Brighton and Hove City Council hosted a chanukah lighting ceremony on Thursday evening – though were forced to ban the public from attending it over security fears.
The Council had invited a rabbi to formally light the menorah, but The Argus website revealed how Pro-Palestine groups had been expected to protest outside the town hall. information which had also been relayed to Jewish leaders.
Although sources close to the city’s pro-Palestinian movement told the newspaper no demonstration was ever planned, the ceremony on Thursday evening was cordoned off to the public, with visible heightened security being present at Hove Town Hall throughout the evening.
A couple of hours before the scheduled start, a Sussex Police spokeswoman said: “Police were made aware by Brighton and Hove City Council of a possible protest at Hove Town Hall on Thursday morning (December 14) and with the information provided are assessing the resources required.”
A spokeswoman at Hove Town Hall confirmed to Jewish News: “We were advised by police in view of the information we provided and because of reports concerning a number of protests, that we should consider increasing our security arrangements whilst the information was looked into.
“We took a precautionary and proportionate approach as we aim to do with all council meetings.
“We have since been told by police that there was no reliable information about a pro-Palestinian protest.”
The meeting – which included the lighting of the menorah – started at 4.30pm, and although no demonstration did take place, no members of the public were allowed into the council chamber for the ceremony.