(CTN News) – A demonstration against antisemitism has taken place in central London, with tens of thousands of people participating.
This was the first such march since the Israel-Gaza war broke out, and organizers believed that 100,000 people, including former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, participated.
Anti-Semitic incidents, particularly targeting Jews in the nation’s capital, have been on the upswing recently, prompting the gathering.
Tommy Robinson, founder of the English Defence League, was apprehended by the police after organizers had requested that he not attend.
Some were worried he might cause trouble during the protest.
Two individuals were ultimately taken into custody, according to the Met Police. Not only did police detain Mr. Robinson, 40, at the outset of the march, but they also apprehended a guy as the protesters were dispersing from Whitehall for allegedly uttering antisemitic remarks.
Protesters assembled outside the Royal Courts of Justice and marched down Whitehall to the gathering site in Parliament Square.
Participants were observed carrying placards with inscriptions such as “Never again is now” and “Shoulder to shoulder with British Jews.”
At a rally in Parliament Square, Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis assured the audience that Jews in Britain “will not be intimidated” by antisemites.
He stated “We call for a strengthening of community cohesion and we will forever be proud to champion the finest of British values.”
Largest Gathering Since 1936: Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Estimate
There hasn’t been a mass assembly like Sunday’s march since the 1936 Battle of Cable Street when supporters of the British Union of Fascists were prevented from marching through east London—a neighborhood with a strong Jewish population—according to the Campaign Against Antisemitism.
Among the famous faces seen in the audience were TV hosts Robert Rinder and Vanessa Feltz and actors Elliot Levey, Maureen Lipman, and Tracy-Ann Oberman.
“Historians have taught us that good people pay a heavy price when they remain silent, and I want to thank you all for standing up today and refusing to be spectators,” Countdown host Rachel Riley told the audience.
“Moderate people in this country to stand up and face down extremism and bigotry, antisemitism, Islamophobia and all forms of racism,” Mr. Marsan proclaimed in an address he delivered.
“Emotional, bonding, well-attended and shambolic” was how comedian David Baddiel characterized the march.
He made a joke about how nobody knew who was speaking or where we were headed. It proved, once again, that Jews aren’t in charge of anything.
Notable politicians included Boris Johnson, Tom Tugenhadt, Robert Jenrick (immigration minister), and Peter Kyle (Labour’s shadow science minister).
Since the beginning of the Israel-Gaza conflict, there has been a significant spike in racist crimes committed against Jewish individuals.
As compared to 44 reports during the same period previous year, 554 antisemitic incidents were reported in London between 1 October and 1 November.
During the same period, there were 220 incidents of Islamophobic hate crime, up from 78 the previous year.
The anti-semitism march on Sunday follows the largest pro-Palestinian event in London since hostilities erupted in the Middle East again.
According to a statement, the “overwhelming majority” of the 18 persons arrested were legitimately protesting, although the Met Police did say that 18 people were arrested “during a significant policing operation” that was put in place around the pro-Palestinian march on Saturday.
The police department has promised to crack down on hate speech and posters after coming under fire for its handling of pro-Palestinian protests.