Israeli supporters counter-protest at cinema after doors defaced

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The Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley was expected to be surrounded by pro-Palestinian protesters as campaigners called to boycott the Seret film festival and a private showing of Supernova: The Music Festival Massacre at the venue tonight (May 23).

The documentary tells the story of the young victims and survivors at the Nova festival in Re’im during the October 7 Hamas attack.

But even before the screening took place, the cinema was defaced with graffiti reading ‘say no to art washing’.

To counter the pro-Palestinian action, which was set to take place at 7pm at the same time the film was shown, hundreds of Israeli supporters gathered outside the cinema.

Footage shows many waving Israeli flags, chanting and holding placards to get their voices heard.

The Hertfordshire Friends of Israel group said there was “plenty of support for Israel”.

Earlier today, the Phoenix Cinema Trust said it would go ahead with showing the film, despite the conflict, saying that it should “not aim to censor or veto the content of screenings”.

It added: “We seek a diversity of work and voices in our programming and we also welcome hosting a range of private hires which allow individuals and communities to choose their own content.

“We know that our supporters – like the general public – have passionate and strongly held views about events in Israel and Palestine.

“We appreciate that some do not agree with our decision. Despite this, we hope that people will remain committed to our shared vision of a vibrant, sustainable and independent cinema in East Finchley for our local community and for London.”

Detective Superintendent Will Lexton-Jones said: “We are aware that additional pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian demonstrators have attended an event outside the Phoenix cinema in Barnet.

“Section 14 conditions were put in place. This means that demonstrators could continue to protest, but had to move into designated areas. This was to keep all those involved safe.

“Pro-Palestinian protestors have now left the area and officers remain on scene to help minimise congestion and keep roads open.” 

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