London Jewish Groups Brace for 'All Eventualities' Ahead of neo-Nazi Protest

Neo-Nazi group vows to fight 'Jewification' of London by destroying Israeli flags and religious Jewish texts.

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Neo-Nazis during a rally in Erfurt, Germany on May Day 2014.
Illustration: Neo-Nazis during a rally in Erfurt, Germany.Credit: AP

Jewish groups in the UK told media Friday they are planning for "all eventualities" ahead of a Saturday protest by a group of neo-Nazis in London, despite attempts by the police to shift the demonstration away the city's main Jewish neighborhood.

The group of neo-Nazis planned to protest what they called the "Jewification" of London's Golders Green neighborhood by reportedly destroying Israeli flags and putting religious Jewish texts to the flame. The group is identified by local media as the 'anti-Shomrim' movement - a reference to the Orthodox Jewish watch group the Shomrim.

The police moved the 'anti-Shomrim' demonstration away from Golders Green to Whitehall, where the group will hold a static demonstration, instead of the march they had initially planned.

Nonetheless, the far-right group remained defiant and local Jewish group cautious. The Press Association quoted Dave Rich, from the Community Security Trust, a local Jewish charity, as saying that though "the demonstration has been moved we will still be having a security presence in Golders Green just in case anybody does turn up."

"We are not aware of any plans to do so but we are covering all eventualities," he told the press agency.

On the other hand, Russia Today quoted white supremacist Joshua Bonehill-Paine as reportedly calling on fellow activists to bring Israeli flags to the event so they could “dismember them by hand.” According to the report, the far-right activist also said that during a private event scheduled for later Saturday copies of the Talmud would be burned.

A counter protest is scheduled as well and according to the Press Association, Scotland Yard said in a statement that "police have been engaging with the organizers of all the events, and where appropriate, conditions have been explained to them."

According to the report, the police noted that "an appropriate policing plan is in place for these events."

According to the report, the Metropolitan Police decided to impose the conditions, such as moving the protest and making it a static demonstration instead of a march, under the Public Order Act 1986, saying that “the presence of this protest group, and resultant counter-protests by opposition groups in the same area at the same time, is likely to result in serious disorder, serious disruption to the life of the community and the intimidation of others”.

However, police said they cannot ban the protest outright, and that it is their duty to safeguard the right to protest. 

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