Oxford Street: Men filmed spitting at Jewish people on buson December 2, 2021 at 2:43 pm

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described the footage filmed on Oxford Street as “disturbing”.

An alleged anti-Semitic incident involving passengers on a bus in central London is being treated as a hate crime, the Met Police has said.

It happened on Monday night in Oxford Street during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, the force said.

Footage appears to show men spitting at and abusing people on the bus. Boris Johnson said the clip was “disturbing”.

In the video, a man seems to make a Nazi salute and others wave their shoes – an insult in some countries.

No arrests have been made and police have appealed for information in the wake of the footage being posted on social media.

Some racial slurs about Muslims can also be heard from inside the bus, which had been hired by a group of Jewish people celebrating the eight-day festival. The Met said the incident would be looked at “in its entirety”.

Tamara Cohen, who was on the bus, said she did not hear anyone saying anything provocative to the group of men gathered outside the vehicle.

She described the group initially “standing around watching and making fun” of those on the bus.

Ms Cohen added: “Then as it went on they started getting really aggressive, shouting and being abusive.

“We wanted to leave but couldn’t because of the traffic.

“That’s when they came up to the bus and started banging on the bus with their shoes, swearing and shouting at us and making gestures.

“It was all really intense.”

The Met Police said officers were deployed to investigate after the incident was reported on Monday. They met the bus in Grosvenor Place and spoke to the occupants.

A spokesman added: “The group shown in the video could not be located at the time of the incident and there have been no arrests.

“The incident is being treated as a hate crime and officers will be assessing the available evidence to identify any possible lines of inquiry.”

However, Ms Cohen said she was disappointed in the police response.

She added: “They said they couldn’t do anything at the time because there was no actual violence that happened. That’s kind of ridiculous.

“I do feel like it was only after the video got more attention online that I started to see that the police started to take it more seriously.

“That’s pretty disappointing. They should have done something sooner.”

The President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, called for swift arrests.

She said: “We are appalled by the horrifying footage of Jewish people targeted on Oxford Street.

“We note that besides attempts to spit at them, at least one of the perpetrators appears to be performing a Nazi salute.”

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