Neo-Nazi rally in London moved after fierce criticism


A neo-Nazi rally that was was due to take place in Golders Green in north London, where many Jewish families live, has been moved to central London instead.

Community groups and politicians had previously expressed outrage about the rally. Astonishment that it could even now go ahead, albeit in the centre of London, was still being voiced on the Jewish News website which reported the move.

The Metropolitan police said in a statement: "After carefully considering the facts surrounding this protest and counter-protest activity, it is the assessment of the MPS that the presence of these 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 intimidation of others."

The rally will go ahead in Whitehall however, the police said, because they must "strike a balance between the right to peaceful assembly and protest and our duty to prevent crime and disorder and protect the communities".

Community groups have held meetings with the Home Office and police and one group, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, planned a counter-demonstration.

Adrian Cohen of the London Jewish Forum said: "We are delighted that common sense has prevailed and that fringe group seeking to spread hate have been banned from demonstrating."

Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: "Today's decision by the Metropolitan Police Service is a victory for British values and we applaud their firm defence of our community. This vindicates our policy of confronting anti-Semitism wherever it rears its head.

"We believe that 'never again' is a call to action from our history, which is why we called thousands of Jews and non-Jews to stand together against this disgrace in dignified defiance, unity and pride."

The Community Security Trust said: "The neo-Nazis sought to protest in Golders Green, as they have previously done in Stamford Hill, and as they plan to in other areas with notable Jewish communities. We will not sit idly by when anti-Semitic neo-Nazis, chose to spend their Saturday afternoons, agitating against Jews in various areas of north London."

Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, 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, just as it always should be."

The Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis told Jewish News: "I can think of no better way to respond to the politics of scapegoating and division than by displaying solidarity, togetherness and unity. To those who peddle an ideology of hatred and intolerance we say: We will not be cowed or intimidated, nor will we stoop to an exchange of insults.

"People from all walks of life make up the beautiful tapestry that is Great Britain. We must challenge anything that seeks to disturb our shared values by building deeper relationships across neighbourhoods and communities."