CORNWALL Council closed the public gallery at New County Hall/Lys Kernow in Truro during a full council meeting on Tuesday after “intelligence” was received about a planned protest the authority believed would be disruptive.

The council notified Devon and Cornwall Police and also installed extra security at its headquarters.

The move followed a protest at a full council meeting in February, when members of Palestine Solidarity Cornwall (PSC) called for a ceasefire in Gaza and staged a “die-in” outside New County Hall on Treyew Road before storming the building and lying on the floor of the reception area.

Two members of the group disrupted the meeting from the public gallery and there was chanting of “from the river to the sea”, which was widely regarded as an anti-Semitic statement.

Cornwall Council chairman Pauline Giles told councillors at Tuesday’s meeting that members had raised concerns with her and the authority’s chief executive Kate Kennally following the protest and associated public questions.

One of the questions asked at the February meeting was: “Please tell me if you accept and agree with the statement by three of the world’s most respected human rights organisations that Israel is an inherently racist state?”

Cllr Giles said various councillors had asked whether the protest and questions were in accordance with the council’s “very firm commitment to anti-racism, which includes that the council does not tolerate or promote any anti-Semitic views or practice”.

She added: “I’ve been reassured that work has taken place to implement a new risk assessment for public meetings, which has been discussed and agreed with Devon and Cornwall Police which allows for people to peacefully protest on council land but does not impede the safety and orderly conduct of public meetings or members and staff alike.

“In recognition of the impact of global matters on our local democracy, the Monitoring Officer has put in place some new internal procedures for considering whether public questions should be permitted in accordance with the council procedure rules.”

Cllr Giles said steps had been taken for the meeting to go ahead without disruption.