LONDON: Two women demonstrating at a pro-Palestine protest in London on Saturday were arrested for holding a sign containing Arabic writing that police officers could not immediately translate.
The women were asked to translate their sign, which they did, but the Metropolitan Police arrested them after the organization could not verify the translation without an independent translator at the scene, Sky News reported.
In a video which captured the incident, the police asked one of the women to translate her banner, to which she replied: “Who will roll up their sleeves for heaven?”
As the police could not verify her translation through an independent translator, the women were arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offense and taken to a police station for questioning.
The incident took place at a Hizb ut-Tahrir protest at the Egyptian Embassy on South Street in Mayfair, which was attended by hundreds of people.
Tens of thousands of protesters in London took part in a larger march on Saturday that stretched from Park Lane to Whitehall. They demanded a permanent ceasefire a day after the exchange of hostages held in Gaza for prisoners held in Israel amid a four-day temporary truce.
Police said that while the majority of people protested peacefully across the capital, 18 people were arrested, including at least five who were detained on suspicion of inciting racial hatred.
Officers handed out leaflets during the march that sought to clarify what would be deemed a criminal offense, after the Metropolitan Police faced pressure from senior government officials to be tougher on alleged displays of antisemitism at the protests.
“Anyone who is racist or incites hatred against any group should expect to be arrested, as should anyone who supports Hamas or any other banned organization,” said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan.
“We will not tolerate anyone who celebrates or promotes acts of terrorism — such as the killing or kidnap of innocent people — or who spreads hate speech.”