Metropolitan Police officers are believed to have warned organisers of an anti-Balfour march that anyone flying Hezbollah flags is liable to be arrested.
The group behind an anti-Israel march in Grosvenor Square last week told supporters not to fly the flag of the Lebanon-based militia, which has thousands of rockets aimed at Israel, after advice from the police.
“Please, no one fly the Hezbollah flag,” wrote organisers of last week’s ‘Make It Right For Palestine’ protest. “We have promised the police that no one will fly a Hezbollah flag.”
Jewish community campaigners have long asked that the Home Office and Metropolitan Police ban the Hezbollah flag, which has until now been flown legally because Hezbollah’s political wing is not a proscribed group, unlike its armed wing.
The group’s External Security Organisation was proscribed in 2001 and in 2008 this was extended to Hezbollah’s military apparatus, including its Jihad Council, but the flags for the organisation’s military and political wings are the same.
Police officers have said in the past that in order for the flag flying to be an offence, the context and manner in which the flag is displayed must demonstrate that it is specifically in support of the proscribed elements of the group.
Jewish groups have repeatedly said that the situation is absurd, and have called for Home Secretary Amber Rudd to consider proscribing the entire organisation, given that Hezbollah itself makes no distinction between its political and armed wings.