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UK Premier Rishi Sunak says 'extremists' trying to tear UK apart

Sunak's controversial speech draws criticism from members of parliament

13:34 - 2/03/2024 Cumartesi
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File Photo
File Photo

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak denounced what he described as a concerning surge in extremist activities in the country during an unexpected address Friday outside Downing Street.

Sunak stressed the pivotal role of democracy, cautioning against forces seeking to undermine its integrity.

Directly addressing participants of recent Pro-Palestine protests, Sunak urged citizens to resist the influence of "extremist" elements seeking to exploit public dissent.

"On too many occasions recently, our streets have been hijacked by a small group … who are hostile to our values and have no respect for our democratic traditions. Membership of our society is contingent on some simple things," he said. "This week, I have met with senior police officers and made clear it is the public's expectation … that they will not merely manage these protests, but police them. And I say this to the police: We will back you when you take action.”

He said Islamists and the far-right were "two sides of the same extremist coin."

"Islamist extremists and far rights groups are spreading a poison, that poison is extremism. It aims to drain us of our confidence in ourselves as a people, and in our shared future," he claimed.

Sunak condemned the election of George Galloway, who easily won the seat in Rochdale on a platform that focused on anti-Israel sentiment for Gaza. The prime minister said it was "beyond alarming" that voters in Rochdale had returned a candidate whom he said had "dismissed what happened on 7 Oct." in Israel.

In response, Galloway, defended his views, asserting that he was endorsed by the electorate. He remained steadfast in his stance, stressing that his victory reflected the will of the people.


- Peaceful protests on Gaza 'not threat to our democracy'

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey dismissed Sunak's remarks, asserting that the British public would not heed lessons from a government accused of fostering division over the years.

Labour MP for East Leeds, Richard Burgon wrote on X that the huge peaceful protests on Gaza "are not a threat to our democracy. They're a key part of it. Their call for a Ceasefire Now is backed by 71% of the public."

"Rishi Sunak's desperate attacks on the protests are simply because his Government knows it has lost the argument," he added.

Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, also criticized Sunak.

"Truly chilling speech from Rishi Sunak. I agree with him on one thing: there is a group in the UK that is harbouring extremism, spreading division and threatening our democratic freedoms. But it's not Muslims. It's the Conservative Party," said Whittome.

The 'Stop the War' group condemned Sunak, saying political figures and leaders have launched scathing attacks at the anti-war and Palestine solidarity movement, branding demonstrators as a “mob” and resorting to Islamophobic rhetoric.

"Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer and Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle have whipped up a level of racist abuse not seen since the dark days of Enoch Powell. Make no mistake, these are serious attacks on us all. The Rochdale election result shows just how out of step the two main parties are. But the more threatened they feel the more vicious the attacks will become," it said.

Powell was a Conservative MP who garnered attention in 1968 for his “Rivers of Blood” speech in which he was critical of immigration rates to the UK and voiced opposition to the Race Relations Bill legislation.




#Downing street
#Rishi Sunak
#the UK
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