Anti-racist campaigners have organised a series of counter demonstration tactics for next month's Scottish Defence League (SDL) protest in Edinburgh. The controversial anti-Islam group is planning a demonstration in the capital on 20 February.
Edinburgh Anti-Fascist Alliance have asked central pubs and bars in Edinburgh to ban the SDL from their premises before the demonstration.
The SDL is a sister organization of the English Defense League who describe themselves as anti-Jihadist and anti-Islam extremists.
“We are ordinary, non-racist citizens of England and supporters who have had enough of being treated as second-class citizens to the Jihadis in our own country,” the English Defense League (EDL) state on their website.
Opposing parties, such as the UAF (Unite Against Fascism), disagree. In a statement released on 20 December 2009, the UAF describes the Scottish Defence League as “a racist group with links to the fascist British National Party (BNP). The SDL is an offshoot of the English Defence League, which has a track record of whipping up race hatred against Muslims and against Asian people in general."
In response to such classifications, Mickey Smith, who is the Cardiff Organiser of Casuals United (the online web portal of the English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish Defense Leagues) says: “SDL has been set up as a non-sectarian protest group to protest against militant Islam in partnership with our English, Welsh and Irish partners.
"The people who have launched their vile accusations or racism at us are hardcore Communists, enemies of Britain. We are non-racist, non-political, we are simply against radical violent Islamists, and we demand that the government protect us from these people.”
The SDL held a demonstration in Glasgow on 14 November 2009 (picture, above), which they reported to be a success. However, Unite Against Fascism, a campaign against the BNP and other far-right groups, reported that the attempted demonstration in Glasgow was a failure as the SDL “was heavily outnumbered by anti-fascist protesters taking to the streets."
Among these protesters was Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who spoke at the Glasgow SDL counter-rally and said: “To the BNP, to the Scottish Defense League, to the English Defense League, to any racist Defense League, you are not welcome in Glasgow. You are not welcome anywhere in Scotland.”
The UAF invite the public to email or text in to add their signatures to the statement, which further reads: “There is no place for racists or fascists in Edinburgh’s multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious community. That is why we stand in solidarity with Edinburgh's Muslim community and against the poisonous bigotry of the SDL.”
The EDL and SDL alike have recently opposed groups such as Islam4UK which is led by Anjem Choudary.
Recently on their website, “UK Casuals United,” the English, Welsh, Irish and Scottish Defense Leagues posted an open letter to Anjem Choudary and the members of Islam4UK, offering to fund his relocation to a Middle Eastern country where Sharia Law is practiced and urging him to give up his British passport and citizenship.
The EDL further insists that they are not a fascist or racist organization, however video tapes from past marches and demonstrations show EDL protesters making Nazi salutes.