May 29, 2010

English Defence League: Inside the violent world of Britain's new far right

The English Defence League is planning a series of demonstrations this summer.
(To watch the video, go here)
Undercover Guardian investigation reveals plan by English Defence League to hit racially sensitive areas in attempt to provoke disorder over summer

MPs expressed concern tonight after it emerged that far-right activists are planning to step up their provocative street campaign by targeting some of the UK's highest-profile Muslim communities, raising fears of widespread unrest this summer.

Undercover footage shot by the Guardian reveals the English Defence League, which has staged a number of violent protests in towns and cities across the country this year, is planning to "hit" Bradford and the London borough of Tower Hamlets as it intensifies its street protests. Senior figures in the coalition government were briefed on the threat posed by EDL marches this week. [Today] up to 2,000 EDL supporters are expected to descend on Newcastle for its latest protest.

MPs said the group's decision to target some of the UK's most prominent Muslim communities was a blatant attempt to provoke mayhem and disorder. "This group has no positive agenda," said the Bradford South MP, Gerry Sutcliffe. "It is an agenda of hate that is designed to divide people and communities. We support legitimate protest but this is not legitimate, it is designed to stir up trouble. The people of Bradford will want no part of it."

The English Defence League, which started in Luton last year, has become the most significant far-right street movement in the UK since the National Front in the 1970s. A Guardian investigation has identified a number of known rightwing extremists who are taking an interest in the movement – from convicted football hooligans to members of violent rightwing splinter groups.

Thousands of people have attended its protests – many of which have descended into violence and racist and Islamophobic chanting. Supporters are split into "divisions" spread across the UK and as many as 3,000 people are attracted to its protests.

The group also appears to be drawing support from the armed forces. Its online armed forces division has 842 members and the EDL says many serving soldiers have attended its demonstrations. A spokeswoman for the EDL, whose husband is a serving soldier, said: "The soldiers are fighting Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and Iraq and the EDL are fighting it here … Not all the armed forces support the English Defence League but a majority do."

Following the British National party's poor showing in this month's local and national elections anti-racist campaigners say some far-right activists may be turning away from the ballot box and returning to violent street demonstrations for the first time in three decades.

Nick Lowles, from Searchlight, said: "What we are seeing now is the most serious, most dangerous, political phenomenon that we have had in Britain for a number of years. With EDL protests that are growing week in, week out there is a chance for major disorder and a major political shift to the right in this country."

In undercover footage shot by Guardian Films, EDL spokesman Guramit Singh says its Bradford demonstration "will be huge". He adds: "The problem with Bradford is the security threat, it is a highly populated Muslim area. They are very militant as well. Bradford is a place that has got to be hit."

Singh, who was speaking during an EDL demonstration in Dudley in April, said the organisation would also be targeting Tower Hamlets.

A spokesman for the EDL confirmed it would hold a demonstration in Bradford on 28 August because the city was "on course to be one of the first places to become a no-go area for non-Muslims". The EDL has already announced demonstrations in Cardiff and Dudley.

The former Home Office minister Phil Woolas said: "This is a deliberate attempt by the EDL at division and provocation, to try and push young Muslims into the hands of extremists, in order to perpetuate the divide. It is dangerous."

The EDL claims it is a peaceful and non-racist organisation only concerned with protesting against "militant Islam". However, over the last four months the Guardian has attended its demonstrations and witnessed racism, violence and virulent Islamophobia. During the election campaign David Cameron described the EDL as "dreadful people" and said the organisation would "always be under review".

A spokesman for the Home Office said that although the government was committed to restoring the right to "non-violent protest … violence and intimidation are wholly unacceptable and the police have powers to deal with individuals who commit such acts. The government condemns those who seek to spread hatred."

He added: "Individual members of EDL – like all members of the public – are of course subject to the law, and all suspected criminal offences will be robustly investigated and dealt with by the police."

Guardian

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Easily Duped Louts

Pablo said...

Bradford will burn in flames. It's already a rubble pit, most shops have moved out, and there is a hole in the ground. It doesn't take much to finish off Bradford once and for all.

If the coalition government don't ban this march, this one there will be serious bloodshed. Petrol bombs, guns, you name it, they will be used.

Violent Hitler-Loving fascist thug Watmough will use the EDL invasion to carry out provactive racist attacks, which will result in the UK's deadliest ever race riot.

If the police allow the EDL to chant racist abuse, things will kick off big time. Police brutality, impartiality and racism will see widespread racial violence aimed at destroying Bradford.

Don't underesimate the EDL. They are a terrorist threat, with people such as Wigan Mike and Liam Pinkham in the ranks.

On the week before the riot, Muslim graves will be vandalised, and mosques will be destroyed,a s the EDL prepare to cause world war III in Bradford.

Kev Scott love the jam said...

Extremely Dense Lackeys.

Anonymous said...

one minute 23 seconds into the film clip you can clearly see one Griffin's henchmen.
He was on front cover of Searchlight recently as he dragged a Times journalist out
In his forties hair swept back
Enoch Powell clone lookalike
Who is he?

indy said...

Hi there, AntiFascist,

Please can you publish our special article on Bradford on the Lancaster Unity Blog: -

https://northern-indymedia.org/articles/742

Cheers,

NIndy!

Anonymous said...

can any one tell me why they fly the jewish flag?

Anonymous said...

Well what did you expect? The ballet box didn't work, so now you will see people take to the streets. It won't just be EDL or BNP either. You won't be able to stop this no matter what you do. It's gone too far.

Jamie said...

Interesting article to republish on LU, Ketlan

http://sheffield.indymedia.org.uk/2010/05/452280.html?c=on#c248978

Anonymous said...

Nice, short and upbeat appraisal of today's Nazzer outing in the North-East, titled EDL in the Toon:

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/05/452286.html

NewsHound said...

LATEST NEWS FROM HOPE NOT HATE: -

http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/news/article/1638/EDL-member-seen-kicking-officer

La Di Da Gunner Graham said...

The EDL's pals over at the BNP seem to be in some kind of organizatinal meltdown. The top two pieces on their site, by Griffo and Darby, are both in praise of Dowson and attacking Butler and Colgate.

When thieves and Nazis fall out!

Anonymous said...

they may be easily duped drunken louts, but, there are some of us with long memories who will remember a summer build up of violence on the streets.

This has been building for what 6/8 months now and we need to watch carefully because it could be coming to a head.

tulip

DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells said...

He added: "Individual members of EDL – like all members of the public – are of course subject to the law, and all suspected criminal offences will be robustly investigated and dealt with by the police."

AHAHAHAHA Yeah alright.

Anonymous said...

One of the EDL's websites ir hosted by British company VistaPrint, and with its Islaophobic content, it breaks terms of service: -

http://www.englishdefenceleaguemacclesfield.co.uk/EDL-Events.html

Does anybody know the complaints email for Vistaprint UK?

Anonymous said...

The former Home Office minister Phil Woolas said: "This is a deliberate attempt by the EDL at division and provocation, to try and push young Muslims into the hands of extremists, in order to perpetuate the divide. It is dangerous."


Yes, and when Mr. Woolas was in government he could have something about it and did fuck all, trotting out the mantra, "The EDL have a perfect to right to do and say whatever they want. We protect their right to organise, blah, blah".

You'll find that Labour will become very principled anti-fascists and progressives now they are in opposition.

Sickening!

Anonymous said...

Daily Mail report on the EDL march in Newcastle repeatedly, throughout the piece, describes the EDL as "fascists" and even "skinheads".

Something of a departure for the "Daily Heil" as pieces on the EDL over the past year have taken a slightly more sympathetic tone.

Could the EDL have served its purpose for the Establishment, now that the Tories are back in and Labour's out?

Jain said...

Dunno if you can see this link, but EDL members have put a pig's head on the wall of Dudley Mosque. What bastards!

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/photo.php?pid=30781893&id=1300373383&fbid=1312045883471

DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells said...

Something of a departure for the "Daily Heil" as pieces on the EDL over the past year have taken a slightly more sympathetic tone.

Could the EDL have served its purpose for the Establishment, now that the Tories are back in and Labour's out?


Possibly, but if you go back to the European elections the far right press were clearly in a turf war with street fascists, could just be that.

Anonymous said...

Vistaprint UK's customer service number is: 0800 496 0350

If this doesn't work, try 0800 028 8251

Post back if they aren't helpful and we can organise a phone campaign