England’s Metropolitan Police Service (Scotland Yard) says it can do nothing to stop a group of neo-Nazis from carrying out a planned protest in the heavily-Jewish Golders Green community of London on July 4.
The protest seems to purposely fall on a Saturday, which is known to the Jewish people as Shabbat or the “day of rest,” and they are prohibited from working or protesting on that day.
According to the Guardian, the Met Police said they must safeguard the right to protest. Despite claims from Scotland Yard that their hands are tied, a spokesperson for England’s Home Office—which acts as the UK border agency—told the Guardian that “the police have a range of powers to deal with demonstrations and can apply for a ban on marches through the Public Order Act 1986. No application has been received for a ban on marches in Golders Green.”
Golders Green MP Mike Freer told the Guardian that “the rally is not about free speech but a deliberate attempt to provoke tension and antisemitism.” Freer and several Jewish community groups have reportedly asked for the Home Office to ban the protest. Over 12,300 people have signed a petition on Change.org so far.
Anti-Jewish sentiment has intensified in Europe and throughout the Western world recently in light of radical Islamic terrorism. It has also resulted in the mass exodus of Jews from European cities for fear of their lives.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews told the Guardian that it supported the right of the community to carry out a counter-protest if it wished to do so and that he and Golders Green’s Jewish population look to the Metropolitan Police to prevent the protest from taking place “or to move its location within the limits of the law.”
Jews make up 20 percent of Golders Green’s population.