Prevent Watch

Novara Media: Student referred to Prevent for ‘river to the sea’ tweet

river to the sea palestine activism prevent duty uk

After a student is referred to Prevent for a ‘river to the sea’ tweet, that had one retweet, Rivkah Brown writes that the crackdown on Palestinian activism in the UK has become a farce.

On Friday 19 November, Tuğba İyigün was home studying when she heard a knock at the door. It was two officers from the North Yorkshire police, looking bashful.

“I feel a bit silly being here, to be honest with you,” one of them told her. “I don’t believe that you’re a terrorist.”

The officers had been sent to speak to İyigün about a tweet she had posted on X/Twitter two weeks earlier.

The tweet, which included the widely-used Palestinian liberation slogan “From the river to the sea”, had prompted İyigün’s referral to Prevent, which is part of the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy.

The incident, says İyigün, reminds her of the kind of repression that drove her out of her home country of Turkey. A former journalist, she fled in 2005 after she and her partner were violently targeted by the authoritarian regime.

“My first reaction to [the police officers] when they talked about this tweet was ‘Are we in China or in Turkey? Is it a dictatorship? You’re coming here and talking about tweets.’”

Posted on 4 November, İyigün’s tweet features a video of a pro-Palestine demo held at the University of York, where she is a mature student of social and political sciences.

“From the river to the sea, #Palestine will be free!” the tweet read. “This was the probably the biggest Pro-Palestine rally in #York so far. ✊”

At the time of writing, the tweet had six likes and one retweet.

Read more on Novara Media.

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