Home US ‘We must draw a line’: Rishi Sunak calls for greater police crackdown on extremist ‘poison’ on Britain’s streets as he pleads for national unity amid waves of protests in Gaza and George Galloway’s ‘alarming’ victory in the by-elections

‘We must draw a line’: Rishi Sunak calls for greater police crackdown on extremist ‘poison’ on Britain’s streets as he pleads for national unity amid waves of protests in Gaza and George Galloway’s ‘alarming’ victory in the by-elections

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'We must draw a line': Rishi Sunak calls for greater police crackdown on extremist 'poison' on Britain's streets as he pleads for national unity amid waves of protests in Gaza and George Galloway's 'alarming' victory in the by-elections

In recent weeks and months, we have seen a striking increase in extremist disorganization and criminality.

What began as protests in our streets has turned into intimidation, threats and planned acts of violence.

Jewish children are afraid to wear their school uniform for fear that it will reveal their identity.

Muslim women abused in the street by the actions of a terrorist group with which they have no connection.

Now our own democracy is a target.

Council meetings and local events have been disrupted.

Parliamentarians do not feel safe in their homes.

Long-standing parliamentary conventions have been revoked for security reasons.

And it is more than alarming that last night’s Rochdale by-election returned a candidate who dismisses the horror of what happened on October 7, who glorifies Hezbollah and is backed by Nick Griffin, the racist former leader of the BNP.

I need to speak to all of you this afternoon because this situation has gone on for too long and demands a response not only from the government, but from all of us.

Great Britain is a patriotic, liberal and democratic society with a proud past and a bright future.

We are a reasonable country and a decent people.

Our history is one of progress, great achievements and enduring values.

The immigrants who have come here have integrated and contributed.

They have helped write the last chapter of our island’s history.

They have done it without having to give up their identity.

You can be a practicing Hindu and a proud Brit like I am.

Or a devout Muslim and patriotic citizen as so many are.

Or a committed Jewish person and the heart of their local community and all underpinned by the tolerance of our established Christian church.

We are a country where we love our neighbors.

And together we are building Britain.

But I fear that our great achievement in building the world’s most successful multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy is being deliberately undermined.

There are forces here at home trying to tear us apart.

Since October 7, there have been those who have tried to take advantage of the very human anguish we all feel about the terrible suffering that war brings to innocents, women and children, to promote a divisive and hateful ideological agenda.

On too many occasions recently, our streets have been hijacked by small groups who are hostile to our values ​​and do not respect our democratic traditions.

Membership in our society depends on a few simple things: respecting the rule of law and that change can only occur through a peaceful and democratic process.

Threats of violence and intimidation are foreign to our way of doing things: they must be resisted at all times.

Almost everyone in Britain supports these basic values, but there are small hostile groups who do not.

Islamist extremists and the extreme right feed off and embolden each other.

They are equally desperate to pretend that their violence is somehow justified when in reality these groups are two sides of the same extremist coin.

Neither group accepts that change in our country can only come about through a peaceful democratic process.

They both hate the pluralistic and modern country that we are.

Both want to pit British against British to weaponize the evils of anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred for their own ends.

The faith of Islam, practiced peacefully by millions of our fellow citizens, is not at all the same as the extremist political ideology of Islamism, which seeks to separate Muslims from the rest of society.

Islamist extremists and far-right groups are spreading poison, that poison is extremism.

Their goal is to take away our confidence in ourselves as a people and in our shared future.

They want us to doubt ourselves, to doubt each other, to doubt the history and achievements of our country.

They want us to accept a moral equivalence between Britain and some of the world’s most despicable regimes.

They want us to believe that our country, and the West in general, is solely responsible for the world’s ills and that we, along with our allies, are the problem.

In short, they want to destroy our trust and hope.

We must not allow that to happen.

When these groups claim that Britain is and has been on the wrong side of history, we should reject it and reject it again.

No country is perfect, but I am enormously proud of the good our country has done.

Our place in history is defined by the sacrifices our people have made in service of our own freedom and that of others.

And when these groups tell children that they can’t – and will not succeed – because of who they are.

When children are told that the system is rigged against them or that Britain is a racist country…

This is not just a lie, but a cynical attempt to crush the dreams of young people and turn impressionistic minds against their own society.

I am here as the first non-white Prime Minister of our country, leading the most diverse government in the history of our country to say to people of all races, all religions and all backgrounds, it is not the color of your skin, the God you believe in or where you were born, that will determine your success, but only your own hard work and effort.

We must be prepared to defend our shared values ​​in all circumstances, no matter how difficult.

And I respect that the police have a tough job policing the protests we’ve seen and that they are operationally independent.

But we must draw a line.

Yes, you can march and protest passionately. You can demand the protection of civilian life, but no, you cannot call for a violent jihad.

There is no “context” in which it would be acceptable to broadcast anti-Semitic tropes to Big Ben in the middle of a vote on Israel/Gaza.

And there can be no cause that can be used to justify support for a banned terrorist group, such as Hamas.

Yes, you can freely criticize the actions of this government, or any government: that is a fundamental democratic right.

But no, you cannot use that as an excuse to call for the eradication of a State – or any type of hatred or anti-Semitism.

This week I met with senior police officials and made it clear that this is the public expectation.

who will not only manage these protests, but will monitor them.

And I say this to the police: we will support them when they act.

But if we ask for more from the police, the government must also back that call with actions.

To that end, this month the government will roll out a robust new framework on how to address this issue.

Ensure that we are addressing the root causes of this problem and that no extremist organization or individual receives legitimacy for their actions and interactions with the central government.

You can’t be part of our civic life if your agenda is to tear it down.

We will redouble our support for the Prevent program to prevent extremism from poisoning young minds.

We will demand that universities end extremist activity on campuses.

We will also act to prevent people from entering this country whose goal is to undermine its values.

The Home Secretary has given instructions that if those here on visas decide to spew hate at protests or seek to intimidate people, we will take away their right to be here.

And our Britain must not be a country where we descend into polarized camps with some communities living parallel lives.

It is not enough to live side by side, we must live together united by shared values ​​and a shared commitment to this country.

And I want to speak directly to those who decide to continue protesting:

Don’t let extremists take over your marches.

In the coming weeks you have the opportunity to show that you can protest decently, peacefully and with empathy for your fellow citizens.

Let us prove these extremists wrong and show them that even when we disagree we will never be disunited from our common values ​​of decency and respect.

I love this country.

My family and I owe him a lot.

The time has come for us all to unite to combat the forces of division and defeat this poison.

We must confront the extremists who want to destroy us. There must be leadership, not complacency or appeasement.

When they tell their lies, we will tell the truth.

When they try to undermine our trust, we will redouble our efforts.

And when they try to make us doubt each other, we will search deeper for that extra bit of compassion and empathy that they want us to believe doesn’t exist, but that I know does.

If we can do that, we can build on our great achievement of creating the Britain of today, a country of kind, decent and tolerant people.

We can make this a country in which we all feel a renewed sense of pride.

This is our house.

So let us move forward together, confident in our values ​​and confident in our future.

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