London train driver sacked for making ‘free Palestinian’ chant

A London train driver who led a chant of “free, free Palestine” while on duty has been suspended, UK’s The Guardian reported on Tuesday. The Transport for London (TFL) is investigating the incident that happened on Saturday when about 100,000 protesters took part in a pro-Palestine demonstration, demanding an end to Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza.

The video of the incident has gone viral on social media in which the driver can be heard asking commuters to join him in chanting “free, free Palestine” slogan. The driver said “free, free” to which passengers responded “Palestine”.

TFL’s chief operating officer Glynn Barton said his department was thoroughly investigating the footage appearing to show a tube driver misusing the PA system and leading chants on a Central line train on Saturday. “A driver has now been identified and suspended whilst we continue to fully investigate the incident in line with our policies and procedures.”

The British Transport Police’s assistant chief constable said the force was aware of footage circulating on social media which suggested chants were led by a driver of a train in London earlier.

Paul Scully, Minister for London, slammed the driver for the chant and said train staff should “focus on the day job” and warned against stoking tension in the capital. He said at a time when there was not enough emphasis on the difference between the horrific terrorist attacks by Hamas and the legitimate concerns of Palestinians in Gaza, it was really important that “Londoners don’t stoke the tension in our capital where Jews live peacefully alongside Muslims”.

The security minister, Tom Tugendhat, wrote on X: “London’s tube’s are for everyone. Many will find this intimidating.” He said the Mayor of London has a duty to help all Londoners feel safe.

The Israeli embassy in the UK reacted to Tugendhat’s tweet and said that it was “deeply troubling” to see such intolerance on London’s trains. “Public transport should be a place of safety and inclusivity for all.”

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has backed Israel in its fight against Hamas, which carried out the deadliest attack in years on the Jewish nation. Last week, Sunak visited Israel to express solidarity. 

In a speech before the House of Commons, Sunak on Monday said the violence against Israel did not end on October 7. “Hundreds of rockets are launched at their towns and cities every day. And Hamas still holds around 200 hostages, including British citizens.”

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