Community welcomes police decision to move 'anti-Jew' protest to central London
By imposing conditions, police say they are attempting to strike a balance between the right to peaceful assembly and peaceful protest and the duty to prevent crime and disorder.
By JERRY LEWISUpdated: JULY 1, 2015 03:06
The decision by the Metropolitan Police to order the relocation of an ‘Anti Jewification’ demonstration' that was to be held in London’s Golders Green area has been greeted with relief by communal leaders and local politicians.The demonstration is scheduled for Shabbat, and Golders Green is one of the heartlands of London Jewry.Police moved the protest to opposite 10 Downing Street in the center of the capital. Downing Street is a prime London location which the police no doubt considered might help ease the neo-Nazis’ likely frustration at being moved from Golders Green.In their statement, the police said they had been “engaging” with both the protesters and those considering counterdemonstrations, and had concluded that “the presence of these groups in the same area at the same time is likely to result in serious disorder, serious disruption to the life of the community and intimidation of others.”The police explained the move saying they were attempting “to strike a balance between the right to peaceful assembly and peaceful protest,” on the one hand, and “our duty to prevent crime and disorder and protect the communities of Golders Green,” on the other.The police added they still intend to continue with a “significant policing operation around the protest and any counterprotest activity.” They concluded that it is “essential that faith and community leaders work closely with the local community and police in preventing disorder and other criminality.”Communal leaders were quick to welcome the news, with the Golders Green Together coalition, including the Board of Deputies, London Jewish Forum and Hope not hate (an anti-fascist organization), applauding the decision. A Community Security Trust spokesman said that the neo-Nazis had sought to protest in Golders Green, as they have previously done in Stamford Hill, and as they plan to in other areas with notable Jewish communities.“We will not sit idly by when anti-Semitic neo-Nazis choose to spend their Saturday afternoons agitating against Jews in various areas of north London,” he said.The police decision, he added, would enable Orthodox Jews “to observe their Shabbat with integrity and dignity.”UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis tweeted: “Many thanks @metpoliceuk & all our community orgs for their efforts in ensuring that the offensive, 4th July rally has been moved out of GG.”Adrian Cohen, chairman of the London Jewish Forum, said the organization is delighted that common sense had prevailed and that a fringe group seeking to spread hate has been banned from demonstrating.“Golders Green was obviously chosen as the original location as the protesters planned to incite racial hatred. We do have freedom of speech in this country, but the message is clear: Anti-Semitism has no place on our streets,”said localMP Mike Freer.