London march against anti-Semitism axed amid safety fears, with 'hundreds of thousands' to join Palestine protest

27 April 2024, 08:59 | Updated: 27 April 2024, 09:30

A march against anti-Semitism scheduled for Saturday has been cancelled
A march against anti-Semitism scheduled for Saturday has been cancelled. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

A march against anti-Semitism scheduled for Saturday afternoon has been cancelled amid fears for the safety of participants.

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The Campaign Against Antisemitism said the risk to the thousands of people who wanted to take part in the London demonstration was too great.

The group said they had identified "hostile actors (who) seem to have intended to come to any meeting locations that we announced".

It comes after the Campaign Against Antisemitism's CEO Gideon Falter was embroiled in a row with the police last week at a pro-Palestinian march.

Mr Falter was threatened with arrest for trying to walk near the march, with one officer describing him as "openly Jewish". The force has since apologised.

Anti-Semitism has increased markedly in the UK since Hamas' October 7 attacks on Israel.

Read more: Calls for Met Chief Mark Rowley to resign are ‘nonsense and dangerous’, antisemitism tsar tells LBC after protest row

Read more: Chief representative of British Jews calls for antisemitism probe into UK’s biggest teaching union

Caller accuses anti-Semitism campaigner Gideon Falter of 'setting up the Met'

Meanwhile a pro-Palestine march that organisers expect to attract hundreds of thousands of people will take place on Saturday.

The march, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) will gather at Parliament Square from midday and set off 30 minutes later. The route will end at Hyde Park, where some people will give speeches.

Ben Jamal, director of the PSC, said the march was "fuelled by love for the principle of the dignity and rights of all human beings".

He added: "As mass graves of Palestinians are uncovered in Gaza, the call for an immediate ceasefire and for an end to weapons sales to Israel is now supported across the political mainstream and by huge swathes of the British public.

"Those marching know that they are on the right side of history."

Two people hold up pro-Israel and against anti Semitism signs
Two people hold up pro-Israel and against anti Semitism signs. Picture: Alamy

A static demonstration organised by pro-Israel group Enough is Enough will take place at the same time in Pall Mall, along the route of the pro-Palestine march.

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said the force aimed to police "without fear or favour", adding that protests in London had "been a particular cause of fear and uncertainty in Jewish communities".

He said the events had caused some Jewish people to stay away from central London on protest days, avoid the Tube, hide their identities or otherwise change their behaviour.

Palestine protesters in London last week
Palestine protesters in London last week. Picture: Getty

The pro-Palestine marches have cost the police over £38 million since they started last October.

Some 415 arrests have been made during protests - including 193 for anti-Semitic offences and 15 terrorism arrests, mostly for the alleged support of Hamas.

Police said the bar for banning protests was very high, and the Palestine marches had not met it.

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