More than 3,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Al-Quds Day March through central London to be banned, arguing that by not doing so Mayor Sadiq Khan’s commitment to fight anti-Semitism is “called into question”.
The annual rally, which “unites for the freedom of the oppressed in Palestine and beyond,” is jointly organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, and is due to take place on Sunday 18 June.
The online petition, originating from grassroots group North West Friends of Israel, says: “After the terrible recent terrorist events in Manchester and London this display of extremism has no place on the streets of the UK.”
It adds: “Allowing this march to go ahead will send a worrying message to the UK’s Jewish community and call into question the commitment of the Mayor of London to eradicate extremism and anti-Semitism.”
In response to enquiries from community members, Sharon Vieira-Poole, from the Information Team at the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC), said Khan had personally discussed the march with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
Asked by Barnet resident Adrian Korsner about whether police would arrest those waving Hamas or Hezbollah flags, Vieira-Poole said the police have operational independence, adding: “They have to operate within the law and the protesters have a right to march, as long as they do so within the law.”
She said the Police had put in-place “a comprehensive investigative plan to work with the organisers and monitor activity during the march,” but that “over the last three years no hate crimes have been reported from the march itself”.
She added: “Due to the concerns raised, the Mayor has personally discussed the policing of this event with the Commissioner, who is reassured appreciates the impact of this event on local communities.”
Korsner replied: “You give succour to those same people who, like Saturday’s terrorists, seek to bring foreign problems and disruption to British shores.”
He also challenged the Mayor’s Office to look at “the demographic of the marchers,” while another activist, Clive Hyman, wrote: “I am concerned that you have forced the cancellation of a Christian rally because of fears about safety but apparently are quite happy to let the Muslim one go ahead.”