A bomb hoax Tuesday evening caused the cancellation of an event hosted by the Jewish Voice for Labour group as it was being held on the sidelines of the UK Labour party conference.
Some 200 people were evacuated from The Blackburne House building in Liverpool following a phone call from a man who said two devices would cause many casualties, the Liverpool Echo reported.
Other events in the building, including a Pilates class, a writers group, and a meeting of trainee teachers were also abandoned as people left the premises.
The JVL event was a screening of the “The Political Lynching of Jackie Walker” which deals with the tribulations of a Labour activist who has been accused of anti-Semitism.
JVL event organizer Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi told the Echo that 15 minutes after the film started a receptionist at the cultural center answered the phone and a man asked “‘Is there a Jewish event going on?”
The receptionist gave an evasive answer but the man then said “It is a big Jewish event and I want to tell you that there are two bombs that will kill many people in the building.” He then hung up.
Staff organized an evacuation of the building.
Police searched the building but did not find any explosive devices.
We have made a film so powerful, they are willing to try terror to stop it being shown – but it won't work. I will not be silenced. WE will not be silenced.
Walker, the subject of the film, had served as vice chair of Momentum, a grassroots group supporting Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has been accused of tolerating a climate of anti-Semitic and harshly anti-Israel behavior among party activists.
She was suspended in October 2016 after she told a Labour training session on how to confront anti-Semitism and engage Jewish voters that the national day to honor the victims of the Holocaust should not be solely about Jews.
When attendees at the session — which was organized by the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) at the annual party conference in Liverpool — told her that the day did in fact include non-Jewish victims, Walker said that “in practice it is not circulated and advertised as such.”
She was also accused of anti-Semitism for claiming that Jews were the chief financiers of the African slave trade to the Caribbean.
After the bomb scare Tuesday, Walker posted photos from the evacuation with a comment “I will never be silenced.
Police arrive after bomb threat to the Political Lynching of Jackie Walker.I will not be silenced!!!!
Wimborne-Idrissi said that organizers had hired security as they were expecting “some sort of trouble because we know our film is controversial, but we didn’t expect this kind of trouble.”
“It’s terrible because it means a film about free speech is being suppressed. You can see the irony.”
JTA contributed to this report.