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'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women

Posters had been put up for a parade by the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community

Lizzie Dearden
Wednesday 24 September 2014 17:16 BST
The posters were put up ahead of a Torah parade
The posters were put up ahead of a Torah parade (YouTube/Sam Aldersley)

A film-maker has protested against posters in north London that told women which side of the road they should walk on by putting up signs of his own.

The original posters, written in Yiddish and English, were put up in Stamford Hill by the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community for a Torah parade earlier this month and were removed by the council after complaints.

When Sam Aldersley saw one of the signs, he decided to make his own, reading “women – please feel free to walk wherever you want…it’s 2014," but they have also been taken down.

After putting them up around Stamford Hill when the previous posters had been removed, the 27-year-old filmed the reactions of passers-by.

“I was shocked and disgusted when I saw a poster telling women where to walk in Stamford Hill and had to do something about it,” he wrote in an explanation for the video.

A Haredi Jewish boy is seen pulling up on his bike by one, taking it down and cycling away and a man in traditional dress rips a poster off a tree, not noticing its duplicate on the other side of the trunk.

A Haredi Jewish boy was filmed taking down one of the alternative posters (YouTube/Sam Aldersley)

A group of ultra-Orthodox women and children walked past another sign apparently without noticing it and several boys stopped to consider one of the posters before walking away.

Chaim Hochhauser, from the local Shomrim group, said the signs were to prevent unrelated men and women from the religious sect from touching during the event and organisers had been told they “lacked explanation”.

He told the Evening Standard Mr Aldersley’s video had “blown up” a small issue even more than the initial publicity.

“Everyone knows this story has blown everything out of proportion,” he said.

“I have spoken to the organisers of the parade - they have apologised [for the signs]. They did not think it would get so public. It was just a misunderstanding.”

Rosemary Sales, a councillor for Stamford Hill West, said she received complaints about the initial posters, adding that it was “unacceptable to try to restrict women's movements in a public place”.

Stamford Hill is home to over 20,000 Haredi Jews, thought to be the largest population in any European city.

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