Thousands sign petition supporting suspended pro-Palestine tube driver

Editorial credit: Antonio Batinic /

Over 60,000 people (at the time of writing) have signed an online petition defending the London Underground train driver who was suspended for leading chants of “Free Palestine” on the tube on Saturday.

The viral online petition lists a series of demands to Transport for London, including to “reconsider any disciplinary action taken against the London tube driver for expressing his support for the people of Palestine,” and to “ensure that freedom of expression and the right to express solidarity with humanitarian causes are upheld within the workplace.”

The petition organisers explained the reason behind their support for the embattled driver, saying: “His actions were an expression of his personal feelings about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and a plea for peace. Unfortunately, this act of empathy and solidarity has put his job at risk, as it has allegedly violated company guidelines or policies. It is vital to uphold the principles of freedom of expression, compassion, and empathy for people enduring conflict, irrespective of personal beliefs or affiliations.”

TfL announced the suspension of the unnamed tube train driver on Monday after footage went viral appearing to show the driver leading “Free Palestine” chants with passengers.

Video footage posted on social media platforms shows a driver using the PA system to lead chants. TfL said it had identified the driver responsible for the incident which occurred on Saturday, the day a huge pro-Palestine demonstration marched through central London, demanding an end to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

The train was packed with many pro-Palestine activists who joined in the chants.

Protest organisers say the number of people who marched for Palestine peaked at around 300,000 people.

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Finn Brennan, an organiser on London Underground for the train drivers’ union, Aslef, has been quoted saying: “We are aware that a Tube train driver has been suspended while an investigation takes place… The involvement of the police in this matter is a ridiculous overreaction to something that should clearly be dealt with internally by Transport for London in line with normal procedures.”

On the other hand, UK Security Minister, Tom Tugendhat, wrote in a post on X that “London’s tube’s are for everyone. Many will find this intimidating. @MayorofLondon has a duty to help all Londoners feel safe.”

The Israeli embassy also commented on the incident, saying: “It is deeply troubling to see such intolerance on London’s tubes, public transport should be a place of safety and inclusivity for all.”

Since the recent massive public mobilisation in support of Gaza began, allegations of suppression and unfair treatment of pro-Palestine activists have been widely circulating.

Footage allegedly showing an activist wearing a Palestine flag being arrested by police in Manchester went viral on October 11th.

This has raised fears among some activists of state-supported censorship targeting Palestine solidarity movements across the UK.

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