London Mayor Boris Johnson has pledged the police will respond to any incitement to hatred after news emerged of a plan to hold an anti-Semitic demonstration in Golders Green.
Anti-Semitic and far-right groups are planning a major demonstration “against Jewish privilege” in Golders Green – the heartland of the community – on the first Shabbat in July.
Police told Jewish News this week that they are powerless, legally, to stop a static demonstration, but it is understood the planned rally is due to be held at or near Golders Green station on 4 July, and anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi websites have been buzzing for months with information about the event.
Among those thought to be involved in organising the rally – which follows a similar, though unsuccessful event in Stamford Hill in April – is right-wing group New Dawn.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson told Jewish News: ‘The Jewish community is part of London’s history and makes a massive contribution to our city’s success. Jewish Londoners should have the right to live their lives and go about their daily business without fear of confrontation, particularly on Shabbat, which seems deliberately provocative.
He continued, saying “I support the right to peaceful protest, but anti-Semitism has no place in a city like London.”
“We will continue to liaise with the community, as well as the police, who will respond appropriately to any disorder, crime and incitement to hatred wherever it occurs.’
Mark Gardner of the CST acknowledged this week that such an outcome “cannot be guaranteed in Golders Green”, but also said that the CST, was “fully aware of this explicitly anti-Semitic demonstration,”, and was in discussions with both police and government about the next steps.
Local MP Mike Freer told Jewish News: “I have called on the Home Office to step in and ban this demonstration. This rally is not about free speech but a deliberate attempt to promote tension and anti-Semitism.”
Chief Superintendent Adrian Usher, head of policing in Barnet, said: “Officers will continue to work closely with the local community to make sure we fully understand their concerns and to brief them on the policing operation as it develops”. He said officers were speaking to the organisers of the rally “to understand what their plans are”