Protests held at screening of Hamas attack film

Protesters and counter-protesters gathered in north London over the screening of a documentary about the Hamas attack on 7 October.

Pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian supporters protested outside the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley on Thursday over the screening of Supernova: The Music Festival Massacre, which focuses on the victims and survivors of the Hamas attack on the Nova festival.

Pro-Palestine groups called for the screening to be cancelled at the protest, while crowds waving Israeli flags staged a counter protest.

The cinema, which was defaced with red graffiti in the lead up to the screening, said it did not "take sides" and as an independent venue should "uphold freedom of expression".

The Met Police said it was investigating the vandalism as a possible "hate crime". No arrests had yet been made.

On 7 October, more than 360 young partygoers were killed by Hamas attackers, who stormed the festival site near the Israel-Gaza perimeter fence. Another 40 were taken hostage.

The film was shown as part of the Israeli film festival Seret, which was held in London from 16 to 23 May.

A spokesperson for the Met Police said that Section 14 conditions were put in place during the protest.

"Demonstrators could continue to protest, but had to move into designated areas. This was to keep all those involved safe," the force said.

"Pro-Palestinian protestors left the area and officers remained on scene to help minimise congestion and keep roads open.’’

'Difficult content'

Images shared of the cinema on social media appeared to show graffiti sprayed on its front doors which said "say no to artwashing".

The graffiti has since been removed.

More than £10,000 has been raised for the cinema to cover the cost of cleaning and any repairs.

A spokesperson for Phoenix Cinema said: "We believe that an independent cinema should uphold freedom of expression and want to show difficult content.

"For the sake of clarity, we would be equally supportive of a difficult Palestinian film because, as a charity, we do not take sides.

"While some of our audience may not agree with this screening, we consider others will be very supportive and would have been dismayed if we had refused to host [international Israeli film festival] Seret this year."

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