Tens of thousands of people including former Prime Minister Boris Johnson gathered in London on Sunday for a march against anti-Semitism, a day after large crowds turned out for a pro-Palestinian rally.
Mr. Johnson was joined by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and other senior government officials at the march to express solidarity with the Jewish community. Organizers billed it as the largest gathering against anti-Semitism in London for almost a century.
Marchers waved Israeli flags and Union Jacks, and held placards reading “Never Again Is Now” and “Zero Tolerance for anti-Semites.”
Sunday’s march was organised amid concerns about rising tensions sparked by the Israel–Hamas war in Gaza.
“Anything which is associated with the Jewish religion now feel that they’re under attack and they have to look after themselves, have their own security,” said Malcolm Canning, 75, from London. “I never thought this would get to this stage in this country. And it’s very, very upsetting to see it.”
Gideon Falter, the chief executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said that the rally came after weeks of pro-Palestinian protests that had made the capital a “no-go zone for Jews.”
He said that anti-Semitic incidents in the UK have surged since the war began, and condemned what he called “appalling” placards seen at the protests—including ones “showing a Star of David thrown in the bin with a caption that says ‘please keep the world clean.’”
Tommy Robinson Detained
Police detained anti-Islam activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who’s more widely known by his alias Tommy Robinson and is often labelled “far-right” by media outlets.
According to the Metropolitan Police, Mr. Robinson “refused to comply with a direction to disperse under Section 35 of the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime, and Policing Act.
In a statement posted on X, the Met said organisers of the event “had been clear about their concerns that the man’s attendance, and that of those who were likely to accompany him, would cause fear for other participants,” and that “the same view has been voiced by others.
“As a result, he was spoken to and warned on more than one occasion that his continued presence in the area was likely to cause harassment, alarm, and distress to others. He was directed to leave the area but refused to do so,” the Met added.
Ahead of the controversial pro-Palestinian march on the Armistice Day, Mr. Robinson called on “young English and British men” to mount a vigilante assembly in London to “show respect and to make sure that there is respect shown.”
While Mr. Robinson went to central London and left without incident on the day, police detained over 90 counter-protesters who they say were “clearly looking for confrontation.”
The arrest of Mr. Robinson on Sunday has led to some accusations of two-tiered policing on social media, with political commentator and deacon Fr. Calvin Robinson questioning, “Will the police act if the organisers of the palestinian protests inform them they don’t want any Hamas supporters attending?”
Also reacting on X, Jewish mathematician Norman Fenton said the organiser’s role in Mr. Robinson’s arrest was “a disgrace & diverted attention away from what the rally was about.”
Mr. Fenton said the activist has “done more to wake up the British public to dangers of anti-Semitism and Israelophobia than any of Britain’s ‘official Jews,'” and that he’s “ashamed of the role the ‘official’ Jewish community has played” in Mr. Robinson’s arrest.
“They represent nobody other than the same progressive elites who dominate all other charities, NGOs etc,” Mr. Fenton wrote.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched to demand a permanent cease-fire in the war.
Police said the majority protested peacefully, but 18 people were arrested for offences including suspicion of inciting racial hatred.
The Stop the War coalition, which organized Saturday’s rally, stressed that those taking part oppose racism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times