Council Statement on Palestinian Flags

New Town Hall opened

Tower Hamlets Town Hall

A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council said:

“Tower Hamlets is one of the most diverse places in the country and we have seen Palestinian flags put up by residents on private and public land during the recent Middle East conflict.

“We monitor community tensions closely with our Tension Monitoring Group (TMG) which shares information on sources of potential tension for community groups within the borough. The TMG includes the police and a broad range of community organisations including our Inter Faith Forum with representatives from both Muslim and Jewish community organisations.

“Until now, the Council has decided not to remove the flags because we believe it could destabilise community cohesion. Our decision has been informed in liaison with the Metropolitan Police and the TMG. This does not include graffiti, posters or flags promoting hate which are removed immediately if they appear. We realise this is a local decision for each borough.

“However, the increasing focus on the issue, coupled with some unfair and divisive sentiment about our borough and its communities in recent weeks, has meant that the issue of flags has become part of a wider negative discourse used by some to misrepresent Tower Hamlets and our residents.

“Our overriding responsibility has always been, and remains, to support our communities, and we are concerned about the effect on them.

“As a result, the Council has decided to begin the removal of flags from council infrastructure.

“To ensure that this is done as sensitively as possible and to minimise the potential for destabilising community cohesion, this will be done with careful consideration of community tension going forward.

“We are proud to be a microcosm of a global city and our recent Residents Survey showed that 87% of people get on well with one another. That is even more remarkable when you add in that Tower Hamlets is the most densely populated place in the country.”

Notes to Editors

  • Tower Hamlets champions its No Place for Hate campaign which promotes respect for all religions and cultures, equality and community cohesion.
  • You can find out more about Tower Hamlets by visiting our TH_IS place campaign website
Posted on Wednesday 13th March 2024