Thousands march against antisemitism in London

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Tracey-Ann Oberman, Eddie Marsan, Rachel Riley and Maureen Lipman were seen at the march

Tens of thousands of people have marched through central London at a demonstration against antisemitism.

Organisers estimated 60,000 took part in the first march of its kind since the Israel-Gaza war began, including former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The rally comes amid a steep rise in hate crime, especially against the capital’s Jewish community.

English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson – who was asked not to attend by organisers – was removed by police.

There had been concern that he might disrupt the demonstration. The Met Police later said a 40-year-old man had been arrested close to where the march set off from.

The large crowd gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice and made its way along Whitehall to Parliament Square, where a rally was due to be held.

Placards bearing slogans like “Shoulder to shoulder with British Jews” and “Never again is now” were seen being carried by those taking part.

Tommy Robinson was led away by police officers – organisers had made clear he was not welcome

Several recognisable faces were spotted in the crowd, including TV personality Robert Rinder, Countdown host Rachel Riley, and actors Tracy-Ann Oberman and Maureen Lipman.

As well as Boris Johnson, security minister Tom Tugenhadt and immigration minister Robert Jenrick were among political figures in attendance.

Crimes against Jewish people motivated by racism have increased dramatically since the outbreak of the Israel-Gaza conflict.

There were 554 reports of antisemitic offences in London between 1 October and 1 November in London, compared with 44 in the same period last year.

Islamophobic hate crime is also on the rise, with 220 offences in the same period, compared to 78 last year.

Sunday’s rally against antisemitism comes after the latest large pro-Palestinian demonstration to be held in London since renewed fighting broke out in the Middle East.

The Met Police said 18 people had been arrested “during a significant policing operation” that was put in place around the pro-Palestinian march on Saturday, though the “overwhelming majority” protested lawfully, a statement said.

The force has come under pressure over its policing of pro-Palestinian demonstrations, and has pledged to crack down on placards and chanting which are judged to constitute a hate crime.