The High Court of Justice in London has ruled that U.K. police were wrong to block Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan from giving a speech at a London reparations event.
The ban was a breach of human rights, and now U.K. Metropolitan Police and local officials have to pay the NOI more than $100,000, the court ruled on May 10.
Farrakhan was banned from making the speech via live broadcast during an event scheduled to take place in August 2017 in Kennington Park, South London.
Members of the Nation of Islam had applied to Lambeth Council for a permit. The event, the 4th Africa International Day of Action, was approved but conditions were placed on the permit preventing Farrakhan from speaking.
Twitter users had plenty to say about the court decision.
“Patience and Power,” @LaraOyedele tweeted. “We have an inherently, institutionally racist @metpoliceuk & it is about time the law upheld OUR right to free speech. #blacklivesmatter#EnoughIsEnough#racismisreal Now we just need to sort out #Winrush!”
“That’s four years of denials. Four years of being told by Well meaning people, that’s just the way it is. #BLM,” codingForJustice @ezzye tweeted.
While some thought Farrakhan, 87, was banned for making anti-Semitic remarks in the past, the police told the court that the ban was due to the risk of counterprotesters. In the past, Farrakhan has referred to Jewish people as “Satanic,” among other things.
Following the ban, Abdul Hakeem Muhammad, the U.K. representative of the Nation of Islam, and 33 other attendees brought a claim against the police and council.
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“Those objections were purportedly based on concerns relating to public order, specifically disorder by those not associated with the event seeking to disrupt it,” Martin Forde, the attorney for claimants, told the court.
Farrakhan’s speech was going to be about reparations, according to Forde, who added, “This discourse has been ongoing and it was thought that he could contribute to it.”
In written arguments, Forde pointed out, “All of the claimants in this case are of Black African descent, as were most of the audience. Therefore, the topic of reparations is of considerable importance to many if not most of those who attended the event and more generally one of international consequence.”
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