In a significant turn of events, far-right leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, widely known as Tommy Robinson, was arrested by police during a march against antisemitism in London. Despite organizers’ warnings to stay away, Yaxley-Lennon, 40, was detained after refusing police orders to disperse from the area.
The march, drawing an impressive turnout of up to 60,000 people in central London, marked the largest stand against antisemitism since 1936. This historic event unfolded as concerns about the rise in antisemitic incidents in Britain heightened following the crisis initiated by Hamas’s attack in southern Israel on October 7.
Footage captured Yaxley-Lennon being asked to leave a cafe by the police, where he claimed to be present as a journalist. Despite being directed to disperse under section 35 of the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, he chose not to comply.
The Metropolitan Police, addressing the arrest, stated that the organizers had expressed concerns about Yaxley-Lennon’s presence, fearing it would cause fear and distress to other participants. Despite warnings and multiple attempts to persuade him to leave the area, he remained uncooperative.
Pro-Palestinian marches in central London, unrelated to this event, have reportedly left some Jewish individuals fearful of visiting the area. Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, emphasized the importance of the march, stating that it was a significant gathering against antisemitism, and called for action to address the concerns of British Jews regarding the treatment of antisemitic hate crimes by the police.