A Tube driver has apologised after leading a ‘free Palestine’ chant on the London Underground, leading to calls for him to be sacked.
The unnamed man tried to instigate a call and response with passengers on the Central line, chanting ‘free, free’ over the train’s speaker and encouraging replies of ‘Palestine’.
In a video shared on Twitter he is heard shouting: “So, as I feel part of it, kindly join me as we proceed to Bond Street… Louder, please, louder.”
The driver added that he wanted to join protests in London but was unable to get a day off.
“Free Free Palestine” @TfL London Underground Tube’s driver lead the passengers in a chant, he said I wanted to join the protest but couldn’t get the day off. #LondonStandsWithPalestine #Palestine #Israel #غزة_تستغيث #فلسطين_الان pic.twitter.com/62jx8xLtyz
— Farid Ahmed (Qureshi) (@FaridQureshi_UK) October 21, 2023
Transport for London has suspended the driver after complaints from anti-semitism groups. The driver now faces an uncertain future.
He wrote: “I would like to express my apology for the effect that my actions [had] on my customers and the wider community that day.
“It was never my intention to make anybody feel uncomfortable and I give you my unreserved apology for any offence that may have been caused.
“I'm committed to learning from this experience.”
Some passengers are seen in footage to be joining in with the chant, one which is popular at pro-Palestine marches.
But Jewish groups, some of whom were sent the apology by TfL, were unimpressed and said the apology doesn’t go far enough.
“His conduct was grossly unprofessional,” a statement sent to The Sun read.
"Imagine being a Jewish person [on the train] not only intimidated by demonstrators around you, but also in the knowledge that you might not be able to rely on the very TfL staff tasked with your safety.”
A TfL spokesperson said: “We can confirm that, following a thorough internal investigation in accordance with our agreed formal processes, disciplinary action has been taken with regard to the driver who made announcements on the Central line on 21 October last year.
"The driver has also written to faith groups that we have been engaging with since October to apologise for the announcements and for the impact they had on some customers travelling on the train and in the wider community. It is critically important to everyone at TfL that our network feels, and is, a safe and welcoming place for all Londoners, and we will do all we can to continue to ensure that.”