Revealed: Woman charged after spitting at Harrods security guard was of Arab origin

Dramatic footage has surfaced online showing a woman appearing to spit at a Harrods security officer before being chased and taken down outside the famous London department store. (Screenshot/Social Media)
Dramatic footage has surfaced online showing a woman appearing to spit at a Harrods security officer before being chased and taken down outside the famous London department store. (Screenshot/Social Media)
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Updated 05 June 2021

Revealed: Woman charged after spitting at Harrods security guard was of Arab origin

Dramatic footage has surfaced online showing a woman appearing to spit at a Harrods security officer before being chased and taken down outside the famous London department store. (Screenshot/Social Media)
  • Scuffle broke out between women and up to a dozen security personnel, who blocked them from re-entering the store

LONDON: A female shopper who was charged with common assault after spitting at a security guard at London’s high-end department store, Harrods, is Yusra Elmzouri, 20, of west London, Arab News can reveal. 

A Metropolitan Police statement given to Arab News confirmed the assailant, who is believed to be of Arab origin, was arrested on Thursday and charged on Friday.

She was bailed to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on July 2, the statement added.

A video surfaced online showing Elmzouri appearing to spit at a Harrods security officer before being chased and taken down outside the famous London department store.

The dramatic footage posted on social media showed a group of three women, who had been asked by security to leave the store for not wearing face masks, which are currently mandatory in all indoor public spaces in England, unless medically exempt under UK law, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The video was filmed by a passerby outside the store and begins with the guards escorting a visibly angry group of women out of the store onto the street, during which one of the women appears to kick one of the security guards.

It then shows a scuffle breaking out between the women and up to a dozen security personnel, who block them from re-entering the store.

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A railway station worker in Britain died from COVID-19 in May last year after she was spat at and coughed over by someone claiming to have the virus, her trade union said. Click here for more.

As the scuffle escalates, with security guards pushing the women away from the store entrance, one of the women jumps on the back of a bystander and spits in the face of one of the guards.

She then runs away and attempts to cross a nearby road, while the guard she spat at chases her, followed by other security officers.

She is caught, and then dragged to the floor in the middle of busy traffic and roughly held down by the guards.

Harrods is owned by the Qatar Investment Authority and is a popular destination for Arab tourists visiting the British capital, especially during the summer months.

“Harrods security was called following complaints of a group behaving aggressively within the store,” a Harrods statement sent to Arab News said. “Our security team is trained to protect those inside the store against any behaviour that may put our customers and employees at risk. 

“When security attempted to remove the individuals, they resisted with force and reacted with extremely aggressive behaviour, which included spitting at a security officer. 

“One of the individuals was later arrested and detained at the scene,” the spokesperson added.

Under UK law, spitting at a person deliberately constitutes an offense of assault.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, England and Wales’ Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill said anyone using COVID-19 to threaten emergency and essential workers, including through spitting and coughing, would face criminal charges.

Several people in the UK were jailed last year after being charged with spitting at supermarket workers, members of the ambulance service and police officers.


Man drives from Ohio hoping to help Haitian friend at border

Man drives from Ohio hoping to help Haitian friend at border
Updated 25 September 2021

Man drives from Ohio hoping to help Haitian friend at border

Man drives from Ohio hoping to help Haitian friend at border
  • Dave wore the bright safety vest so his friend Ruth would be able to spot him in the crowd when she arrived with her husband and 3-year-old daughter
  • “I feel like my friend is worth my time to come down and help,” he told AP on Friday

DEL RIO, Texas: As Haitian migrants stepped off a white US Border Patrol van in the Texas border city of Del Rio after learning they’d be allowed to stay in the country for now, a man in a neon yellow vest stood nearby and quietly surveyed them.
Some carried sleeping babies, and one toddler walked behind her mother wrapped in a silver heat blanket. As they passed by to be processed by a local nonprofit that provides migrants with basic essentials and helps them reach family in the US, many smiled — happy to be starting a new leg of their journey after a chaotic spell in a crowded camp near a border bridge that links Del Rio with Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.
Dave, who didn’t want to share his last name because he feared a backlash for trying to help people who entered the US illegally, didn’t see his friend Ruth in this group. But he wore the bright safety vest so she would be able to spot him in the crowd when she arrived with her husband and 3-year-old daughter.
“I feel like my friend is worth my time to come down and help,” he told The Associated Press on Friday.
On Tuesday, Dave set out from his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, and made the nearly 1,300-mile (2,092-kilometer) drive to Del Rio, where up to 15,000 migrants suddenly crossed in from Mexico this month, most of them Haitian and many seeking asylum.
The 64-year-old met Ruth over a decade ago during a Christian mission to Haiti. Over the years, Dave would send Ruth money for a little girl he met in an orphanage whom he’d promised himself he’d support. Ruth always made sure the girl had what she needed.
Last month, Ruth and her family left South America, where they briefly lived after leaving their impoverished Caribbean homeland, to try to make it to the United States. Dave told her he’d be there when they arrived to drive them to her sister’s house in Ohio.
“I just see it as an opportunity to serve somebody,” he said. “We have so much.”
The nonprofit, the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition, has received dozens of drop-offs from US Border Patrol agents since the sudden influx of migrants to Del Rio became the country’s most pressing immigration challenge. Its operations director, Tiffany Burrow, said the group processed more than 1,600 Haitian migrants from Monday through when the camp was completely cleared Friday, assisting them with travel and resettlement necessities.
This is nothing new for Burrow, who has watched Haitian migrants cross into Del Rio in smaller numbers since January. But this recent wave overwhelmed her small group.
“It’s a different volume. And the eyes of the world are on us this time,” Burrow told the AP.
As Dave waited Friday for the next bus to arrive, he shimmied a child seat into place in the back seat of his vehicle. It was for Ruth’s toddler and was the first thing he spotted when he stopped at a thrift store on his way out of Toledo. He viewed it as a little sign he was doing the right thing.
Ruth and her family had spent the past week at the bridge camp and Dave had been communicating with her through WhatsApp. But all communication stopped Thursday around noon, and he said Ruth’s sister in Ohio also hadn’t heard from her.
Still, Dave waited, scrolling through a list of “what ifs.” He wondered aloud if her phone died or if she was in a Border Patrol facility with strict rules about electronic devices. “I’m putting a lot of faith in my phone,” he said, laughing.
Like Dave, Dr. Pierre Moreau made the trip to Del Rio from Miami to help. A Haitian immigrant himself and US Navy veteran, he saw the images unfolding from the camp and booked a flight.
“That was devastating. My heart was crying,” Moreau said. “And I told my wife I’m coming. And she said go.”
Moreau didn’t have a plan — just a rental car full of toiletries and supplies he hoped to pass out to any migrants he came across.
“I’m concerned about my brothers and sisters. And I was concerned with the way they were treated,” he said.
Dave said he hates how politicized the border issue has become. He considers himself a supporter of former President Donald Trump but said he’s more complicated than a single label.
As he waited in his car, Dave gushed over how hard Ruth had worked as a nurse to get to the United States — a dream she’s held for over a decade. He said he knows she’ll do the same in the US and that all he’s doing is giving her and her small family a leg up.
“I help them with their first step,” Dave said. “And like a little child, next time you see them, they’ll be running.”
Every time a Border Patrol bus or van pulled up to the coalition, Dave and his yellow vest would cross the street. He waited as each migrant climbed out, hoping to see Ruth, and he even darted over to one woman thinking it was her. “That sounded just like Ruth’s voice,” he said.
As news broke Friday that the camp had been cleared, Dave still held out hope that she’d arrive. But 10 hours after he pulled up, the coalition announced it had received its last busload and that no more migrants would be arriving from the camp.
This wave, at least for now, was over for Del Rio. But Burrow said there will likely be others.
“Right now, we’re in a cycle,” she said. “We’re learning to work with it.”
Dave stood up from his folding chair and started walking back to his car. He still hadn’t heard anything from Ruth and he again speculated as to where she and her family might be, including that they could have been sent on a deportation flight back to Haiti.
He looked defeated but said he didn’t plan to drive back to Ohio until he heard from Ruth — not until he knew his friend was OK.
“I cringe when I hear the beep that it’s going to be the wrong message,” Dave said. “But I try to keep hoping. I don’t know what else I can do.”


Indian man on bail must wash women’s clothes for six months

Indian man on bail must wash women’s clothes for six months
Updated 24 September 2021

Indian man on bail must wash women’s clothes for six months

Indian man on bail must wash women’s clothes for six months
  • Lalan Kumar will have to buy detergent and other items needed to provide six months of free laundry services to about 2,000 women in the village
  • Kumar, who washes clothes for a living, was arrested in April on charges including attempted rape

PATNA: An Indian man accused of attempted rape has been given bail on condition that he wash and iron the clothes of all women in his village for six months.
Lalan Kumar, 20, will have to buy detergent and other items needed to provide six months of free laundry services to about 2,000 women in the village of Majhor in Bihar state, under the ruling made Wednesday.
Kumar, who washes clothes for a living, was arrested in April on charges including attempted rape, Santosh Kumar Singh, a police officer in Bihar’s Madhubani district, told AFP.
No date has been set for his trial.
“All the women in the village are happy with the court decision,” Nasima Khatoon, the head of the village council, told AFP.
“It is historic. It will boost respect for women and help to protect dignity,” added Khatoon, one of the village dignitaries who will monitor Kumar.
Women in the village said the order had made a positive impact by making crime against women a subject of discussion in their community.
“This is a remarkable step and a different kind of punishment that sends a message to society,” said Anjum Perween.
India’s rape laws were overhauled after a 2012 gang rape in New Delhi but the number of offenses remains high, with more than 28,000 rapes reported in 2020.
Police have long been accused of not doing enough to prevent violent crime and failing to bring sexual assault cases to court.


UK court jails blind Paralympian for gluing self to plane

UK court jails blind Paralympian for gluing self to plane
Updated 24 September 2021

UK court jails blind Paralympian for gluing self to plane

UK court jails blind Paralympian for gluing self to plane
  • James Brown, 56, climbed on top of a British Airways plane during an Extinction Rebellion protest at London City Airport and superglued his hand to the roof
  • London's Southwark Crown Court sentenced him to 12 months in prison for causing public nuisance

LONDON: A British court on Friday sentenced a former Paralympian gold medallist to a year in jail for gluing himself onto the roof of a plane at a climate protest.
James Brown, 56, was born in Northern Ireland and won two gold medals for Great Britain and a bronze for Ireland in cycling at the Paralympics. He is registered blind.
He climbed on top of a British Airways plane during an Extinction Rebellion protest at London City Airport and superglued his hand to the roof.
A judge at London’s Southwark Crown Court sentenced him to 12 months in prison after a jury found him guilty of causing a public nuisance.
Judge Gregory Perrins told Brown the sentence showed those “tempted to seriously disrupt the lives of ordinary members of the public in the way that you did and then seek to justify it in the name of protest” that “they will face serious consequences.”
Extinction Rebellion said he would spend at least six months behind bars, slamming the ruling as “a dangerous judgment for our right to free speech, our right to protest and for those who campaign on environmental issues.”
Lawyer Raj Chada, who acts for the group, said they would be appealing the sentence.
Alanna Byrne, of Extinction Rebellion UK, said fellow activists were “shocked and devastated” but called Brown “a hero to us all.”
Prosecutors said the protest action disrupted flights for more than 300 passengers, costing the airline around £40,000 ($55,000, 47,000 euros).
Brown was one of hundreds of activists who attempted to lay siege to the east London airport to protest against an expansion project.
The group’s colorful protests have attracted a mass following since it was formed by UK academics studying the effects of harmful carbon emissions on Earth.
It calls for the British government to take a more radical approach to reducing emissions.
Last month, Extinction Rebellion held a series of protests in the City of London financial district amid a heavy police presence.
An offshoot group, Insulate Britain, on Friday blocked access to the port of Dover, demanding the government step up action insulating homes.


Recently discovered pharaonic coffin arrives at Expo Dubai 2020

Recently discovered pharaonic coffin arrives at Expo Dubai 2020
Updated 24 September 2021

Recently discovered pharaonic coffin arrives at Expo Dubai 2020

Recently discovered pharaonic coffin arrives at Expo Dubai 2020
  • The wooden coffin of ancient Egyptian priest Psamtik was discovered in the country’s Saqqara Antiquities Area
  • Earlier, the pavilion received a collection of replicas of King Tutankhamun

DUBAI: An archeological Egyptian coffin has arrived in Egypt’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and will be displayed for the six-month period of the event, Emirates News Agency WAM reported.

The wooden coffin of ancient Egyptian priest Psamtik was discovered in the country’s Saqqara Antiquities Area, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said.

It is decorated with a floral collar and two falcon heads.

A drawing of sky goddess Nut also appears on the coffin where she spreads her wings and holds a feather in each hand as a symbol of right and justice. 

The coffin is also inscribed with offerings and speeches surrounded by two rows of gods. 

Earlier, the pavilion received a collection of replicas of King Tutankhamun, including his golden mask, sarcophagus, the special festive chair, and the golden king's throne.


Google flies the flag for Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day

Google flies the flag for Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day
Updated 23 September 2021

Google flies the flag for Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day

Google flies the flag for Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day

RIYADH: Search giant Google updated its logo with a doodle to mark Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day on Thursday.
The change featured a fluttering Saudi flag encased in a domed sky.
The mostly green design includes the company name in a slightly italicized font.
Google, the most popular search engine in the world, often changes its distinctive logo to commemorate special occasions.
Last year’s edition of the national day logo was similar in many respects, but there were minor tweaks.
The color of the flagpole went from last year’s gold to black, and the clouds now also have a more clearer outline. The typography was also different a year before, with the site name in a bolder font and without italicization.
This year Arab News is celebrating the Kingdom’s national day with Diriyah Gate Development Authority, and has produced a comprehensive deep dive into one of the most culturally significant landmarks of Saudi Arabia’s past and future.