‘Offensive’ Free Palestine graffiti removed

Martin Sugarman, who chairs Hackney-Haifa Twinning, reported three painted slogans saying ‘Free Palestine’ on the Cat and Mutton Bridge and on a wall near Broadway Market.

He contacted senior politicians, including Speaker Anya Sizer and Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier, to get “this disgraceful graffiti” removed as soon as possible.

He thought it appeared overnight between Monday, October 9 and Tuesday, October 10, following the weekend attack on Israel by Hamas.

“This stuff spreads fear and social anger unless it is stopped soon,” he said.

He spotted the slogans on the same day as the bodies of more than 100 Jewish Israeli people were found shot at border villages by Hamas, bringing the death toll to more than 1,200 Israelis.

At the time of writing, more than 1,100 Palestinians have also died in the conflict after Israel launched air strikes on Gaza this week.

Sugarman said the daubed messages are “truly barbaric and mock the death of now 1,000-plus unarmed, innocent people in their homes in south Israel”.

Hackney Speaker Anya Sizer told him she was “devastated” by what had happened.

Cllr Chris Kennedy, the cabinet member for health, adult social care and culture, contacted the community safety and traffic departments about the slogans.

Hackney’s street-cleaning teams raced to get the graffiti removed as swiftly as possible.

Sugarman praised them for painting over it rapidly.

Police have sought to reassure the local community after the conflict broke out.

Hackney’s borough commander, James Conway, said: “We are listening and working with communities, including the Jewish and Muslim communities, and partners and charities to ensure people feel safe and protected.

“We ask that members of the public report anything concerning, such as threatening behaviour.”

Police have stepped up patrols across key areas of London and are in touch with synagogues, mosques, and businesses to give them safety advice.

Conway said: “We are clear that antisemitism, Islamophobia, and any other racial and faith-based discrimination, will not be tolerated.

“There is no place for hatred in our society and anyone who has been subjected to hate crime should not suffer in silence.”

He urged people to report any incident on 101, or on 999 in an emergency.

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