaflet that they seized had been distributed at every Palestine demonstration since October).  Three supporters were arrested.  The justification for the arrests was that the leaflet “supported Hamas, a banned organization” in breach of the 2000 UK Terrorism Act.

Three comrades were arrested, taken to Hammersmith police station, and held for 28 hours, during which time their homes were raided by large squads of anti-terror police. The legislation used to justify our comrades’ arrest (an extension of the ‘anti-terror’ law that was first enacted at the time of the Irish liberation war in the 1970s) gives the UK government wide ranging and draconian powers to act against its citizens – if they are allowed to establish the precedent of using it freely against the pro-Palestine anti-Zionist protesters.

Ranjeet Brar is a pro-Palestine, anti-Zionist activist, journalist, author, and member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (ML).  Dr. Brar is a Vascular Surgeon at the University of Sheffield Royal College of Surgeons of England, United Kingdom