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Government challenged over arrest of street preacher

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The arrest of street preacher Oluwole on Saturday 23rd February outside Southgate Tube station prompted outrage on social media as the video quickly went viral.

Watch our video reconstruction of the arrest here.

Read how the police were caught out by evidence backing the street preachers account.

The arrest has now prompted questions in parliament. Theresa Villiers MP posed two written questions to the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

The first question reads:

“To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance he has provided to the police on street preachers; and what lessons have been learned from the arrest and subsequent release of Oluwole Ilesanmi in Enfield.”

The second question reads:

“To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the arrest and release of Oluwole Ilesanmi in Enfield, what steps he is taking to ensure that church groups can preach on the street.”

In response, Home Office Minister Nick Hurd said:

“The Government does not prevent individuals from following their religious beliefs or cultural traditions provided they do so within the law. The diversity of modern Britain is one of our strengths and many British people of different faiths follow religious codes and practices.

“The right to freedom of expression is a vital part of a democratic society. It is a long-standing tradition in this country that people are free to share their views with others.

“Decisions on arrests are an operational matter for the police working within the provisions of the legal framework set by Parliament.”

It is good to see the government defending freedom of expression on our streets. This amounts to a government defence of the right to preach on the streets.

It is disappointing to that the question about guidance to the police and lessons learnt was not answered. We hope that pressure from this incident and our petition to the Home Secretary will cause guidance to the police to be revised and lessons to be learnt.

 

Sign the petition

 

If you have not already, please sign our petition to the Home Secretary asking him to review the guidance to police officers regarding street preachers. Please share on social media and to your friends. Thousands have already signed, but many more would add to the pressure on the Home Secretary and the police.

 

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