Police have prevented a neo-Nazi rally from taking place in a London neighborhood with a large Jewish population, activists announced Tuesday.
The demonstration was supposed to take place this Saturday in Golders Green in north London, raising ire among community leaders and the local politicians alike.
According to the Campaign Against Antisemitism, the Metropolitan Police Service has decided to move the demonstration to a central London location, and confined it to 60 minutes.
The police said threats of a counterdemonstration contributed to its decision to relocate the rally. The police were quoted by the CAA as saying “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.”
Lauding the police’s decision, the ACC said in a statement, “By holding such an event in an area of high Jewish population and on the Jewish Sabbath, Jewish people would be intimidated and endangered at a time when the police and government have promised to protect them” from what it called “rising hostility to Jewish people around Europe, including several recent terrorist killings of Jews in Europe.”
However, the group expressed regret that the rally would still go ahead, albeit far away from the Jewish neighborhood, saying “it is still deeply disturbing that such an assembly can take place anywhere in the UK.”
The Metropolitan Police Service has previously said it lacks the power to ban a static demonstration and must safeguard the right to protest, according to The Guardian.
Various other Jewish community groups, including the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Community Security Trust and the London Jewish Forum have called on police to ban the protest, and more than 12,400 people have signed a Change.org petition to that effect.