Sheffield Town hall protest: Watch protester climb onto Town Hall roof and take down Israeli flag
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Police are investigating after a man climbed onto the roof of Sheffield Town Hall and pulled down an Israeli flag.
A crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters had gathered outside the front of the building yesterday evening, after the Israeli flag had been flown following the death of Israelis in an attack by Hamas earlier this week.
Israel has since launched attacks on the Gaza strip.
A video which has gone viral online, shared by Sheffield Tribune, shows a man inching his way across the ridge at the top of the roof of the Town Hall, before lowering the Israeli flag. It then shows him removing the flag, and throwing it down to the street below.
South Yorkshire Police officers were deplpyed to the scene, and have issued a statement.
It said officers attended reports of public order at the Town Hall on Sheaf Street in Sheffield on Tuesday evening at around 6.20pm.
The force added: "It is believed that two men climbed onto the roof of the building and removed the flag that was being flown.
During officers’ attendance and their attempts to disperse the crowds, minor disorder led to the two suspects fleeing the scene.
"Enquiries are ongoing to identify those involved and anyone with information is asked to report online, via live chat or by calling 101 quoting incident number 501 of 10 October 2023."
Sheffield Council has now issued a statement calling for peace..
A joint statement has been issued by Coun Tom Hunt, Leader of the Council; Coun Shaffaq Mohamed, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group; and Coun Douglas Johnson, Leader of the Green Group.
It states: "Sheffield is a global city – a City of Sanctuary – made up of many communities and faiths. We condemn all acts of terror, the escalating violence and appalling attacks on civilians in Israel. Terrorism can never be justified. Our thoughts are with all those affected, including here in the UK. We call for peace and an end to attacks on innocent men, women and children in Israel and Palestine."
The council said a number of individuals scaled Sheffield Town Hall and removed the Israel flag, replacing it with the flag of Palestine. As originally planned, at 8pm yesterday, the Union flag was put back in place.
The Israel flag was handed back to Sheffield City Council officials, not destroyed as some had suggested on social media.
A full review of the incident will take place by Sheffield City Council and the authority, which is working with South Yorkshire Police, will look at the security measures that were in place.
There has been some criticism on social media of Sheffield Council for having flown the Israeli flag, with comments made on Facebook and Twitter.
South Yorkshire's metropolitan mayor Oliver Coppard has now also issued a statement. He said: ""Often politics is complex. Sometimes it is not. The politics of the Middle East are often the most complex of all. But what happened on Saturday in Israel was not complex.
"It was an unforgivable act of terrorism by Hamas, inspired by an antisemitic ideology, targeting innocent people simply going about their lives: families slaughtered, children and pensioners taken captive, young people at a music festival gunned down.
"We do not, we cannot, do anything other than condemn those acts unequivocally. The murder of innocent people is considered a crime by people of all faiths and of none. It’s therefore not just right but required for us to show our support for the people who have faced such brutal acts of terror.
"The flag of Israel being pulled down last night in Sheffield and Rotherham does not reflect the values of the region I know. We are a place of compassion, a place that supports and respects our minority communities, and a place where we respect each other.
"Over the coming days I will be working with our faith and community leaders, the Community Security Trust and the police, to both reassure and bring together our communities, and to help us move forward. We will do so in solidarity with the people of Israel, and those at risk in Gaza, those grieving, worried for their loved ones, and those scared about what is to come."