London, October 30, 2023
In a shocking incident during a pro-Palestinian protest in central London, Atif Shafiq, 41, has been sentenced to six months in jail for assaulting a police officer with a megaphone. Shafiq’s actions left the Metropolitan Police officer with a large laceration on his head, requiring two stitches.
The incident occurred during a peaceful demonstration in Whitehall on Saturday, where an estimated 100,000 protesters gathered, demanding a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict. Shafiq, a father of four from Walthamstow in east London, was among the protesters calling for solidarity with Palestine.
According to eyewitnesses, Shafiq ignored police orders and ended up behind the police cordon with a group of protesters. He pulled the megaphone to shoulder height and struck the police officer, causing a serious injury. District Judge Denis Brennan, presiding over the case, emphasized the honorable tradition of peaceful protest in the country and condemned Shafiq’s violent actions.
“This country has an honorable tradition of peaceful protest. What you did was assault a police constable who was on duty, causing him a serious injury,” said District Judge Brennan during the sentencing.
The injured police officer, who was rushed to the hospital, needed stitches to treat the large laceration inflicted by the assault. District Judge Brennan highlighted the potential for Shafiq’s actions to provoke a volatile reaction from the crowd, emphasizing the gravity of the offense.
Shafiq, a regular attendee of protests in the past, appeared at Highbury Magistrates Court wearing a T-shirt adorned with a Palestine flag and the words ‘love Palestine’ on the back. Apart from the jail sentence, he was also ordered to pay £200 in compensation to the injured officer.
The incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of peaceful expression of views during protests, emphasizing the need for demonstrators to respect law enforcement officers and adhere to their instructions to maintain public safety and order.