August 20, 2011

Far-right to defy ban on powderkeg 9/11 protest

A far-right organisation has threatened to take court action or stage an illegal gathering in Edinburgh after its bid to stage a formal parade in the city was thrown out.

The Scottish Defence League said it is likely to appeal to Edinburgh Sheriff Court on the grounds of "freedom of speech" after councillors ruled it posed a "significant risk" of disorder. Two members failed to convince councillors of the merits of holding the event after claiming they were opposed to the "rise of militant Islamists" in the UK and wanted to highlight the need for "drastic action".

The group had been planning to hold a demonstration passing near the American Consulate the day before the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. But the application attracted more than 1,000 complaints from politicians, anti-racism groups, community organisations and trade union leaders, who were concerned the group would trigger racial unrest in the city. SDL representatives told the council the group had distanced itself from more hard-line members but struggled to explain photographs taken at recent rallies showing placards featuring racist phrases, claiming they were not made by an official members of the group.

The SDL also claimed it had no links with the notorious English Defence League, which has been linked with Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik.

The parade would have started at Regent Road and included a rally at the Wellington Statue at the east end of Princes Street. SNP councillor Rob Munn, chairman of the council's licensing committee, said although he valued "freedom of speech and freedom of assembly", this had to be balanced with potential disruption to the life of the city.

He added: "I have no doubts that the police would be able to deal with any eventuality, but there is just too great a risk to public safety and public order. We take these decisions on behalf of the people of Edinburgh with the safety of the city in mind. We haven't been convinced, on the basis of the information provided to us, that our concerns about safety, order and disruption can be addressed and resolved."

Tory councillor Jo Mowat said: "This is a very difficult decision for the council as freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are very important in the UK. It's with a very heavy heart that we make this decision, but there is a risk that this event could be a potential flashpoint." SDL spokesman Graham Fleming said after the hearing: "The SDL has changed a lot over the last few months.



Anonymous said...

Jesus christ how many times does it need to be said, freedom of speech does NOT extend to the right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre. The ban is the right decision.

Anonymous said...

Right enough, these days even the EDL won't touch this rag-tag bag of nazi numpties (mostly ICF hangers-on, not to mention BNP and NF members/ex-members, and a tattooed nazi skinhead [surname Cowan, from East Kilbride] who appears to be suffering from some sort of albinism).

They are, however, pally with the NWI faction (and have had that nazi arse Snowy up to give one of his legendarily inarticulate speeches).

I'd expect a hefty anti presence on the day. I'll be out spotting.

Raymond Duck said...

The Right are always banging on about Human Responsibilities coming with Human Rights. Well now, we're throwing it back in their smug faces!

Now ban East London Racismfest in September.

La Di Da Gunner Graham said...

Neither freedom of speech nor shouting "theatre" in a crowded fire is the issue. Incitement to racial hatred is.

The sooner we concentrate on the facts of the matter the sooner these Nazi bozos will appear as the hate- mongers and losers they really are.

Kev Scott loves The Jam said...

Ha,ha,ha...SDL spokesman Graham Fleming said after the hearing: "The SDL has changed a lot over the last few months".

How so?......... oh year, membership has gone from poor to piss poor...What a chump.... its not the few Scots who are demonstrating that are the problem (per se), its the coachloads of knuckle dragging "Stella and Charlies" that will turn up that are the problem!

AnOlizAi X said...

I am the good friend of the said SDL spokesperson
We may not always aggree with the delivery of a heated message But this alone dose not mean we should not listen The opposite
I see all in the said truth But most of all I see a fear of an unknown question That is why will my government not care for me This fear is real to every man on this planet It is asking who is in control For I am hear I am asking But no 1 will answer I am a golbal citizen That see data saved on a round table May be round but still flat Redirect your question to the ones that have the right answer If you don't see to whom It will never be & your fears will all be of I asked i answered

Faith not required For I beleve of you
There iz no freedom under flags You must prepare to lower the colours