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Golders Green Together volunteers mobilise to counter extremist rally

    Campaigners at the launch of the Golders Green Together initiative
    Campaigners at the launch of the Golders Green Together initiative

    Dozens of volunteers are expected to deliver leaflets this weekend raising awareness of a campaign which promotes diversity ahead of a planned protest by neo-Nazis in north-west London.

    The leaflets are part of the Golders Green Together initiative, aimed at combating the rally which is due to take place in the area on July 4 .

    Hundreds of the flyers – which double up as posters to be displayed in windows – will be handed out at homes and businesses on Sunday morning.

    The leaflet states: “As you may have heard, a group of neo-Nazi antisemites are arranging a demonstration targeting the Jewish community in Golders Green.

    “These bigots would love nothing more than to create an atmosphere of fear and division in our community. In reality there are very few of them, and the police are determined to ensure they are contained in one non-residential area and will not be allowed to intimidate our community.”

    The campaign was formed by the Board of Deputies, London Jewish Forum and anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate.

    Their leaflets also advise residents and community members on action they can take. Suggestions include helping to decorate the area with gold and green ribbons and taking a group photograph to be posted on social media.

    In a separate development, Barnet Police Chief Superintendent Adrian Usher has written an open letter to the Jewish community in an attempt to allay fears about the protest .

    He acknowledged “the enormous hurt being felt by the community on this issue”.

    “I am not Jewish and therefore cannot truly empathise with the anxieties and anger so many of my residents are feeling. I can however acknowledge that they are there and do my best to reassure you.”

    Mr Usher said residents were frustrated over a perception that the Metropolitan Police was “doing little or nothing”.

    He said officers had been working hard “in their planning and intelligence gathering” and said it was vital to wait until nearer July 4 to take further steps, while ensuring the police response remained lawful.

    Much of the antisemitic material being circulated online in connection with the protest had originated in the United States, leading to problems with finding and prosecuting the individuals responsible, Mr Usher added.

    On Thursday, London Assembly member for Barnet Andrew Dismore asked London Mayor Boris Johnson to take more action ahead of the protest.

    Mr Dismore asked for assurances that the rally would not be held at Golders Green tube station and for measures to be taken to “ensure serious disorder and disruption” could be prevented.

    Mr Johnson responded: “There’s a great deal of concern in the Jewish community about this potential demonstration. I have spoken to the Met on a number of occasions.

    “It’s a very difficult balance to strike. People have a right in a democratic society to express their views, however abhorrent we might find them. There has to be a pretty high bar before the police will actually move in to stop a demonstration in London.

    “They police about 5,000 a year, overwhelmingly peacefully. It must be a judgment for them about how to proceed.”

    ● To volunteer on Sunday email gemma@ljf.org.uk

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