Two arrested after Sheffield Gaza protest’s ‘Isis’ flag mix-up

An unrelated Gaza protest outside the town hall
An unrelated Gaza protest outside the town hall
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Two people were arrested after a pro-Palestinian demonstration sparked controversy around a flag that was mistaken for an extremist group’s.

Campaigners leafleting outside Tesco in Savile Street unfurled a black Muslim flag bearing the Islamic declaration of faith.

But it was mistaken by Kurdish youths for an Isis flag, the extremist militant group, which sparked a ‘brawl’.

Police were called and two people were arrested for public order offences.

Chairman of Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign Musheir El-Farra said the protest was unrelated to the one outside the town hall on the same day – August 9.

He said: “I am very saddened by what happened but I only knew about it after it happened because we were not there.

“A group of people who were unrelated to us went to Tesco to do some leafleting. Members of that group put the black flag up there.”

The black Islamic flag is similar to the Saudi Arabian flag, but black, whereas the Isis flag is distinguished by a white oval at the bottom.

Mr El-Farra said the group does not use the black Muslim flag at its protests in case it is misunderstood.

He added: “I heard it was meant as a peaceful leafleting but the Kurdish youth misunderstood the flag for the Isis flag, so they were up in arms.

“There was a brawl, shouting and swearing and the police came to split them up.”

Mr El-Farra said his group’s protest are focused on inclusiveness, adding: “We pride ourselves on being very inclusive. I open every rally by saying it’s everybody together – Muslims, Christians, Jews, believers, non-believers.”

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: “The organisers of the demonstration were pro-Palestinian and were flying the Palestinian flag and a black flag bearing the Islamic declaration of faith.

“This was mistaken for a flag representing the militant group Isis by some local Kurdish residents who took offence. The Gaza demonstrators were adamant no offence was meant. Overall, the demonstration was peaceful.”