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Friday, May 24, 2024
Friday May 24, 2024
Friday May 24, 2024

Jewish campaign group cancels walk over safety concerns amid pro-Palestinian march

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Met police defends its approach as Jewish group calls off event due to safety risks, citing threats and “hostile actors.”

A planned walk by a Jewish campaign group in central London was abruptly cancelled today due to escalating safety concerns amidst a large pro-Palestinian march. The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) decided to call off the event after identifying serious threats and “hostile actors,” raising the risk to participants who would have walked openly as Jews.

This cancellation comes despite the Metropolitan Police’s reassurances that the risk of disorder at the pro-Palestinian march was not sufficient to justify a ban. The police’s stance has stirred controversy, particularly among London’s Jewish communities, who feel increasingly unsafe in the wake of repeated confrontations and the evident tensions at such events.

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The CAA has expressed frustration over the police’s handling of the situation, criticizing their passive approach to the ongoing pro-Palestinian protests which have been occurring weekly for over six months. These protests have reportedly included antisemitic chants and placards, contributing to a climate of fear among Jewish Londoners.

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist of the Met Police emphasized that their duty is to police impartially, “without fear or favour.” However, he acknowledged the particular impact these protests have had on the Jewish community, adding that they never reached a threshold of serious public disorder that would compel the police to ban the marches.

The CAA had organized the “Walk Together” initiative as a form of peaceful protest and solidarity following an incident where CAA’s chief executive, Gideon Falter, was barred from crossing a road by a police officer during a pro-Palestinian protest because he was “openly Jewish.” This incident led to a heated exchange and subsequent apologies from Scotland Yard for the officer’s conduct.

As tensions continue, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s march is expected to draw a significant number of participants, with the Met Police preparing for a large turnout and the potential for confrontations.

Today’s events underscore the complex and sensitive nature of policing in multicultural London, where the right to protest must be balanced against community safety and the need to prevent hate crimes. The cancellation of the Jewish group’s walk is a stark reminder of the challenges faced in maintaining this balance

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