Antisemitism and abuse allowed at Council meeting: DUP

The DUP Group on Londonderry & Strabane Council have condemned the invasion of the Council chamber during a meeting of the Council this evening by pro-Palestinian protestors, which included the display of an antisemitic banner, abuse of elected representatives and antisemitic chanting.

They said significant questions arise for both the Chief Executive of the Council and the Mayor following the incident.

In a statement the DUP Group said,

“At the Council meeting, a large number of protestors, some with their faces covered, gained access to both the public gallery and the floor of the Council chamber itself. Rather than facing challenge from either the Mayor or any Council officer, the protestors proceeded to unfurl an antisemitic banner and at other stages abused elected representatives present and engaged in antisemitic chanting.

Despite such racism being displayed, there was no attempt by the Mayor to challenge or restrict the activities of the protestors. A number of the protestors appeared to enter the chamber through an entrance not accessible by the general public.

All this occurred despite DUP Councillors raising concerns about potential intimidation of elected representatives following an incident after last month’s meeting.

There are significant questions for the Chief Executive of the Council to answer about the approach taken to the safety of elected representatives, whilst the Mayor needs to explain her approach. She sat impassively in front of a banner which even the speaker who was permitted to address the meeting condemned as antisemitic. The Mayor however made no reference to this banner or no attempt to prevent that racist display from being unveiled or present for a significant period of time.

The Mayor needs to explain whether her tolerance towards racism, intimidation and abuse was simply because she wasn’t willing to challenge it coming from a mix of pro-Palestinian and republican activists?”

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