The only flag not welcome at the Royal Albert Hall.
Why is the Royal Albert Hall being so reticent in reporting to the police the crime of aggravated trespass allegedly committed by the anti-Israel protesters who disrupted a performance by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra on 1st September?
Without this there is no possibility of a prosecution.
Yet, Section 68 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 states:
A person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on land [F1…in the open air]… and, in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land [F2…in the open air]… , does there anything which is intended by him to have the effect—.
(a)of intimidating those persons or any of them so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,.
(b)of obstructing that activity, or.
(c)of disrupting that activity.
Note: “in the open air” has since been removed.
The police are claiming that the anti-Israel protesters were not trespassing or treated as trespassers, because they bought tickets and were not told by RAH security that they were trespassing at the time they forced out.
But, surely they became trespassers as soon as they were asked to leave and refused to do so and had to be forcibly removed. It is all there in the footage.
Additionally, the case law seems to support the notion that a person who is permitted to enter property for one purpose is a trespasser if he enters it for a different purpose.
And judging by the blogs of the anti-Israel protesters they knew they would not be allowed in if the staff on the door knew their true intentions:
“We were promised enhanced security, bag searches etc. but this was all bluff. My bag search was cursory, there were no spotter cards of disruptors and I had no difficulty whatsoever getting to my seat!” states one of the protesters on his blog.
“Unknown to the Proms organisers, the protesters had bought over 40 tickets in a variety of locations in the Royal Albert Hall, including boxes,” states the general press release of the protesters.
Most of the anti-Israel protesters have been identified and the support of the Royal Albert Hall is essential so the police can put the evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service who would then decide whether to take the matter to trial or not.
Four anti-Israel activists were recently convicted of aggravated trespass in similar circumstances when they entered the Ahava shop in Covent Garden, lay down on the floor and refused to move. The sole difference being that it was impossible for Ahava’s two female staff to move them out of the shop, whereas at the Royal Albert Hall the protesters were eventually forced out by security.
Surely, the Royal Albert Hall has a duty to report an alleged crime where one might have been committed, otherwise what is the point of this legislation?
Then there are the many people who paid exorbitant amounts for tickets only to have their enjoyment of the event ruined by the interruptions, the blame for which lies with the Royal Albert Hall who laid on scant security checks.
Will the RAH be giving refunds?
It was lucky that something worse did not occur on the night. Someone with more hostile intentions could easily have brought in a knife and run amok with it. There were no scanners and only my bag was searched.
Meanwhile, the police and Community Security Trust were stationed outside the RAH!
In fact apart from removing the anti-Israel activists the only other time RAH security was engaged was to remove someone holding up an Israeli flag on the night, while at the Last Night of the Proms last night hundreds of other flags were waved and Lang Lang, the Chinese pianist, played undisturbed despite China’s appalling human rights record.
The latter is proof, if any were needed, that many anti-Israel activists are motivated more by their own anti-Semitism than the defence of human rights.
Feel free to write to the The Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP or use the form http://www.royalalberthall.com/contact/default.aspx
You can ask for a refund if you were at the concert and also ask that the RAH consider taking action against the anti-Israel protesters.
Alternatively, you can email Chris Cotton, the Chief Executive of the RAH, and ask him why the RAH is turning a blind eye to alleged criminality: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, enjoy the flag waving throughout last night’s rendition of Jerusalem.