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Monday, Nov 30, 2020

Heckling of London mayor Sadiq Khan during protest condemned

Heckling of London mayor Sadiq Khan during protest condemned

Mayor abused as he walked back to City Hall during demonstration by black-cab drivers

London mayor Sadiq Khan heckled during protest – video

A video showing Sadiq Khan being aggressively heckled has attracted widespread condemnation.

The mayor of London was abused as he walked back towards his office in City Hall during a protest by London black-cab drivers.

During the 54-second clip, Khan can be seen walking away impassively as he is followed by a group shouting abuse at him, swearing and calling him a “hypocrite” and “the destroyer of London”.

Khan, the MP for Tooting before succeeding Boris Johnson as London mayor, continues to walk away as the group chase after him. They become increasingly aggressive and goad him to respond using a racial trope.

Last year, it was revealed that the Labour politician had to be given round-the-clock police protection after receiving a number of death threats. The measure was taken after City Hall referred 17 cases to the police in a three-month period with a further 237 separate threats made to Khan via social media.

In an interview at the time, Khan revealed that the “name-calling, trolling and threats to terrorism” had intensified since the 2016 EU referendum.

Khan, a practising Muslim, told the Times magazine: “It can’t be right that one of the consequences of me being the mayor of London and a Muslim in public life is that I have police protection.

“The referendum campaign allowed things to come to the surface and normalised things that should not be normalised.”

David Lammy, the shadow lord chancellor and Labour MP for Tottenham, condemned the video, which has been viewed 1.3m times.

Lammy tweeted: “In what world is it acceptable to speak to anyone like this while doing their job? No one in public or private life deserves this despicable abuse. Solidarity, Sadiq Khan.”

Piers Morgan joined in the condemnation, describing the clip as “absolutely repellent”. He said: “Whether you like him or not (I do), Sadiq Khan does not deserve this kind of mindless Neanderthal abuse. Just vile.”

Meanwhile, the London borough councillor Khayer Chowdhury, who reported the clip to the Metropolitan police, called for action, saying Khan suffered more abuse than any other politician in the country.

“When I see what he has to put up with it makes me feel awful and can understand why it would put anyone off going into public service,” said the Ilford councillor.

“Being an Asian politician we face problems on several scales anyway but then to be hounded as you are just walking into work is completely unacceptable.”

The clip, which was filmed on Thursday, was taken shortly after protesters had marched across London Bridge towards Bishopsgate holding banners that read “Khan you have blood on your hands” and “Islington residents say NO to forced road closures – we demand to be heard”.

A crowd then gathered outside Khan’s office chanting “Khan out”, protesting against the mayor’s green plans to make large areas of London car-free.

The Metropolitan police said they were investigating the incident. “We are aware of a video circulating on social media, which appears to show the mayor of London being verbally abused on Thursday 10 September outside City Hall,” a spokesperson said.

“We have received an allegation of crime, which is being investigated, and inquiries to assess the circumstances of the incident are ongoing.”


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