Prevent Watch

The Anti-War Protest Case

Sector: Police
Date: December 2014
Gender: Male
Location: South Yorkshire

MM supported the government’s decision to go to war in Iraq 2003. He was enthusiastically supportive of the government’s armed forces. However, he became aware of a number of atrocities committed by British service personnel and his support for the war diminished. Overtime, he became anti-war and a self-confessed pacifist and performed a number of protests in a non-violent and peaceful manner, including flying the Iraqi flag to the Irish tri color flag.

A Prevent officer subsequently visited MM’s home and he was asked about why he was protesting and why he was flying these particular flags. Later on, MM was in the vicinity of an army recruitment centre raising awareness about the death of Baha Mousa at the hands of the British military. After the protest MM had another meeting with the Prevent officer who told MM it was because of his protests he would have to take steps to prevent him.

Prevent Watch documented the case and identified a number of issues. This case displays the political nature of Prevents implementation even before Prevent became a statutory duty. MM’s demonstrations were of concern rather than any possible pathways to committing violence. MM consistently told the Prevent officer he was anti-war and pro-peace. He told the officer that peace was the only way to stop conflict. None of the actions MM took displayed that he was prone to violence. The political nature of his protests and his views on war were enough to involve Prevent and he felt he was targeted because of the nature of his demonstrations. MM did not have further meetings with Prevent.

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