Public tends to disapprove of pro-Palestinian marches in London

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
May 14, 2024, 9:50 AM GMT+0

Londoners, however, tend to approve

Last month saw the Metropolitan Police’s handling of pro-Palestinian marches in London called into question, after video emerged of an officer appearing to suggest to antisemitism campaigner Gideon Falter that his being ‘openly Jewish’ near a protest might amount to a breach of the peace.

While further footage would later suggest that Falter may have been acting in a more provocative manner than initially depicted, this is not the first time that the Met have faced criticism for their handling of pro-Palestinian marches. In November, then-home secretary Suella Braverman accused the Met of being much softer on these protests than for othersa stance she has reiterated after having returned to the backbenches.

New YouGov research shows that the British public are divided on the Met’s handling of the marches, with 31% saying they think the police have done a good job and 29% saying they think they’ve done a bad job.

However, Londoners themselves are more likely to be supportive, with 39% saying the capital’s cops have done a good job, compared to 27% who think they’ve done a bad job.

In part this may be down to the fact that Londoners are noticeably more likely to be pro-Palestinian than the wider country – 40% compared to 28% in the nation at large. Those who say they most sympathise with the Palestinian side in the conflict are more likely to feel that the Met have done a good job policing the protests.

Do Britons approve of the pro-Palestine marches?

There has been notable hostility towards the pro-Palestinian marches in some quarters, and our poll finds that the British public tend to take a negative view of those marches taking place in London. More than four in ten (43%) say they disapprove of the marches, compared to only 33% who approve.

Among Londoners themselves opinion flips – 45% approve of the marches, while 36% disapprove.

While those who say they sympathise with ‘both sides equally’ in the Israel-Palestine conflict have the same views on the police handling of protests as those who are ‘more on the Palestinian side’, they are substantially more likely to have a negative view of the protests themselves. While just 9% of those with a more pro-Palestine stance say they disapprove of the marches, this figure is fully 55% among those who sympathise with both sides equally. Among those who sympathise more with the Israeli side, fully 91% disapprove.

This trend plays out identically among Londoners as well, with the only real difference being that those who sympathise with both sides equally in London are somewhat less likely to disapprove of the marches (47%) than their counterparts nationally.

See the national results here and the London results here

What do you think about police handling of protests, the war in Gaza, and everything else? Have your say, join the YouGov panel, and get paid to share your thoughts. Sign up here

Photo: Getty

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