Progressive Jews have criticised police action “facilitating” a neo-Nazi march in Hackney on Saturday.
The far-right group were prevented from reaching their intended destination of Stamford Hill, as Hackney police sought to avoid clashes between anti-fascist and left-wing groups in Clapton, but officers still had to defend their actions.
Jewish group Jewdas took part in the counter-demonstration, and members claimed that the far-right protesters carried banners reading “Rights for Whites” and promoting offensive rhetoric about “Jewish power”.
Alongside other activists and local community members, Jewdas claim that they were kept in a police containment area whilst the group were escorted down towards a local mosque at Lea Bridge roundabout.
In a statement, Jewdas criticised the Met, saying: “This was a march by neo-Nazis, facilitated by the police. Especially in this week, as we remember the Holocaust, we felt it was important not to let the fascists march. We have been deeply concerned by events.”
Hackney Police Superintendent Andy Walker told Jewish News: “We had to deploy a number of officers to keep opposing groups apart and to prevent disorder. One arrest was made for a public order offence but otherwise I’m pleased that our intervention prevented serious disorder or disruption to the local community.”
He added: “I’m aware that some groups who were opposed to this protest taking place have publicly raised their concerns and I have offered to meet them to explain the role and responsibilities of the police and to answer any questions they may have.”