Thousands of people, including the former British Prime Minister Boris Johnsongathered in London this Sunday to march against antisemitisma day after large crowds took to the streets of the British capital to take part in a pro-Palestinian protest.
Johnson was accompanied by his wife Carrie and his last son, frankand by Britain’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis. Senior government officials were also there to express solidarity with the Jewish community. Among them, Robert JenrickImmigration, and Tom Tugendhatof security.
Organizers said it was the largest rally against anti-Semitism in London in decades.
Participants waved Israeli and British flags and held banners with messages such as: “Never again is now” and “Zero tolerance for anti-Semites.”
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, former leader of the far-right political party English Defense League, was detained by police at the march. Yaxley-Lennon, better known by his alias Tommy Robinson, was among crowds of march resisters who clashed with police during an Armistice Day march in London a few weeks ago.
Police said he refused to leave after being warned that his presence could cause “harassment, alarm and distress to others.”
Sunday’s march was organized amid concerns over rising tensions caused by the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Gideon Falter, executive director of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, said the rally followed weeks of pro-Palestinian protests that had turned the capital into a “no-go zone for Jews.”
He commented that anti-Semitic incidents in Britain have been on the rise since the war began and condemned what he said were “deplorable” banners seen at protests, including those that “show a Star of David on the trash with the phrase ‘please keep the world clean’.”
On Saturday, tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched to demand a permanent ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas.
Police said most protested peacefully, but 18 people were arrested for crimes such as suspicion of inciting racial hatred.
The Stop the War coalition, which organized Saturday’s protest, said those participating oppose racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
During the November 11 Armistice Day march in London, pro-Palestinian protesters marched peacefully, but far-right protesters opposed to the march clashed with officers trying to stop them from interfering with the rally. .
Organizers of Sunday’s march said it was the largest of its kind since 1936, when hundreds of thousands of people blocked a planned march by the Union of British Fascists in a Jewish neighborhood.
(With information from AP)