Finchley and Golders Green MP urges Theresa May to ban planned ‘anti-Semitic’ protest
- Credit: Archant
Mike Free MP has added to calls for the home secretary and Met Police to ban a proposed rally by far-right groups in Golders Green, after Jewish community groups branded it “anti-Semitic” and “provocative”.
The Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green said he was liaising with Theresa May and the Met to see if the planned demonstration could be prevented.
Far-right groups, including the New Dawn Party, plan hold a static “public assembly” in Golders Green on July 4 – a Jewish day of rest when many Jews will be walking to their synagogue.
It intends to rally against what it has branded the “Jewification of Britain”, particularly targetting Shomrim – a group of volunteers which works with the Met Police to help protect Jewish buildings and the community.
It has been linked to a similar demonstration which took place last month in Stamford Hill.
Mr Freer MP said: “The event is an unwelcome reminder that we must remain vigilant to anti-Semitism and racial hatred.
“I am in regular contact with the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office to seek assurances that everything is being done to protect local residents.
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“The rally is not about free speech but a deliberate attempt to provoke tension and anti-Semitism.”
He added should he be unsuccessful in getting the demonstration banned, he would request the event “is given the policing required to ensure that the safety of local residents in not compromised”.
A Met spokesman said police had no powers to ban a static demonstration – and must safeguard the right to protest.
But chief superintendent Adrian Usher, of Barnet Police, said a policing plan was being drawn up, adding: “Officers are speaking to the organiser of the protest to understand what their plans are.”
A counter demonstration by Campaign Against Antisemitism UK has also been organised for the day.
Jewish community groups, including the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Community Security Trust (CST), have added to calls for the protest to be banned.
A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said: “We strongly condemn the offensive and unacceptable plan for a demonstration in Golders Green by a group of far-right nationalists who are clearly intent on making a provocative, explicitly anti-Semitic gesture.
“The Jewish community has every right to express its opposition to this demonstration. A number of organisations and representatives of the Jewish community may be present and we trust that the police will do their utmost to ensure the security of any of those counter-protesting.
“We have already made firm representations to the Home Secretary and the Metropolitan Police and look to them to prevent it happening or to move its location within the limits of the law. We will keep the community fully informed of developments.”
The CST said it had been aware of the plans for a protest in Golders Green for “several weeks”, describing it as a “neo-Nazi demonstration”.
A spokesman said: “If they come to Golders Green, then it will be an opportunity for Jews and non-Jews alike to stress their united values and their utter rejection of racism and anti-Semitism.
“Obviously Jews now face two choices for 4 July. They can ignore the neo-Nazis (as in Stamford Hill), or they can protest.
“Whichever choice each individual takes, we hope that they will do so out of a feeling of pride and strength, rather than fear and intimidation. In either case, CST will do its utmost to help make this possible.”