Tommy Robinson escorted from march against antisemitism as man arrested
Tens of thousands have attended a march against antisemitism in London, with English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson escorted away by police.
Police later confirmed a 40-year-old man had been arrested close to the Royal Courts of Justice, from where the demonstration began on Sunday afternoon.
Former prime minister Boris Johnson joined the gathering, a day after pro-Palestinian crowds also gathered in the capital to demand a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict.
A truce between Hamas and Israel is still holding, with the release of a second group of hostages and Palestinians from Israeli prisons coming late on Saturday.
There had been fears in that Mr Robinson, the former leader of the far-right grouping, could disrupt the protest organised by charity Campaign Against Antisemitism.
Mr Robinson, 40, had previously been seen among the crowds of counter-protesters who clashed with police during ceasefire protests held on Armistice Day.
On Sunday, he was seen arguing with officers for about 10 minutes outside Soho coffee shop opposite the Royal Courts of Justice.
He was was then led away from the scene.
In a statement, the Met said: “We have been in frequent contact with the organisers of the march in recent days.
“They have 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.
“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.”
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick and security minister Tom Tugendhat joined celebrities including Tracy-Ann Oberman, Rachel Riley and Robert Rinder at the march, which saw marchers join in singing as they proceeded through the city.
Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis was among those at the front the crowd, as marchers waved Israeli and Union flags as well as placards reading “Never Again Is Now” and “Zero Tolerance for Antisemites”.
Battle of Cable Street
Organisers called the rally the largest gathering against antisemitism London had seen since the Battle of Cable Street in 1936, when hundreds of thousands of people blocked a planned march by Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists through an area populated by many Jewish families.
It was organised amid concern about rising tensions sparked by the conflict in Gaza.
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”.
Tens of thousands of people gathered on Saturday for the latest demonstration demanding a permanent ceasefire in Gaze, with some demonstrators accusing Israel of committing genocide and others chanting “from the river to the sea”.
There were 18 arrests made over the course of the day for a range of alleged offences – including suspicion of inciting racial hatred and suspicion of supporting a proscribed organisation.
Organisers Stop the War coalition said that attendees at the now-regular marches have “clear anti-racist foundations” and oppose both antisemitism and Islamophobia.
It had asked anyone attending Saturday’s rally to “respect these clear anti-racist principles, including in any signs or placards they choose to bring to the march”.
Appearing on Sky’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott said: “I’m very concerned about people, particularly Jewish people, feeling safe on the streets.
“I think it is right that the police take all necessary action to make sure that people are able to walk about their home city without fear.”
Israel said early on Sunday that it had received a new list of hostages slated to be released later in the day, in the third of four scheduled swaps.
Among those reunited with their family was nine-year-old Irish-Israeli girl Emily Hand, who was among those abducted by the Palestinian militant group during the deadly Hamas attack on October 7.
Hamas is to release at least 50 Israeli hostages, and Israel 150 Palestinian prisoners.
All are women and minors.
The deal seemed at risk of unravelling on Saturday after Hamas accused Israel of violating the agreement, delaying the exchange.
But the militants eventually released 17 hostages, including 13 Israelis, while Israel freed 39 Palestinian prisoners.
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