The busy High Road in East Finchley was shut down for more than an hour last night as an angry mob of Israel supporters descended on the independent Phoenix cinema. It is a major north London route for several buses, and an ambulance artery for the Whittington hospital, but that didn’t stop protesters from breaking out of the area organised by police, and intimidating a small peaceful vigil on the opposite side of the road.

Workers at the cinema recently discovered that the trustees had accepted a booking from the Seret Israeli Film Festival for a private screening of the controversial propaganda film Supernova The Music Festival Massacre, which makes uncorroborated and discredited claims of beheaded babies and mass rapes, often used to justify support for the current genocide in Gaza.

In solidarity with the call for a cultural boycott, and backed by their union BECTU, the cinema workers refused to work for the festival, and outside staff had to be brought in to cover. A peaceful picket and vigil was also organised opposite the cinema in order to protest the screening.

Zionist groups launched a massive campaign for a counter-protest, and last night they turned up in droves, chanting genocidal slogans, and throwing eggs and other missiles at the Palestinian protest. Some wore masks and scuffled with police.

Despite the intimidation, the Palestinian protesters continued their vigil and peaceful chants for more than an hour, but eventually took police advice to leave en masse via the East Finchley station. As police escorted them away from the cinema, the braying Israeli supporters broke into a chant of “IDF, IDF” and scuffled with police. A few young people were chased into an alleyway after being identified by the mob as Palestine supporters, and police had to organise a van to remove them safely from the vicinity after creating a cordon to keep back an angry crowd.

Despite being shaken by the violent reception, protesters said they would keep up their campaign to identify instances where the State of Israel still continues to operate in the UK and protest to make it difficult.

This week the International Criminal Court sought arrest warrants on Israeli and Hamas leaders, and today the International Court of Justice issued an order for Israel to stop all military operations in Rafah, open the Rafah crossing, and allow in United Nations and other independent investigators (something they have refused ever since October 7).