Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The cost of hate marches

Rotherham businesses suffer after second protest in town

From the Sheffield Star 29 October:

ANGRY traders have hit out at far right extremist groups demonstrating in their town after a second protest took place in Rotherham at the weekend.

Shop keepers and business owners said trade was being damaged because members of the public were chosing to stay away from the town centre on protest days.

For the second time in a fortnight the normally busy town was empty as around 40 members of the National Front staged a protest outside the former library and civic buildings in Drummond Street.

Police were prepared for trouble to break out and leave was cancelled as around 850 officers took to the streets.  The demonstrations passed off peacefully and no arrests were made.

A ring of steel was thrown around All Saints Square where 700 members of the Unite Against Facism gathered to oppose the protest.

The police operation came just two weeks after a march by the English Defence League and a counter protest by Unite Against Facsism.

General Store owner Richard Nutt said:
I have never seen anything like it. I just wish these people would do this somewhere else.
Another trader said:
Why do they keep coming here? Most people are totally against them and are staying away from town because they fear trouble. I have had just three customers through the door this morning - it’s ruining us.
Former miner Steve Arno, 52, said:
This is costing Rotherham a fortune, not only in paying for the extra police and in lost trade, but it’s costing the town its reputation.

Why do they keep coming here? Rotherham is not a racist place and we have no real problems with it.

 

Hate groups should pay the cost of their marches

MacShane Calls for an End to Hate Marches and Rallies as Rotherham is Hit by £1 Million Bill

From website of Rotherham MP MacShane:

Denis MacShane MP has expressed concern that shopkeepers, market traders and other town centre businesses in Rotherham are being targeted by extreme right-wing groups in order to do economic damage to the town.  He said:
The total cost of policing and loss of business to Rotherham by the insistence on right-wing hate groups parading through the town centre on two busy October Saturdays may be as high as £1 million. 
Last week MacShane appealed to the Home Office minister, Damian Green MP, to ban an extremist march by the National Front which followed on the economic damage down to Rotherham by an English Defence League march and rally held on October 13th.
Last Saturday as two weeks ago the police did a good job in not allowing any disturbances to get out of hand. But it was deeply provocative to hold this march on the festival of Eid al-Adha, which commemorate that wonderful story common to Muslims, Christians and Jews about Abraham being willing to sacrifice if necessary his own son which all schoolchildren should know by heart. It is one of the moments in the year when British Muslims come together and give each other presents as British Christians do at Christmas.

I believe the EDL, National Front and the rest of these extremist hate outfits should indemnify the shopkeepers and traders of Rotherham who lost business. Taxpayers will now have to fork out hundreds of thousands of pounds to pay for policing these event. I support free speech and the right to protest but I repeat my call to the police to organise and route these racist provocations in such a way that the struggling traders of Rotherham are not victims of the far right.
Below is a letter Denis MacShane sent the Home Secretary Theresa May and the Local Government Minister, Eric Pickles.

25 October 2012

Dear Theresa, Dear Eric,

Economic Impact of Extremist Anti-Muslim Marches

Two weeks after the English Defence League caused great economic hardship when it staged a march and rally in the centre of Rotherham on 13th October, we now face on Saturday 27th October a new invasion of Rotherham by racist thugs linked to other extreme right-wing organisations, including the National Front.

I am concerned at the two aspects of these demonstrations.

First, there is clear economic hardship caused to local shopkeepers, traders, market stall-holders, taxi-drivers and others who see the town centre emptied as these thugs are allowed to swagger carrying their Muslim-hate posters. Surely at some stage the Government has to accept that endless economic dislocation is a price too high to allow racist extremists uncontrolled access to invade and disrupt a town centre. My constituents are asking me about compensation for their loss of income. How do I reply to them?

Second, there is a notable increase of community tension as Rotherham’s British Muslim community react with anger at direct attacks on their faith and values. We would not allow an openly Jew-hating march to go into a Jewish area and in northern Ireland, the police and Parades Commission sought to prevent marches that were routed into Catholic communities as an act of deliberate sectarian provocation. Young Asians are saying that no one is willing to protect them and they are less willing to listen to advice urging them to stay at home and ignore the Muslim-hating racists as they swagger through the town centre where they work and shop. At some stage the view may grow that the Government and Police are more willing to protect the rights of the Muslim-haters than the right of a community not to face permanent aggression.

I have every confidence the police will do their best to prevent any disturbance but once again the Rotherham community feels it has to shut up shop, lose money, hide at home and hand over their town and community to outside racists.

I think the time has come for a policy re-think and I hope your two departments undertake this.

Yours sincerely

Denis MacShane MP
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Is Norwich prepared to pay the cost of the threatened march by the EDL on November 10? 




The EDL Is Dying Slowly in Its Union Jack Gimp Mask

From Vice Magazine by Simon Childs, Photos: Henry Langston:


This Saturday, the English Defence League had intended to stage a heroic return to Walthamstow in order to prove that they are still a far-right street army to be reckoned with, rather than a racist, drunken roadshow stumbling around the country getting laughed at.

At their last, ill-fated trip to Walthamstow in September, the EDL had to be frogmarched home by the police before their leaders had even been able to deliver their usual incoherent speeches, after anti-fascists surrounded their rally point and showered it with a hail of bottles, bricks and two-fingered salutes.

Humiliated, the EDL leadership announced that, rather than spend the afternoon of Saturday, the 27th of October in Norwich, which had been the plan (bad luck, Norwich), they would return to Walthamstow to prove, against all prior evidence, that they can march in East London without having their arses handed to them. This playground display of hubristic machismo was dubbed “Walthamstow – The Return”, making it sound like a straight-to-DVD Rambo sequel.

“The Return” never actually happened. The preceding weekend, leader Tommy Robinson was arrested three times on three separate charges and is currently in custody. The police, presumably bored of spending their weekends chaperoning a bunch of racist man-children, asked the Home Office if they wouldn’t mind banning the march. The Home Office agreed, presumably tired of paying the police’s overtime.


Rather than staying at home and brushing up on their sorely lacking video editing skills, those members who hadn’t already realised that the game is up and joined the ever-growing ranks of disaffected ex-EDL mutineers did the only thing the police allowed them to do, which was to stage a static demonstration in Westminster.
What with it being a busy tourist Saturday in the shadow of Big Ben, at times it became difficult to work out which people wearing Union Jack paraphernalia and giving the “peace” sign were racist goons, and which were confused Japanese tourists.


As the EDL failed to fill the police sanctioned playpen, the extent of their downfall hit home. At their peak, they get a couple of thousand idiots onto the streets. I’ve covered many a political demonstration, and this is the first one where I’ve actually head-counted the attendance, which I figured to be approximately 85. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, one moron decided to break out the Nazi salutes while wearing a Remembrance poppy, much to the confusion of his pals.


The demo felt like a vigil for Tommy Robinson, whom they were touting as some kind of far-right Aung San Suu Kyi. But the idea that he’s a “political prisoner” is bullshit – having been bailed after being arrested for planning to occupy a Mosque, and again when he was arrested in connection with an assault on his nemesis Sayful Islam, he was finally remanded in custody when he tried to enter the US with a fake passport. Which is a pretty surefire way to land yourself in prison, whatever your beliefs.


Even the anti-fascists in attendance looked like they pitied their foe, but they managed to overcome their sentimentality and get on with the important business of telling them to fuck off.


The demo reached its climax when an al-Qaeda flag was set on fire. Unfortunately for the EDL, the flag they’d chosen to bring along was tiny, and only took a few seconds to burn. The guy wearing the strange Union Jack gimp mask looked pretty humiliated.



The “demonstration”, such as it was, was over, so the EDL marched to the same pub they had started the day in. I imagine it was a novel experience for the bar staff, who are presumably more used to serving straight gin to jittery Lib Dem party hacks after a hard day’s “fagging” for their Tory overlords.



They may not be shaking up the body politic any more, but the EDL may yet succeed in giving Olde English cider’s head of PR a heart attack.



At this rate, that’s about all they’re going to achieve. It’s probably only people who were stupid enough to get an EDL tattoo that are still desperately trying to make it work.

Which is not to say that we can get complacent about racism. An animal is at its most dangerous when it’s cornered, and with both the EDL and the BNP indisarray the far-right is certainly that. Kevin Carroll – another EDL top dog – is running in the election for Police and Crime Commissioner in Bedfordshire, so I guess we’ll find out if – despite everything – the EDL is speaking for some kind of “silent majority” of bigots.

More likely, those people are as much a figment of the EDL’s collective imagination as the imminent implementation of Sharia law in the UK.

Follow Simon (@simonchilds13) and Henry (@Henry_Langston) on Twitter.


Monday, 29 October 2012

Protest Art

Photographer Ann Nicholls was in Walthamstow last Saturday with We Are Norwich.  She captured some of the spirit of the victory celebrations against the EDL in some images of the event -

Sunday, 28 October 2012

EDL washout in Walthamstow and Westminster

A handful of EDL was spotted skulking on the sidelines in Walthamstow, whilst a hard core of about 80 EDL made a pathetic show at the so-called "National Demonstration" in Westminster.

So this is today's EDL, ending not with a bang but with a washed out whimper.

One contingent of We Are Norwich went to London to counter protest the Westminster EDL, whilst the rest of We Are Norwich joined the celebrations in Walthamstow.  Celebrating keeping the EDL off the streets, and defeating them for the second time in Waltham Forest.
High jinks on the coach from Norwich to London
Walthamstow must be a racist's nightmare with its streets of people of every hue and its stores advertising Kashmir Hair Salon, Dial Halal, Polski Skep, Muslim Relief and Istanbul Groceries alongside the more traditional Chinese Jade Palace and Bengal Curry House.

Even more so yesterday as people united together in the bitter cold to repudiate the politics of division and hatred of the EDL in a grand Victory celebration. 
We Are Waltham Forest was well prepared
Posters and banners were everywhere
We were amazed at the public turnout on such a cold day
The police were friendly, helpful and quite easy on the eye
We found the street celebrations and unfurled the banner
Gill from We Are Waltham Forest meets Ann from We Are Norwich
The magnificent Sikhs
Support came from many areas, including Tower Hamlets
And Norwich

Saturday, 27 October 2012

A packed We Are Norwich meeting tells the EDL that they are not welcome

Around 120 people packed into the main hall of the Vauxhall Centre in Norwich to discuss how to tackle the unwelcome visit of the English Defence League to the city on Saturday 10th November.

Organisers were delighted that so many people came to the first public meeting of We are Norwich - a coalition of trade unionists, community groups and individuals, supported by amongst others; The Green Party City Council Group, the Norwich Labour Party, the Norwich Pride Collective, Unite against Fascism, Chapelfield Mosque, Ian Gibson and a host of trade union branches in the region. Last week, a group of church leaders in the city, including the Bishop of Norwich agreed to release a joint statement with the group.

The meeting began with several contributions from the platform. Hajj Uthman Morrison spoke on behalf of Chapelfield Mosque, Julie Bremner spoke as a trade unionist and a member of the Norwich Pride Collective, Lesley Grahame spoke as a member of the Jewish community, Samir Jeraj gave his perspective as a Muslim living in the city and an ex-Green Party councillor Emma Corlett spoke as a member of Norwich Labour Party and a Unison activist. 

Hajj Uthman Morrison said:
In the 1930s they blamed the depression on the Jews. Now they are blaming Islam - the fascists will pick on issues they think will divide us, but we must remain united. We are pleased people are supporting us and if you are attacked, we will support you too.

Julie Bremner said
Some people think if you ignore them they will go away, but this was not the case in the 1930s.
The meeing was closed by Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism giving a national perspective.  Weyman arrived late following meetings with the police in London - the EDL are attempting to march in Walthamstow this Saturday (27th October).

In between these speeches, around 20 people also spoke passionately from the floor before the speakers came back and answered questions.  Many of the questions were centered around the need for a peaceful response to the EDL tactics on the day, the right to protest and the state ban and how to mobilise as many people as possible on the day.

One of the speakers said
The EDL must hate me; I am an immigrant. I am a woman and I am political.
Organisers will be releasing details of the counter-demo over the next week, following final discussions with the police but the plan as it stands is to meet at Chapelfield Gardens from 11am and march through the city before having some speeches and music at the end.  People were keen to make sure that City Hall was kept safe as this is the target of the EDL's protest.  More people are supporting the coalition every day and one of the best recieved contributions was a statement of support read by Jessica Goldfinch from the Progressive Jewish Community of East Anglia.

Members of the English Defence League had threatened to disrupt the meeting but We are Norwich worked with the venue and the police to make sure the evening passed by safely.

For more information about We are Norwich please contact Nick O'Brien on 07717504210 or email norwichuaf@gmail.com


Friday, 26 October 2012

Will the real Norfolk EDL please stand up?

From Michael Walker of HnhNorfolk:

In recent weeks I have been talking to Ivan Humble, one of the EDL’s most dedicated members in Norfolk and Suffolk, on Twitter. Our exchanges grew from the occasional mickey-taking by me on Tommy’s latest (mis)adventures to one where we were talking more seriously about how we both firmly believed that whatever our deep rooted differences, violence and intimidation are not the answer.

Ivan was very keen to point out that he strongly disproved of the threatening approach by other local EDL members. (Look at @pollitix and @EastAnglianEDL to see the often mundane exchanges.)

Ivan said that he wasn’t planning on attending the We are Norwich meeting last Wednesday and I suggested that he would be at no danger if he did attend.

I was surprised to see that in parallel with these discussions he was telling other EDL members such as Sam Burgess that he was planning on attending. 

Yesterday on this local HnhNorfolk blog he posted:
In response to your post, yes two members of the public from Lowestoft were intending to attend the meeting, they didn't however due to personal reasons. They too had discussed with the police before attending, and had not hidden the fact that they would attend. There was no intention of causing disorder but only to listen to the speakers you had appointed.  Please note that it was actually requested that no other members of EDL attend.  If the administrator of the (main) Hope not Hate blog that posted the article yesterday raising concerns that 'EDL thugs' were planning an attack, had posted the comment we made in response you all would have been aware that the EDL were not attending!

The reason for 2 people attending was that they had a particular interest, this being the speaker from Chapelfield Mosque. They have met with a prominent member of said Mosque regularly over the past year and have also attended twice to the breaking of fast during Ramadan and so, were interested as to the content of their speech, is this such a crime?
Barbara posted the response because it was a reasonable explanation as to what they were up to and it was very interesting in itself – they claimed to have been meeting with a local member of the Chapelfield Mosque for the last year and even broke their fast with them.

For this, if true, the EDL deserve credit – Barbara and I both believe strongly in dialogue over aggressive bombastic rhetoric. (I would love to have heard the exchanges).

Therefore, we were somewhat astonished to see the posts in the open EastAnglia EDL “fan page” concerning the successful We are Norwich meeting.

The meeting's success created major problems for the EDL. On the one hand they are obsessed with trying to portray anyone attending as extreme left scum. 

United for peace in Norwich

On the other hand, as the photograph shows, they can see that the We Are Norwich meeting had quite a few ordinary citizens of Norwich, of all ages and many walks of life, ordinary citizens looking as if they mean business, united in serious opposition to the EDL threats to march on the city 10 November.

Too perplexed to consider whether the audience might be genuinely representative of the broad multi-cultural community of Norfolk, one EDL member resorted to “..the fucking sad low life old bastards nothing better to do with their sad and lonely boring lives makes me fucking sick.”

So I have a direct question to Ivan Humble – are you the reasonable and peaceable individual who posted the response to our blog shown above or are you the EDL supporter that writes
I shit myself with fear when I look at this group of UAF freedom fighters
A straight forward person can’t write such differing comments, can he?

So the question is, are you breaking bread with Chapelfield Mosque or looking forward to breaking heads with Anthony Bamford?



Wednesday, 24 October 2012

EDL no show in Norwich

Earlier today Matthew Collins of HOPE not hate reported that:
Well known EDL thugs from Norwich are planning to attend a planning meeting tonight being held by activists meeting to discuss ways to counter the EDL's planned violent activities in the city.
The evidence he quoted was from Facebook comments where members of Norfolk EDL discussed coming along to the We Are Norwich public meeting that was held this evening.

Apparently two of those promising to come were from Lowestoft.  Only one was from Norwich. 

Nobody was much worried.  Our meeting was secure, thanks to the police, and in the end, as expected, no EDL dared to show up. 

Over a hundred other people did.  A hundred Norwich folk concerned about the threat the EDL poses, but determined to confront that threat.  Speaker after speaker denounced the way the EDL singled out individuals in our communities for insult, violence and worse; many reminded us of the historical consequences of such scapegoating; and speaker after speaker urged the importance of standing up together to challenge and thwart this latest crop of bullies from the far right.   

The meeting forged a greater commitment to keeping Norwich a city safe for all citizens. 

We Are Norwich is a broad coalition from many different backgrounds with all of us setting aside any differences to give one clear message:  the EDL is not welcome in Norwich.

100 people at the We Are Norwich meeting tonight. Fantastic contributions so far. Whose Norwich - Our Norwich!
United for peace in Norwich


Walking Dead

The head of the EDL may have been cut off with the detention of Stephen Lennon in Wandsworth Prison, but the EDL zombie body still twitches violently.

On-line undead members of the EDL internet boards have apparently not learnt anything from the events of the weekend when Lennon and fifty other EDL members in uniform black balaclavas were intercepted by the police allegedly on their way to some planned illicit demonstration in London. 

Many of us enjoy the irony of Lennon complaining about all the Muslims in prison after a political career spent complaining that there were not enough Muslims in prison.

The knee-jerk EDL reaction, however, as expressed on the far right internet boards, has been one of mindless rage and defiance rather than sober reflection.  EDL members, or at least, the zombies amongst them, seem unable to grasp that flouting the law often has consequences.  
 
So the zombies left in the EDL still threaten to march on Norwich as planned - or rather shuffle along uttering incoherent groans and wails - in retaliation against what the EDL terms "oppression" by the police.

The hard core of the far right is persisting in behaviour that results in nothing but grief for the EDL, and the few remaining "Walkers" of the EDL are not adept at changing tactics. 

That's why it is still important to resist the EDL, to show that their disruptive and destructive zombie marches are not welcome, least of all in Norwich.

And at the same time it is still important to suggest to the exploited EDL members who are not yet entirely brain dead that they urgently rethink their political strategy.

Public Meeting: WE ARE NORWICH

This evening

Wednesday 24th Ocober
19:30 hours 
The Main Hall, the Vauxhall Centre, Johnson Place Norwich

All welcome to participate as speakers advise on non-violent protest and how to avoid any trouble, in preparation for the counter demonstration against the EDL in Norwich 10 November

**There will be police security at the meeting**
 

British far right collapses

From New Europe by Andy Carling 23 October, 2012:

Bottom of the league, end of the party

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, leader of the English Defence League (EDL), has spent years in a controversial campaign to see “extremist Muslims” imprisoned and is now complaining that the prison he is now in is “full of Muslim extremists.”

Yaxley-Lennon and 52 others have been arrested in a dramatic police swoop as they travelled to London for an unofficial demonstration outside a mosque. The far right extremists, including candidate for Bedfordshire Police Commissioner, Kev Carroll had hired trucks for the extremists to hide in as they attempted to reach their destination unnoticed.

The police were aware of the operation and stopped the vehicles and arrested the occupants.
EDL in cunning disguise in the back of a van on the way to London
Yaxley-Lennon has been charged with assault and using a false passport to attend a demonstration in New York in September, which carries both the risk of being extradited to the US or a sentence of up to 10 years in the UK.

This may be the same false identity he used to enter the European Parliament earlier in the year for a covert meeting of extremists, including several repeatedly praised by Norwegian killer, Anders Breivik.

Sajjad Karim MEP, whose house was invaded by EDL thugs, three of which were imprisoned for the demonstration said,
It is deeply alarming to hear that such a high profile extremist figure was able to enter and exit America with false documentation. And this comes after his anti-Islam speech in the European Parliament in July where again he entered by using false documents. This lunatic is a danger to society and must be reprimanded.
The fortunes of the EDL have faded over the last year, to a point where they can no longer bring people to demonstrations in significant numbers. A high turnout now is around 10% of their peak.

They have also failed to transform themselves into a political force. Not only have they failed to articulate a policy agenda, in May Yaxley-Lennon and his cousin Kev Carroll became vice-chairmen of the British Freedom Party, an organization with a tiny membership, founded by Paul Watson, formerly of UKIP.

Robinson resigned from the party in October, after a disastrous EDL demonstration in Walthamstow in London. The poorly attended rally was halted by local people and the EDL leaders ran back to Luton, leaving their members to be arrested and held for hours.

The EDL members have not provided a boost to the BFP membership. However, Yaxley-Lennon has been courted by American ‘counter-jihadists’ like Pamela Geller, whose demonstration he attended in New York, which has now landed him in trouble.

Paul Weston has tried to stand by the EDL leader. He visited Wormwood Scrubs prison in London demanding to meet Yaxley-Lennon but was arrested for causing a breach of the peace. The ineptitude of the far-right party can be seen from the fact that Yaxley-Lennon was actually in Wandsworth prison, some distance away.

The EDL have promised to return to Walthamstow, but with all 53 of those arrested barred from the area, it is hard to see how it will be anything but another failure.

However, as the EDL collapses into chaos, and there is further trouble coming as they search for the informer behind the latest arrests, members attitudes have hardened, with more open threats of violence and even acts of terrorism are debated between them, not only privately but on social networks.

The decline is mirrored in the British National Party, who now only have one MEP, Nick Griffin after his colleague, Andrew Brons quit the party. Many were surprised that Brons was still a member, having been at odds with Griffin for some time. Brons claims that “80% or 90% of the party's membership, activists and former officials have left it and disappeared in several different directions."

Griffin may be joining the EDL leader in prison. After a recent court ruling where a gay couple were compensated for being turned away from a guest house, run by Christians, the BNP leader sent messages over the social media service Twitter, spreading the couple’s home address and promising that they would be visited by “a British Justice team.”

Griffin has announced that he was prepared to go to jail over the issue, telling a Christian radio station, "I don’t want to, but the fact is that we are in, now, a totalitarian society where the indigenous majority of Christians and heterosexuals are the oppressed majority and I’m prepared to go to prison to protect their rights."

With the EDL and BNP, who detest each other, short of funds, having their political ambitions thwarted and the membership dissolving into competing splinter groups or giving up entirely, the far right in Britain is dying.

This is not surprising. They are convinced that Islam is about to enslave the world. In the real world, people are concerned over the financial crisis and the effects of austerity. Instead of addressing this, the far right has been living in a paranoid fantasy world, completely disconnected from the hopes and fears of ordinary people.

Yaxley-Lennon is due in court 7 January 2013.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Norwich EDL member's plea for "dear leader"

From Still Laughing At The English Defence League:

Stephen Lennon, (29 - 27/11/82), unemployed, of Bedford appeared in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday, 22 October charged with possession of a false identity document with improper intention (contrary to Section Identity Documents Act 2010).

He was remanded in custody to appear at Southwark Crown Court on a date in January 2013.
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HnhNorfolk adds:
Stephen Lennon was remanded in prison on a charge of entering the United States illegally. This refers to his visit to New York last month to speak at the International Freedom Defense Congress organised by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s Stop Islamization of Nations (SION).
Tommy Robinson, Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch and Pamela Geller


Lennon had previously been refused entry to the US when he tried to attend a demonstration (also organised by Geller and Spencer) in September 2010. So it seems likely that he passed through US customs to attend last month’s conference using a passport based on false documentation.

Stephen Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, aka Stephen Lennon-Yaxley, is the leader of the EDL, a far right group that threatens to march on Norwich 10 November. 

So where does this arrest leave all the slavishly faithful EDL followers who have misguidedly put their faith in this man and handed over their hard earned cash to him?

I almost feel sorry about how these vulnerable followers of the tin-pot racists of the far right are exploited, again and again, and still don't get it.

For example, the penny has not yet dropped for an English Defence League's Norwich Division member Sam Burgess.  He still has no inkling of how serious this charge is both for Lennon and for the EDL.

Pathetically, passionately, Burgess declared his support for Lennon/Robinson as follows:
we must still stick by him! he's done so much for us and its time we gave something back!
Well Sam, it's easy to help.  All your leader wants is more and even more of your money.  There are a number of appeals already up on EDL sites and Facebook, so what are you waiting for? 

Hand over all you can to your dear leader who has done so much for you, he'll be ever so grateful, no need to hesitate - go for it.

Doors kicked in: Long may it continue




EDL wastes £5,000

**From Luton and Dunstable Express :

A prospective candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) role in Bedfordshire has reportedly been arrested just hours after officially lodging his nomination.

Kevin Carroll, who was running on behalf of the political wing of the English Defence League (EDL) the British Freedom Party, is understood to have been arrested on Saturday alongside leader of EDL Tommy Robinson.

The right wing group confirmed Mr Carroll’s and Mr Robinson’s arrest via their Twitter page, with the candidate understood to be one of 53 held following an undercover police operation.

It is claimed that police in riot vans stopped vehicles carrying EDL members on the M1 near Luton on Saturday.

A spokesman for The Metropolitan Police, who led the operation, said the arrests were made following intelligence which led them to believe there were planned disturbances in east London.

When questioned if it was true Carroll was one of those arrested a response from the EDL’s official Twitter account responded ‘It’s true’.

It was only on Friday Kevin Carroll officially submitted the 100 signatures and £5,000 cash needed to run as a candidate and is the latest revelation to hit the PCC election in Bedfordshire.
Kevin Carroll For Police Commissioner!
From Bedford Today:

A man standing for a new role overseeing policing across Bedfordshire was arrested on Saturday, according to reports.

Kevin Carroll is the English Defence League (EDL) candidate to become Police And Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Bedfordshire in next month’s election.

It is claimed that he was one of 53 EDL members arrested at the weekend, along with party leader Tommy Robinson, aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.

The reports appeared to be confirmed by the EDL’s official Twitter feed.

Responding to one Twitter-user who posted “Is it true about Tommy and Kev getting arrested today ???” the EDL site replied: “It is true.”

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said:
On the afternoon of Saturday, October 20, MPS officers arrested 53 people at various locations on motorways on the outskirts of London.

The arrests formed part of an intelligence-led, pre-event investigation into a planned disturbance in east London on the same day.

All 53 were males and they were arrested for conspiracy to cause public nuisance before being taken into custody at various locations in central and south London.

Today, October 21, those arrested are being bailed pending further enquiries, on the condition they do not enter east London to demonstrate for a stipulated period of time.
Mr Carroll is one of four candidates for the newly-created commissioner role.

**Later:
Please note that according to the comment below, which is supported by a link, this newspaper report is inaccurate in one detail about the arrest of PCC candidate Kev Carrol.

However the fact that a PCC candidate was arrested at all is the main point.



Saturday, 20 October 2012

53 EDL arrested

Tommy Robinson and 53 EDL supporters held after Police Motorway Sting

From EDL News:  20 October 2012

Fifty three members of English Defence League members were arrested on the M1 this afternoon whilst allegedly travelling to target a mosque in London.

Members were said to have gathered in a pub in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, before boarding a furniture removal van. Police in riot vans pulled the van over after laying in wait for them on the motorway.

The plan was to use the TUC demonstration in London as a cover knowing the Met police would be stretched the maximum.
Among those arrested are EDL leader Tommy Robinson aka Stephen Yaxley Lennon and we also believe that Deputy leader Kevin Carroll who is also running for the Police commissioner's position in Bedfordshire on behalf of the EDL's political wing, the British Freedom Party has also been arrested as well as leader of the British Freedom Party, Paul Weston.

It is alleged that the hired vehicles were to be used as a Trojan horses in order to get large amount of fascists near to their targets quickly and efficiently.

This stunt is thought to have been carried out to boost Tommy Robinson's profile after a series of disastrous demonstrations, most noticeably in Walthamstow, east London where they were escorted out of the area for their own safety whilst Tommy, Kev and Paul Weston disappeared back to Luton, leaving the 200 or so that has turned up mass arrested for hours and stranded in the Capital.

Earlier in the week Tommy had been bragging about his 'boys day out' on Twitter.

The information was passed to us by a member of the British Freedom Party who had thought this action was going too far for her liking.

Other members of both organisations were also concerned that the action had gone too far from their mission statements when this was posted on a Facebook Group this afternoon.

Norwich Vigil against hate crimes


Join us in Norwich tonight at the Vigil

On Saturday 20th October 2012, Chapelfield Gardens will be lit by candles as people gather together near the Peace Pillar for a Vigil to remember victims of Hate Crime.

The Pride choir will open the Vigil at 7.30pm, singing from the Bandstand, and there will be speakers from various community groups. The most powerful moments of all will be at 8pm when we share two minutes silence with people gathered in Trafalgar Square and at Vigils across the world.

This is the fourth year that Norwich Pride has organized a Vigil. The first one was in 2009 when Ian Baynham was murdered in a homophobic attack in Trafalgar Square. 10,000 people attended a Vigil there and we showed our support with a Vigil here in Norwich. It’s an event that we invite everyone to attend – it’s not just LGBT people who suffer from Hate Crimes. The organizers of the Trafalgar Square Vigil are 17-24-30, a group formed to remember the victims of the London nailbomb attacks in 1999 that targeted the Black, Asian and Gay communities of Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho.
SAY NO TO HATE
Every year we’ve had speakers from Opening Doors, a local self-advocacy organisation for people with learning difficulties. Their stories of the hate crimes that people with disabilities face are a compelling reminder that if we want to live in a city where everyone can feel safe and proud to be themselves, we all have a responsibility to say No to Hate.


Call for English Defence League to be banned from marching in Waltham Forest

From London24 October 19, 2012:

An emergency motion has been passed to call for the English Defence League (EDL) to be banned from holding a march in the streets of Waltham Forest.

The group is planning a march in the borough on Saturday, October 27, just weeks after it last held a demonstration in the area.
Last night Waltham Forest’s 60 councillors unanimouosly voted in favour of an emergency motion calling for the group to be banned from holding the march, with the motion saying the council would “take every appropriate legal action to prevent the EDL from marching here on October 27”.  Cllr Chris Robbins, leader of Waltham Forest Council, said:
This is not about the right to protest peacefully, this is about the EDL targeting our community less than 60 days after they last marched here.
The motion calls on the Metropolitan Police and the Home Secretary to take action to prevent the EDL marching on October 27, citing public disorder, serious damage to property and serious disruption to the lives of residents and businesses in Walthamstow as reasons.  It says:
This council notes with outrage that the EDL is once again planning to march in Waltham Forest on Saturday 27th October.

We believe that it is clear from current evidence that the march planned for October 27 will be a much larger and more confrontational event.
The council has been collecting signatures on a petition calling for the ban, and is planning to take a lobby to Parliament on Tuesday to present the petition to the Home Secretary.  Cllr Robbins said:
We’ve got a fantastic sense of community here, where people from all different backgrounds get along well.

This has been a fantastic year for Waltham Forest, and being part of London 2012 brought us closer together than ever as a community.
As part of its Waltham Forest - United Strong Together Campaign the council will be hosting an event to celebrate all that is great about Waltham Forest on October 27.

The campaign has also led to a meeting with MP Iain Duncan Smith and Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowling, where Cllr Robbins raised residents’ concerns.

For more information or to sign the petition click here.


Friday, 19 October 2012

Nick Griffin should take responsibility for hate crime

From HOPE not hate:

Nick Griffin had his twitter account suspended last night after he posted the address of a Gay couple who had won their case against discriminating B&B owners. And to make matters worse Griffin called for direct action to be taken on the Gay couple.
I’m angry about this as it’s hate crimes awareness week and the team at HOPE not hate and so many other organisations have been doing our best to explore the issues around hate crime. It angers me that as we prepare to gather on Saturday evening in Trafalgar Square to hold a vigil for victims of hate crime that Nick Griffin goes online to, quite frankly, incite it.

Please help by counter signing my letter to Cambridgeshire Police

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/nick-griffin-crime

The BNP is a breeding ground for hate. Those who think the party is simply racist don't know the half of it. Griffin's party's hate is indiscriminate, it knows no bounds and it has no sympathy. That’s why, at 1 pm today, I’m sending the letter to the police.

In 1999 David Copeland planted the nail bomb in the Admiral Duncan pub that killed three people dead and injured many many more. And Copeland would have killed more if his bomb in the heart of London’s black and Asian communities had detonated to plan. Copeland, a former BNP member, told police that he wanted to start a race war so white people would vote in a BNP Government.

David Copeland wasn't born with hate inside him, it was fed to him and nurtured to manifest. Organisations like the BNP who create and incite hate need to start taking responsibility for what they create and who they harm.

So I call on Nick Griffin to be legally accountable to any hate crime that Michael Black and John Morgan face in light of his twitter comments.

Let’s hold Griffin to account for inciting hatred

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/nick-griffin-crime

I’m sending the letter at 1pm so please co-sign it by then

Thanks

David Braniff-Herbert

LGBT Officer for HOPE not hate

To East Anglian Division of the EDL

From Michael Walker of HnhNorfolk:

The East Anglian Division of the EDL say they are protesting against Norwich City Council’s treatment of Alan Clifford on the basis of “equality issues.” This is one of the most hilarious statements that I have ever read.

Do the EDL have any idea what other views Alan Clifford possesses? In general, his views on the literal interpretation of the Bible make even the most extreme exaggeration of Islam by the EDL appears more moderate than his fire and brimstone approach.

According to his own words his support for “an eye for an eye” Old Testament Justice was to ensure that only an eye was extracted – well that’s alright then…

As Barbara has suggested, on balance the City Council’s response to Clifford’s leaflet might well have been disproportionate. Banning him has only given him more publicity and has provided the spurious grounds for the EDL demonstration in Norwich.

However, the East Anglian EDL is being completely dishonest in trying to use Clifford’s ban as the justification for their protest.

As far back as 2009, Sam Burgess, Tony Bamford, Andy Reynolds and others of the EDL repeatedly spoke about trying to organise a march in Norwich. Are you now denying that this is true? (Sadly the paranoid vision of a super Mosque in Magdalen Street never materialised..)

So using the ban of the clearly barmy Clifford is an opportunistic justification, isn’t it?

The EDL are legally entitled to organise a protest in Norwich and however repugnant their views they should be allowed to do so. However, if many sane and rational Norfolk folk want to come together under the auspices of We are Norwich what exactly is your problem?

Or, are you saying that the EDL should be allowed to protest but We are Norwich shouldn’t be allowed?

So you support free speech for Clifford & the EDL but not for people who oppose you?

This free speech thing is bloody confusing – when Barbara suggested that on balance Clifford shouldn’t have been banned she was attacked vigorously by a commentator for being anti-Islam, so on this basis the EDL and a pro Islam commentator are on the same side. Barbara is probably pleased to have brought both sides together but somewhat amused that advocates of free speech only appear to want their own voices to be heard.

To reiterate from a personal perspective – the EDL is mainly a racist organisation with racist members and anybody who claims otherwise needs their heads examining. In an ideal world the EDL wouldn’t exist and you wouldn’t be protesting in Norwich. However, if you have a legal right to do so then go ahead and protest, albeit for a Pastor who believes in an eye for eye justice system.

At the same time, it is pretty pathetic to complain that you are being miss-represented by those horrible lefties just because they are annihilating you in the propaganda battle. And this of course is the ultimate irony – every single time the EDL protests in a town or city, the community responds by coming together in an unprecedented manner to show that your basically racist and divisive message has no support.

Norfolk is a wonderful community and in terms of numbers peacefully protesting against your message it will probably exceed any other number yet seen in terms of EDL and protestors.

In case the EDL manage to sound too convincing as men and women of peace . . have a read of this . . .
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This article is a response to three identical messages which read:

From eastangliandivision18 October 2012 17:48

The English Defence League are intending to hold a demonstration in Norwich to protest at Norwich City Council’s unfair treatment to the Norwich Reformed Church regarding ‘equality issues’.

A complaint was made by one member of the public to the Police, who took no action against Dr Clifford, but the Council decided to adopt their own politically correct appeasement to this one member of the public.

Where in this statement does it say the EDL are demonstrating against any ethnic minority/faith/religion? they are demonstrating against Norwich City Council, the only people making an issue of this demo are 'we are Norwich' falsely reporting through pre-conceptions as to why the EDL are there. As you celebrate the citys diversity should you yourselves not be asking the council why they are dealing with cases in such a way?

East Anglian EDL Admin Team

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Griffin the homophobe

From the Independent:
Police investigate Griffin after BNP leader reveals gay couple's address
by Jonathan Brown 

Police launched an investigation into Nick Griffin last night after the BNP leader published the address of a gay couple on Twitter and urged activists to demonstrate outside their home.

Michael Black, 64, and his partner John Morgan, 59, were yesterday awarded £3,600 after winning a landmark legal battle against the owners of a bed and breakfast in Berkshire who refused to let them share a double room.

But hours later, Mr Griffin used Twitter to publish the couple's Cambridgeshire address. Mr Griffin wrote:
A British Justice team will come up to Huntington [sic] & give you a bit of drama by way of reminding you that an English couple's home is their castle. Say No to heterophobia!
The couple were last night in talks with lawyers at the human rights group Liberty, which has backed their campaign, to discuss their next move, but dozens of people are thought to have contacted police on their behalf.

A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman said:
We have received a number of calls in relation to these tweets and are looking into the complaints we have received.
Mr Griffin denied he was urging his far-right supporters to break the law, but last night his Twitter account was suspended. "We are not just against them, we are looking for the judge as well – he's a bloody fool. We are going to wake them up in the morning with loud music and leaflet their neighbours to tell them what a nasty bunch of bigots they are," he said.

Although it is not illegal to post an address online, the threat to picket the private home could fall foul of section 127(1) of the Communications Act 2003 as well as breaching Twitter's terms of service. Users of the social networking site hit back last night by posting the address of the BNP MEP.

Earlier, Reading County Court had heard how owner Susanne Wilkinson declined to let the couple stay in a double room at the Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Cookham, Berkshire, in March 2010 because of her religious views – despite them having made a reservation and paid a deposit. Recorder Claire Moulder dismissed the owner's argument that she had not acted in a discriminatory way because she objected to homosexual sexual behaviour rather than homosexual sexual orientation.

She also said the policy of only giving double rooms to married couples was indirectly discriminatory.

The couple said they were still waiting to hear whether there would be an appeal by Mrs Wilkinson and that the final outcome could be dependent on another similar case due to go before the Supreme Court in 2014.

Speaking before Mr Griffin's comments, Mr Black said:
It feels like a triumph because it has taken two-and-a-half years to get this far so to get the judgment and be vindicated on it is a great feeling.
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According to other reports, Mr Griffin's twitter account has been suspended.
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Hear Griffin on BBC Breakfast

Nicky A A Campbell speaks to Nick Griffin MEP about his tweets concerning a gay couple who won a B&B discrimination case.