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Neo-Nazi rally in Golders Green moved

    Police have barred a neo-Nazi rally scheduled for Saturday from taking place in Golders Green.

    Chief Superintendent Adrian Usher of Barnet Police confirmed the demo would now take place in central London.

    He told the JC: "It has been moved. We just need to make sure there are no legal loopholes.

    "We have been trying to get the message out. The right-wing element have posted this out themselves. We want to be absolutely clear about what's happening and what it means for the local community and for central London."

    He confirmed officers will still run an operation in Golders Green on Shabbat to protect the community and deal with protesters or counter-demonstrators who are unaware of the change in plan.

    BLOG: Rally result is a victory for our community - not a time to score points

    Metropolitan Police sources said the rally would now take place in Richmond Terrace, Whitehall. The protestors will be restricted to a static assembly for 60 minutes from 1pm to 2pm.

    The Community Security Trust said it welcomed the decision.

    "This will allow Jewish residents of Golders Green and the surrounding area to observe their Shabbat with integrity and dignity," CST said in a statement. "And it sends a strong message of support for British Jews at a time when fears of antisemitism remain high.

    "The neo-Nazis had sought to protest in Golders Green, as they have previously done in Stamford Hill, and as they plan to do in other areas with notable Jewish communities.

    "We will not sit idly by when antisemitic neo-Nazis choose to spend their Saturday afternoons agitating against Jews in various areas of north London."

    The Home Office and Metropolitan Police both denied rumours on Tuesday morning that there had been any change to the plan.

    Other sources claimed the organisers of the protest had made the decision.

    CST added: "The decision to relocate the neo-Nazi demonstration follows weeks of intense conversations with Barnet Police, Scotland Yard, Barnet Council, the Home Office, and the Department for Communities and Local Government, in which CST was joined by our colleagues and friends in the London Jewish Forum, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Parliamentary Committee Against Antisemitism."

    Organisers of Golders Green Together, the initiative set up by the London Jewish Forum, the Board of Deputies and Hope Not Hate to celebrate unity and diversity ahead of the rally - said they were delighted at the move.

    In a statement, they said: "We would like to thank the police for all they have done to ensure the safety of local residents was prioritised and that community life in one of Britain’s most diverse areas was safeguarded.

    "The CST and various campaigning groups who have made representations on this matter should be praised in full, as should the voices of every local resident, every shop owner and every outraged resident that has demanded their voice be heard. Our campaign has fought to underline that community spirit and unification can undermine voices of hate and discrimination, we are delighted with this result."

    Adrian Cohen, chair of London Jewish Forum, said: “We are delighted that common sense has prevailed and that a fringe group seeking to spread hate have been banned from demonstrating. The spirit in which the local community have coalesced around our Golders Green Together campaign has been fantastic and underlines the message that there is no place for hate in our communities.”

    Board president Jonathan Arkush 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.”

    Organisers said they would go head with the initiative to decorate Golders Green with gold and green ribbons on July 3.

    "We will not let those who seek to spread hate divide us, we will stand together as one community," they said.

    Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer said he welcomed the action taken by police.

    He said: "Golders Green was obviously chosen as the original location as the protestors planned to incite racial hatred.

    "We do have freedom of speech in this country but the message is clear - antisemitism has no place on our streets.

    "I will continue to work with the Metropolitan Police, the Prime Minister and Home Secretary as the safety of local people is of paramount importance.”

    The Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, expressed his thanks to the police and communal groups over the relocation of the rally.

    He tweeted: "Many thanks @metpoliceuk & all our community orgs for their efforts in ensuring that the offensive, 4th July rally has been moved out of GG."

    Grassroots groups Sussex Friends of Israel and Pro Israel Response Group also welcomed the decision, calling it a victory for the entire Jewish community.

    They said the police had “sent a very clear message that racism and provocation towards the Jewish community will not be tolerated”, adding that “to relocate a small group of ageing neo-Nazis to the centre of Whitehall on a Saturday must be the modern-day equivalent of putting them in stocks in the town square.

    In a statement the Metropolitan Police said: "After carefully considering all the facts surrounding this protest and counter protest activity, including the impact on the Jewish and wider community of Golders Green, 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.

    "As a result, conditions have been imposed on the anti-Shomrim protest group under Section 14 Public Order Act 1986.

    "By imposing these conditions, the MPS is attempting to strike a balance between the right to peaceful assembly and peaceful protest and our duty to prevent crime & disorder and protect the communities of Golders Green.

    "The MPS will continue to work with residents, the business community and protest organisers to publicise these conditions and ensure that everyone is aware of the conditions and how it may affect them.

    "Saturday will see a significant policing operation around this protest and any counter protest activity. It is essential that faith and community leaders work closely with the local community and police in preventing disorder and other criminality."

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