Controversial plaque found missing from Brent park

The plaque has disappeared

The plaque has disappeared - Credit: LDRS

A controversial plaque unveiled next to a tree in a North West London park has mysteriously vanished days after a petition was launched calling for it to be taken down. 

The plaque, which honours the people of Deir Yassin, a village near Jerusalem where Palestinian Arabs were massacred by Zionist paramilitary groups in 1948, was placed in front of a newly-planted tree in Brent’s Gladstone Park. 

Organised by the Brent and Harrow Palestine Solidarity Campaign, it was planted on Land Day, March 30, which honours Palestinians killed during a protest in 1976. But a petition was launched by local resident Philip Alexander, who said it should be removed due to its “inflammatory political nature” and the fact the local community, including the park friends’ group, had not been consulted. 

He also took issue with the involvement of former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, who was suspended by the Labour Party in 2016 over allegations of antisemitism, and then quit the party while an investigation into these claims was taking place. 

Philip, who is standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate in the 2022 local elections, said: “Gladstone Park is a public space that should be welcoming for the whole community. It makes no sense for Brent Council to say they would not reject the installation on political grounds. 

“The council leadership’s decision to approve a group of disgraced ex-Labour members – who were investigated for alleged antisemitism – using the park as their personal message board, is itself a divisive political statement.”  

Since the petition was launched, the plaque has vanished. Philip said he thought the council might have removed it in response to the petition. But the council confirmed it had not taken the plaque down and had no intention of doing so. 

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A Brent Council spokesperson said: “Earlier this year, through its usual processes, the council approved a request by a local resident to plant a memorial tree and place a small plaque in Gladstone Park to mark Palestine Land Day. 

“We are an inclusive authority and do not reject requests like this on political grounds. We serve a number of diverse communities with different backgrounds and beliefs and we consider it important to be able to offer the same opportunity to all our residents.”