‘I just want to bring love and peace to the public’: ‘Humiliated’ Christian busker wrongly told by police that she’s ‘not allowed’ to sing religious songs accuses ‘bullying’ cop of breaching human rights – and vows ‘I’ll continue to do what I do’

‘I just want to bring love and peace to the public’: ‘Humiliated’ Christian busker wrongly told by police that she’s ‘not allowed’ to sing religious songs accuses ‘bullying’ cop of breaching human rights – and vows ‘I’ll continue to do what I do’

A Christian singer has revealed she felt ‘humiliated’, ‘unhappy’ and ‘bullied’ after a particular constable wrongly mentioned she couldn’t ‘sing church songs exterior of church grounds’.

Harmonie London, 20, additionally accused Metropolitan Police volunteer officer Maya Hadzhipetkova of breaching her human proper to freedom of expression and faith.

In an unique interview with MailOnline at the moment, Harmonie instructed how the officer had threatened to grab her keyboard and audio system if she didn’t cease singing – having already carried out Wonderful Grace and the up to date track Goodness of God.

It comes as Scotland Yard continues to analyze Ms Hadzhipetkova and evaluate body-worn footage of the stunning incident on Oxford Avenue in Central London final Sunday. The Met has claimed the row was over a ‘particular bylaw associated to busking’ – whereas Harmonie argues that she was not ‘busking’, however as a substitute ‘sharing the gospel’.

After telling the singer she couldn’t carry out, Ms Hadzhipetkova caught her tongue out on the digicam. Her actions drew widespread condemnation – together with from ex-Conservative minister Ann Widdecombe who mentioned ‘some folks have gotten an issue on this nation with Christianity which they do not seem to have with different faiths’.

There are not any legal guidelines towards singing on pavements, Christian or in any other case – solely council bylaws regarding having a busking licence and never blocking roads – and Harmonie mentioned the incident breached her article 9 rights to freedom of faith.

A bit of the extraordinary change as onlookers watched on was shared on Instagram by Harmonie – who has vowed to proceed enjoying and singing. Again out on Oxford Avenue at the moment, she mentioned she needed to ‘carry love and peace to the general public’. 

Anti-crime campaigner Norman Brennan condemned the video as ‘not look’; Christian Concern’s Andrea Williams mentioned it was ‘stunning’; and former Residence Workplace particular adviser Claire Pearsall urged the police to ‘go and cope with precise crime’.

Harmonie mentioned she has beforehand been visited by Jimmy Choo, Romeo Beckham and Rio Ferdinand – and approached by Jay-Z and Cardi B in addition to Sony Music.

The Met mentioned: ‘We’re reviewing physique worn video of this interplay – it is greater than 40 minutes lengthy. On the coronary heart of this can be a particular by-law associated to busking. The officer is aware of she might have dealt with this in another way and is chatting with her supervisor.’

Detectives added that they had been ‘working to grasp the context by which these feedback had been made’ – but in addition condemned a number of the ‘unacceptable’ posts on social media about Ms Hadzhipetkova which it described as ‘private and hurtful’.

Christian singer Harmonie London is again out on Oxford Avenue in London enjoying at the moment

Harmonie London is playing Christian music on Oxford Street in London again today

Harmonie London is enjoying Christian music on Oxford Avenue in London once more at the moment

People watch and give money to Harmonie London as she performs on Oxford Street today

Individuals watch and provides cash to Harmonie London as she performs on Oxford Avenue at the moment

Gospel singer Harmonie London was stopped by officer Maya Hadzhipetkova on Oxford Street

Gospel singer Harmonie London was stopped by officer Maya Hadzhipetkova on Oxford Avenue 

At the end of the video the officer stuck her tongue out at the singer as she continued filming

On the finish of the video the officer caught her tongue out on the singer as she continued filming

Harmonie London frequently performs worship music to passing consumers on Oxford Avenue and has greater than 300,000 subscribers on YouTube.

Is it unlawful to sing Christian songs exterior of church grounds? 

There isn’t any regulation in England and Wales towards singing songs on pavements, whether or not Christian or in any other case.

The volunteer police officer was subsequently fallacious to counsel Harmonie London couldn’t sing ‘church songs exterior of church grounds’.

There are council bylaws regarding having a busking licence and never blocking roads – which might have been what confused the officer.

The Metropolitan Police has claimed the disagreement was over a ‘particular bylaw associated to busking’.

Busking is just not unlawful in England and Wales however there could also be sure byelaws or guidelines imposed by councils, resembling not making an excessive amount of noise.

Singers additionally might to instructed to keep away from blocking pavements, not displaying notices asking for fee and solely busking in sure components of a city or for a set time frame.

The Westminster Metropolis Council coverage for Oxford Avenue is that it’s among the many busking and avenue leisure regulated areas of the West Finish.

Coverage states that there’s a ‘gentle contact licensing scheme’ relevant within the space, which implies anybody will ‘solely be capable to busk in designated pitches’.

Additionally they want to use for a licence to carry out, hold to phrases and situations of the designated pitches, and abide by the situations of their licence.

However she was stopped on Sunday by Ms Hadzhipetkova and instructed: ‘No miss, you are not allowed to sing church songs exterior of church grounds, by the way in which.’

As onlookers watched and filmed exterior the John Lewis retailer, Harmonie protested her innocence to the officer, saying: ‘You might be, you’re (in a position to sing church songs).’

However Ms Hadzhipetkova continued to insist that Harmonie couldn’t sing ‘exterior of church grounds until you could have been authorised by the church to do these form of songs’.

Harmonie mentioned ‘that is a load of garbage, you are allowed’ – however the officer then walked away and one other mentioned: ‘She’s not saying something anymore, thanks in your time.’

The singer mentioned: ‘Are you saying that you do not care in regards to the Human Rights Act?’

She then accused Ms Hadzhipetkova of ‘laughing’ whereas she was strolling away. The officer then caught her tongue out.

In a later video, Harmonie quoted Article 9 of the Human Rights Act 1998 which protects somebody’s proper to freedom of thought, perception and faith.

Chatting with MailOnline at the moment in regards to the incident, Harmonie – who lives in North London – mentioned she had been singing John Newton’s Wonderful Grace and Goodness of God – a up to date track by Bethel Music launched in 2019 – and there ‘wasn’t any sort of grievance or noise nuisance’.

Harmonie mentioned Oxford Avenue is manned by safety, and if any of the companies have an issue they’ll contact a workforce who would then ask to maneuver her on, however ‘there was no grievance’.

She mentioned that earlier than the video was filmed, Ms Hadzhipetkova had ‘approached me earlier than, harassing me, and I defined to her that it is freedom of faith, article 9 – I had my human proper to sing the gospel, it is not the identical as busking’.

She continued: ‘I am truly sharing the gospel. She went off however she was very argumentative. She got here again, she actually marched as much as me, stood in entrance of me and mentioned cease your music now. She actually laughed at my human rights.

‘She wasn’t . She acknowledged, she knew, and one other officer acknowledged that you simply do have freedom of faith and to specific your self. 

Christian singer Harmonie London is back out on Oxford Street in London playing today

Christian singer Harmonie London is again out on Oxford Avenue in London enjoying at the moment

People watch and film singer Harmonie London as she performs on Oxford Street today

Individuals watch and movie singer Harmonie London as she performs on Oxford Avenue at the moment

Christian singer Harmonie London is playing on Oxford Street in London again today

Christian singer Harmonie London is enjoying on Oxford Avenue in London once more at the moment

A woman knees on the pavement in worship during the singing by Harmonie London today

A girl knees on the pavement in worship in the course of the singing by Harmonie London at the moment

‘To be trustworthy, I sing gospel to glorify God. I am simply actually following the Bible, sharing the Good Information. It is simply a possibility to witness to non-believers as effectively.

‘I do not method folks. I do not power folks to pay attention. I sing they usually can select to pay attention – and if they do not, they’ll select to maneuver on. A giant crowd fashioned, they had been actually begging the police to maneuver me on.’

She mentioned she handed them paperwork printed from the Christian Concern web site which said her authorized rights to carry out, however the police ‘did not care’.

She added: ‘I packed my stuff. I did not need to argue with them. They weren’t excited about something I needed to say. Once I talked about the human rights, that is when she caught her tongue out.

‘She acknowledged it, however to them it does not matter. It was a really controlling setting. One other officer was making jokes saying ‘I will go and do some crime then, catch some criminals’ – attempting to make a joke of it.

‘A person mentioned one thing alongside the strains of, ‘there is a girl over there being robbed and also you’re right here’. All people was upset.’

She claimed one other girl mentioned: ‘It is a Christian nation’.

Requested how the incident made her really feel, Harmonie mentioned: ‘I simply felt very upset by the state of affairs. It was fairly humiliating. I felt downcast and unhappy. Even after I packed up she stood there saying ‘are you going’?

‘She did not even need me to face on the pavement. She was bullying me. She was form of laughing, form of like ‘Hey, I am on this highly effective place’. It was very intimidating.

‘I am 20, I am a quiet individual. Though I sing I do not actually like consideration and that is not the type of consideration I search. I felt very humiliated and small. I felt like my human rights did not matter, particularly when she was saying that ‘you possibly can’t sing church music’.

The officer told her that 'you're not allowed to sing church songs outside of church grounds'

The officer instructed her that ‘you are not allowed to sing church songs exterior of church grounds’

Ms Hadzhipetkova then walked away along Oxford Street as the singer continued to film her

Ms Hadzhipetkova then walked away alongside Oxford Avenue because the singer continued to movie her

‘That they had a lot energy that they may create their very own legal guidelines. It was virtually like you do not care whether or not I’ve human rights. When a police officer is telling you that, and threatening to take your tools… an enormous crowd gathered to guard me.’

She added that the Bible encourages folks to ‘sing God’s praises’ and that ‘I’ll proceed to do what I do.’

Harmonie additionally claimed that Ms Hadzhipetkova ‘threatened to take my tools’ and mentioned she would ‘seize it’.

She continued: ‘Then I believed to myself, what am I going to do? My tools may be very costly, Yamaha has given me the piano and AER has given me the audio system, they’re value about £3,000.

‘Once I do my gospel, I do not make that a lot cash. I simply make sufficient to cowl congestion cost, petrol, possibly some meals, after which I am attempting to report in a studio as a result of I am attempting to carry out my very own gospel album.

‘My tools’s been given to me by these large names as a result of they take pleasure in what I do.’

She added that any council bylaws regarding busking ‘do not apply to freedom of expression, it is a human proper’.

Harmonie continued: ‘On the finish of the day I am not there to upset folks and trigger a nuisance. I typically go there for 30, 40 minutes, sing gospel music, which is my selection of music.

People watch and give money to Harmonie London as she performs on Oxford Street today

Individuals watch and provides cash to Harmonie London as she performs on Oxford Avenue at the moment

Harmonie London sets up her equipment this afternoon as she performs on Oxford Street

Harmonie London units up her tools this afternoon as she performs on Oxford Avenue

Christian singer Harmonie London is playing on Oxford Street in London again today

Christian singer Harmonie London is enjoying on Oxford Avenue in London once more at the moment

Harmonie London performs on Oxford Street today, two days after being confronted by police

Harmonie London performs on Oxford Avenue at the moment, two days after being confronted by police

‘Even a Muslim girl wrote on TikTok: ‘I am Muslim and I need you to sing this louder’. I wasn’t inflicting anyone any bother or any offence. No companies referred to as them.’

Harmonie mentioned she had been performing Christian music for the previous 18 months, including: ‘I simply needed to do the music that is near my coronary heart, that I determine with, that is near me as an individual. It is music that I resonate with.’

She added that she had been performing because the age of 14 however used to sing songs by secular artists resembling Ed Sheeran and Adele.

Harmonie additionally confirmed that she had by no means had such bother earlier than – and one police officer even gave her cash, saying ‘do not hand over, hold singing’.

She continued: ‘All people enjoys my singing, Jimmy Choo got here to see me and David Beckham’s son Romeo Beckham got here to see me, Rio Ferdinand got here to see me.

‘There’s fairly a couple of those that flip up. I get plenty of People contacting me. The gospel part of Sony in America desires to signal me. I have been invited to America with Jay-Z. I have been approached by Cardi-B.

‘In the intervening time I am simply constructing my music and remaining unbiased as a result of I do not need to be signed and obligated into offers. On TikTok I’ve obtained 531,000 followers. My most up-to-date submit on Instagram reached 28million views.

Harmonie has mentioned that she is just not ‘busking’, however as a substitute ‘sharing the gospel’ when she sings

‘Individuals actually take pleasure in it. I am not there to trigger offence or upset to the general public. It is simply to carry love and peace to the general public. I get a whole bunch of messages, folks saying I desire this to church, I went to church due to this. Persons are writing plenty of issues.’

She added that she didn’t need to name for any particular motion towards the police officer.

Ms Hadzhipetkova beforehand lived in Bulgaria earlier than transferring to Cyprus in 2009 the place she lived for 5 years earlier than heading to the UK, in accordance with her LinkedIn.

Since transferring to London she has labored as for Costa Espresso, All Bar One and as a pub supervisor on the Black Lion in Kilburn in North West London.

Pictures on her Fb web page confirmed how she has visited Dubai, Egypt, Paris, Lisbon and Amsterdam, and as soon as went on a highway journey down the US West Coast.

Amongst these hitting out on the video was former Conservative minister Ann Widdecombe, who referred to as for the officer to be ‘struck off from the voluntary power’.

She instructed GB Information: ‘She actually has obtained the regulation fully fallacious and he or she was clearly having fun with herself reasonably an excessive amount of, attempting to boss this girl round.

‘And there’s no foundation in any respect for saying you possibly can’t sing. I might stroll down the road singing Onward Christian Troopers and I’d be committing no offence in any respect.’

Chatting with Premier Christian Radio’s Inspirational Breakfast at the moment, Ms Widdecombe was requested to substantiate there isn’t a regulation forbidding Christian songs being sung exterior church grounds.

She mentioned: ‘No, completely not. No. If there have been, the Salvation Military would not be capable to carry out on the street. No, after all not.’

People watch and film singer Harmonie London as she performs on Oxford Street today

Individuals watch and movie singer Harmonie London as she performs on Oxford Avenue at the moment 

Ms Widdecombe continued: ‘I feel they need to take very agency motion towards this particular person, not least for sticking her tongue out, which was a gesture of contempt, not skilled. And clearly, she does not actually know the regulation, definitely does not seem to know the regulation.

‘I’d have thought it wasn’t needed for the police to grasp the context. They have the video, they’ll see what she mentioned now, is what she mentioned proper or not? And if it is fallacious, then they need to take motion.’

Requested whether or not it illustrated a wider level as to what’s an acceptable pure expression of religion, Ms Widdecombe mentioned: ‘There should not be any confusion. Clearly there are limits. And for instance, in the event you had a bunch of Christians standing exterior a mosque intentionally singing Christian hymns, that is likely to be thought-about provocative. 

‘However merely to be singing a Christian track on the street – folks sing songs on the street on a regular basis. They are often faith-based, they are often simply atypical rock n roll – does not matter.

‘I feel the purpose actually being illustrated is a few folks have gotten an issue on this nation with Christianity which they do not seem to have with different faiths. And I simply suppose it is time that they learnt that Christianity is a part of variety, not excluded from it.’

Norman Brennan, a former police officer and anti-crime campaigner, additionally tweeted: ‘Of us, this isn’t look. A few of us try onerous to assist policing get again public misplaced assist respect and confidence and this doesn’t assist.’

And Andrea Williams, chief government of the Christian Concern marketing campaign group, instructed MailOnline: ‘One in all my favorite issues as I commute to work is to listen to Harmonie’s lovely worship.

‘She blesses tens of 1000’s of individuals in the identical manner and brings concord to the streets. We’d like extra of this, not much less. It’s stunning that she has been handled like this.’

Ms Williams added: ‘There may be nothing unlawful about Harmonie singing worship songs on Oxford Avenue. Hundreds of individuals cease to hearken to her and the message of hope she result in the excellent news of Jesus. 

‘The officer confirmed a complete lack of expertise of the regulation and the human proper protections set out within the Human Rights Act 1998 the place Harmonie’s freedom to specific her religion on the streets is clearly protected.’

Former Metropolitan Police detective Peter Bleksley additionally commented on the video, tweeting: ‘Lawless Britain. The girl in uniform that’s…’

And former Residence Workplace particular adviser Claire Pearsall instructed TalkTV: ‘Actually ought to the police be going round telling folks they can not sing, they can not pray, they can not suppose one thing? Why do not they go and cope with precise crime?’

Nonetheless, Ms Hadzhipetkova discovered assist from former Met Police officer Raj Kohli, who tweeted: ‘I’m not certain it deserves the pile on it deserves. She made a mistake across the regulation and was unprofessional with sticking her tongue out. However she volunteers her time to be a police officer and deserves kudos for that.’

People watch and film singer Harmonie London as she performs on Oxford Street today

Individuals watch and movie singer Harmonie London as she performs on Oxford Avenue at the moment 

Nonetheless, Mr Bleksley responded to this, tweeting: ‘Right here we go people; lately retired senior police officer, urges us to not submit about an ignorant and impolite particular constable, as a result of she’s a volunteer. So there you could have it, clear as day, how they again one another up, even after they act like rubbish. No surprise there is no respect.’ 

Harmonie London has turn out to be a well-liked Christian avenue singer lately and now has practically 300,000 followers on every of Instagram and YouTube.

A few of her movies have attracted greater than 4 million views. Her newest clip posted on Monday was entitled: ‘Unpaid Volunteer Officer Does not Like Gospel Songs.’

The caption for the clip, posted at about 6pm, mentioned: ‘Particular constables are volunteer cops who make investments their free time to make an actual distinction to our metropolis. You’re going to get an incredible quantity of pleasure from giving again to the group.’

Harmonie’s clip of the confrontation has up to now attracted greater than 5,000 likes and 1,500 feedback. MailOnline has contacted Ms Hadzhipetkova for remark.

In a sequence of tweets yesterday, the Met initially mentioned at 12.14pm: ‘This was filmed in Oxford Avenue, Westminster, over the weekend. We’re working to grasp the context by which these feedback had been made. We are going to replace as quickly as we will.’

In a second replace at 2.32pm, the Met added: ‘We’re reviewing physique worn video of this interplay – it is greater than 40mins lengthy. On the coronary heart of this can be a particular by-law associated to busking. The officer is aware of she might have dealt with this in another way and is chatting with her supervisor.’

It additionally mentioned in an connected submit: ‘We’re conscious of serious social media commentary. Among the feedback are private and hurtful. That is unacceptable.’

Westminster Metropolis Council consists of the Oxford Avenue space amongst its busking and avenue leisure regulated zones of the West Finish. 

Coverage states that there’s a ‘gentle contact licensing scheme’ relevant within the space, which implies anybody will ‘solely be capable to busk in designated pitches’.

Harmonie London often performs worship music to shoppers in London (pictured today)

Harmonie London typically performs worship music to consumers in London (pictured at the moment)

Additionally they want to use for a licence to carry out, hold to phrases and situations of the designated pitches, and abide by the situations of their licence.

Busking is just not unlawful in England and Wales however there could also be sure byelaws or guidelines imposed by particular person councils, resembling not making an excessive amount of noise.

Singers additionally might to instructed to keep away from blocking pavements, not displaying notices asking for fee and solely busking in sure components of a city or for a set time frame.

Particular constables are volunteer officers who’ve the identical powers as common officers and work at the very least 200 hours yearly, equating to 16 hours per thirty days.

‘Specials’ are primarily based on one of many 12 fundamental command models throughout the 32 London boroughs and in addition put on the identical uniform as common officers.

Their duties embody responding to 999 calls, foot and car patrols, tackling delinquent behaviour, highway security initiatives and house-to-house enquiries.

People watch and film singer Harmonie London as she performs on Oxford Street today

Individuals watch and movie singer Harmonie London as she performs on Oxford Avenue at the moment 

Additionally they current proof in court docket, assist police occasions and participate in ‘hotspot’ operations to sort out underage ingesting, felony injury and public dysfunction.

These concerned – who usually have a full or part-time job as effectively – can profit from free journey inside London and a reduction on council tax inside Better London.

Well-known specials embody the broadcaster and mannequin Penny Lancaster, who’s married to singer Rod Stewart, and volunteers with the Metropolis of London Police.

Different officers have been criticised for heavy-handed policing of buskers lately – together with one in 2021 left lined in blood as he was held to the bottom by 5 officers following an obvious row over performing in public in Bournemouth.

Additionally in 2011, a York busker was fined £200 for allegedly breaking Covid restrictions by enjoying the piano as a result of police mentioned it was inflicting folks to congregate. 

And in Northampton final month, it was revealed that buskers thought-about a ‘nuisance’ within the city centre could be instructed to cease enjoying beneath new council guidelines.

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