Three pro-Palestinian protesters deny committing terrorism offences at London rally

LONDON (Reuters) – Three protesters appeared in a British court on Friday and pleaded not guilty to terrorism offences after displaying allegedly pro-Hamas imagery at a London demonstration.

Heba Alhayek, 29, Pauline Ankunda, 26, and Noimutu Olayinka Taiwo, 27, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court charged with displaying an article at an Oct. 14 protest which would arouse reasonable suspicion they supported Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation in Britain.

The trio each entered not guilty pleas to one count under the Terrorism Act and will stand trial at the same court in February.

Prosecutor Mark Luckett said there was a “clear and unique association between the image of a paraglider”, which some Hamas fighters used in the deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7, and the proscribed group.

He added that displaying an item associated with the Hamas attacks, particularly at a pro-Palestinian demonstration, “glorifies the actions of the group by celebrating the unique, successful tactic used by them”.

Their appearance in court on Friday comes ahead of a planned pro-Palestinian demonstration on Saturday, the latest such protest in London since the Hamas attack on Israel last month and Israel’s bombardment of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

(Reporting by Sam Tobin; Editing by Toby Chopra)