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Labour MP Station Vandalised After Gaza Vote

Labour’s Shadow Welsh secretary was “shocked” after she found her station had been vandalised after she failed to back an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.


Jo Stevens’ Cardiff office on November 17 in Albany Road was sprayed in red paint and covered in posters captioned “murder” accusing the Labour MP of having blood on her hands for abstaining to vote. 


Speaking to Sky News, Ms Stevens said: “I just feel angry, but I also feel frightened about it because since I've been elected, I've had my office attacked and vandalised from people from the far right when I was helping Syrian refugees in 2016, and now I've got the same thing from people on the far left.


“I want people to understand that what I want to see happen as quickly as possible, I think is what they want to see happen as quickly as possible.”


I absolutely support the right to protest, but what was done last night has gone way beyond that,” she said, in an interview with BBC Radio Wales Breakfast, adding: "If you have someone write murder across your door, it is intimidating.”


Expressing her concern for the safety of her team and constituents to BBC News and the Independent, Ms Stevens said: “I would have thought at the very least, that this individual would have had some understanding of the effect that this will have on my team”. 


“This is a workplace and my staff team and I, as well as my constituents who come to my office every day for help, should be able to do so in safety.”


According to BBC news, a member of Cardiff’s central anti-war group Adam Johannes, led a demonstration of 200 people down Albany Road outside her office: “We had a march down Albany Road, returned back and dispersed." Mr Johannes told the news outlet that protestors were asked to act “““peacefully and respectfully.”


Commenting on the vandalism, Mr Johannes said: "We don't feel our MP is representing the majority opinion in our constituency," adding, “I think we have to look at the bigger picture. After the vote... many people said they felt a sense of powerlessness.”


He explained that people are “seeing very catastrophic realities, emotions are running high."


Ms Stevens told the Independent that this was not an act of protest, but an act of criminal damage: “Unlike those involved in this so-called ‘vigil’ I don’t require them to agree with my view on how an urgent cessation of violence in Gaza and Israel can best be practically achieved to immediately alleviate innocent civilian suffering.


“I unequivocally support the right to protest. But this goes way beyond that. This is criminal damage. It is intimidation and incitement.”


Ms Stevens told Sky News that she held the criminals who vandalised her office responsible: “What has happened to me is the responsibility of the people who did those criminal acts”.


Liz Saville Roberts, MP for the Welsh party Plaid Cymru, spoke out in support of Ms Stevens, despite criticising her for abstaining.


 "Jo and I voted differently this week and I strongly disagree with Labour's stance… But attempts to intimidate elected representatives through vandalism and harassment are unacceptable and counterproductive."


South Wales police have confiscated several items relating to the investigation: “"a number of items have been seized for examination.


Other MPs have received abuse in response to their vote on a ceasefire in Gaza. Fellow Labour MP Naz Shah, who resigned over her party’s failure to call for a ceasefire, said that the vandalism to Ms Stevens was “appalling” in an interview with Times Radio.


 Ms Shah has also received abuse for her position on the ceasefire. She told police that she received “Islamophobic hatred” after she put forward her resignation.


In the interview, she said: “Clearly I’m concerned about all the people getting this vile abuse.” 

“I’m concerned for my staff. I’m concerned for every MP… right now who is getting the emails, the telephone messages, the abuse on telephone messages.

“All the people who are having to stay indoors because there are threats flying around and police are having to drive around their homes.

“It is worrying, it is frightening. And it is not a nice place for any MP, anybody who is on the receiving end of the abuse.”


Stevenson said that she abstained from voting for Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) proposed amendments King’s Speech to call for a cease-fire in Gaza, because “it was a political tactic that was done to create division, and it has succeeded in doing that.”


An SNP spokesperson, according to Sky News, said that their party will "continue to press the UK government to join the UN and international community in calling for one".


"Our amendment was backed by MPs from across political parties, trade unions and human rights groups - and a ceasefire has the support of the majority of the public," they said.


"Thousands of innocent children and civilians have already been killed in Israel and Gaza - in clear breach of international law.


"It is essential that the UK joins the growing international momentum for a cease-fire in order to save lives and uphold international law."

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