Route of latest London pro-Palestine demo changed after synagogue disruption raised

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Route of latest London pro-Palestine demo changed after synagogue disruption raised

Communal leaders raised fears latest Palestine demo would disrupt big Shabbat function at nearby shul

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Oct 28th Palestine demo sets out from Victoria Embankment
Oct 28th Palestine demo sets out from Victoria Embankment

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed they persuaded organisers of the latest pro-Palestine demonstration in London to change the route after concerns were raised about disruption to an event at a synagogue.

Jewish News understands that representatives from the London Jewish Forum, Board of Deputies and the Community Security Trust, Shomrim and Jewish Police Association had met with police chiefs to raise concerns after the route of this weekend’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC)  led protest.

One synagogue in particular was impacted by the demo, as a big function is taking place this Shabbat.

After the Met engaged with the PSC, it was agreed that the starting point of the march should be moved.

The PSC march will form up on Mortimer Street, W1 at 12:00hrs on Saturday. 

The march will follow a route through Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Haymarket, Cockspur Street, Trafalgar Square and ending in Whitehall for speeches.  

Police also confirmed they were engaging with the organisers of the Enough Is Enough pro-Israel protest who are staging a static demonstration in Piccadilly Circus at the same time as the PSC march.

Astatic demonstration organised by pro-Israel group Enough is Enough took place at the same time along the route of the pro-Palestine march. Right: A masked individual at the Palestine rally.

“Similar events have taken place alongside previous PSC events and we have ongoing engagement with the organisers,” the Met added.

In a statement setting out its policing plan ahead of another busy weekend in the capital, the Met confirmed:”An event has been organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in central London. Officers will also be policing two football finals at Wembley, four Premier League fixtures and a protest at the Eritrean Embassy. 

“In relation to the PSC, we have seen several months of protest in London and recognise the cumulative impact of this, including on London’s Jewish communities. “Our goal has been to protect the lawful right to protest whilst minimising the impact of these events. We do not have the power to ban protest unless there is a risk of serious disorder. 

“This week we have maintained regular dialogue with Jewish and Muslim communities across London, including meeting with Rabbis from across London to listen and understand the concerns of their communities. 

“As a result of this dialogue, we have engaged with the PSC who have agreed to move the starting point of the march. We have used our powers to place conditions on the protest to ensure we minimise the serious disruption to the community and balance the rights of all. ”

Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove, who is leading this weekend’s policing operation, said: “All Londoners have a right to have their voices heard, just as they also have a right to go about their lives without fear or being subject to serious disruption. 

“Ahead of the weekend we have been in regular discussions with the PSC as well as religious leaders, community groups and businesses. 

“The conditions placed on the location and route of the PSC event take into account the impact these marches are having in London, the right to protest, and seeks to minimise the disruption they cause. 

“London has no tolerance for hate crime and we will take swift enforcement action against anyone who crosses the line.” 

The Met will also be policing a protest in the vicinity of the Eritrean Embassy, N1 on Saturday from 10:00hrs and 12:00hrs. Wembley Stadium is hosting Football League Play-Off finals on Saturday and Sunday. 

Four Premier League fixtures are taking place in London on Sunday afternoon. 

The Public Order Act gives the police the power to impose conditions on a procession or assembly of two or more people who are deemed to have a common purpose. 

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