Call for anti-Semitic protest to be ignored after police force it from Golders Green

Mike Freer

Mike Freer - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Campaigners have been urged to ignore an anti-Semitic protest planned for Saturday and scrap plans for a counter-demonstration after police banned the inflammatory rally from taking place in Golders Green.

Jonathan Arkush

Jonathan Arkush - Credit: Jewish Boad of Deputies

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police ordered far-right protesters to re-locate their planned anti-Shomrim demonstration, originally set to take place in Golders Green, to an “assembly point” opposite Downing Street in Westminster, under public order laws.

The decision follows weeks of campaigning from MPs and Jewish groups urging Home Secretary Theresa May and the police to intervene ahead of the protest.

Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer welcomed the police’s decision but said he had no interest in joining counter-demonstrators still planning to challenge the far-right activists in Westminster, including Barnet Green Party members.

“It’s good news that we have got it moved from Golders Green,” said Mr Freer. “Frankly, if 15 far-right demonstrators turn up outside Downing Street then the best thing we can do is treat them with the contempt they deserve and ignore them.

“I wasn’t prepared to let them intimidate and provoke my local residents in Golders Green.”

The planned protest was originally promoted online by blogger Joshua Bonehill-Paine, who was remanded in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday after pleading not guilty to a charge of inciting racial hatred.

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The Board of Deputies of British Jews was one of a number of groups planning a counter-demonstration in Golders Green on Saturday, the Jewish holy day, as part of the Golders Green Together campaign alliance.

But they have now scrapped plans for a counter-demonstration after the police intervened.

Jonathan Arkush, the board’s president, said: “The sad little gathering of Nazi admirers was rejected by Golders Green Together and has now been forced out of Golders Green altogether.

“Our community and many others stood together in unity, pride and strength and we have won. Our Shabbat will be one of shalom, as it always should be.”

Golders Green Together is planning a day of action in the area tomorrow to celebrate the campaign’s victory.