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Hunt for racists at peace protest
6:06am Saturday 26th August 2006 in News
POLICE did not release details of a violent racist attack at a peace rally because they feared publicity would prevent them catching the culprits, it was claimed today.
Officers were accused of wasting resources by sending up to 100 officers to marshal a demonstration in Hove last Saturday involving just 150 people.
But Chief Supt Kevin Moore said the presence was a response to complaints of violence, disorder and anti-semitism at a rally in July.
A Jewish man has told The Argus he was attacked by a baying mob and branded a terrorist during the demonstration on the seafront near Palmeira Square last month against the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbolah. Chief Supt Moore said: "We received a number of complaints by residents of Palmeira Square who declared themselves to be Jewish, who felt intimidated and felt some aspects of the July protest were racist and anti-semitic.
"We did not release details of the attack because we planned to take the victim to the march on Saturday to see if he could point out the culprits."
He was accompanied by two police officers but did not recognise anyone.
It also emerged an anti-semitic banner depicting a Jewish Star of David and a swastika was seized from an eight-year-old girl at Saturday's march.
But protest organisers say they are insulted at Chief Supt Moore's claim that the demonstration was an attempt to provoke and incite what he described as a large Jewish population in the area.
Organiser Glenn Williams said: "I am shocked at that.
"There was no racism or anti-semitism on either march to my knowledge.
"If there was then I would be deeply concerned and certainly would condemn it. But I simply do not believe it happened.
"This is a diversion tactic by the police because they simply got it wrong."
A 24-year-old half-Jewish doorman says he was attacked at the protest in July.
He says he was driving along Kingsway with his girlfriend, also 24, when he had to stop because the protest had spilled into the road.
He said: "Somebody clocked I was wearing a Jewish symbol on my necklace.
"All of a sudden, a crowd of people had surrounded the car and were shouting anti-Jewish chants.
"Somebody stuck a banner through the car window and I had to struggle to fight them off.
"They were calling me a terrorist and Jewish scum and insulting my family.
"They were pushing and kicking the car and caused £400 damage to the bodywork.
"This abuse was racist and highly personal and deeply offended me.
"It's not what I expected from a peace protest.