Monday, 3 August 2009

Far right launch campaign of violence and intimidation against opponents

From The Guardian:

Aryan Martyrs' Brigade issues death threat against anti-fascism activist Weyman Bennett, while student attacked after BNP protest

Far-right activists have launched a campaign of intimidation and violence against political opponents including a series of death threats and physical attacks.

Hardline fascists are targeting students and leading anti-racism activists who campaigned against the British National party in June's European elections.

A group calling itself the Aryan Martyrs' Brigade has issued threats including a "death warrant" sent to Weyman Bennett, the joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism, stating he will be killed before the end of the year "for crimes against all loyal white patriots and British nationalists".

The threat, which the police are investigating and has a picture of Bennett in cross hairs, states:

"We know exactly what you look like and what venues you frequent and can strike at will. The police, special branch, MI5, Searchlight cannot save you from the bullets coming your way. No matter where you are, we will get you, all we need is a lock on your mobile phone signal and you are one dead nigger."

Others have received threatening emails and at least one prominent activist was attacked after his picture appeared on an extreme rightwing website that was taken during protests against the BNP.

"There has definitely been an upsurge in attacks and intimidation since the European elections," said Bennett. "The fringe rightwing groups appeared to be on their best behaviour when the BNP were campaigning but once the election was over they seem to be trying to take their revenge on those of us who were prominent in the anti-fascist campaign."

The increase in rightwing violence comes after Scotland Yard admitted it was deploying more resources to monitor far-right extremists amid fears of a terrorist attack. Commander Shaun Sawyer told a meeting organised by the Muslim Safety Forum last month that there was a growing threat from the far right.

"I fear they will have a spectacular …they will carry out an attack that will lead to a loss of life or injury to a community somewhere," he said.

Sawyer added that more specialist officers needed to be deployed to counter the threat from far-right groups.

Bennett, who has received threats in the past, has been told by the police to take the latest death threat more seriously.

"Standing up against people like the BNP you do sometimes get verbal threats and intimidation but this appears to be more serious," he said. "I don't intend to stop organising anti-racism events or confronting the fascists in the BNP but something like this does make me think more about my personal security."

One of the people who has been assaulted in recent weeks is Gary McNally, who helped organise a Love Music Hate Racism festival in Stoke-on-Trent in May. After the European elections, when the BNP gained two MEPs, the 23-year-old attended a protest outside a meeting in Blackpool. Several photographs of the student appeared on the extremist Redwatch website, which is understood to be linked to the Aryan Martyrs' Brigade, alongside the slogan "Remember places, traitors' faces, they'll all pay for their crimes". A few days later McNally was attacked.

"I was about 200 yards from my house and I felt something smash against my face and I heard the words, 'You are a disgrace to your country,' and I saw a pair of shoes as I fell to the ground," he said.

McNally, a student at Staffordshire University, was taken to hospital where he was treated for cuts and bruises to his face and head.

"After I had been hit I thought I had gone blind in my left eye. The attack has left me very scared – the BNP put on this respectable front but I suppose this is the reality of what happens if you publicly stand up and disagree with them."

Simon Darby, deputy leader of the BNP, said the attacks and threats had nothing to do with the party.

"It is rather ironic that they are complaining about being attacked when they use similar tactics themselves," he added.

From the Daily Star:
British National Party backers have been accused of launching a phone campaign of Nazi abuse against anti-fascist campaigners.

Anti-racist group Unite Against Fascism (UAF) claim BNP supporters are deluging activists with sinister phone messages. They say the threatening calls have included a man growling “Heil Hitler” down the phone, a recording of Bavarian-style German marching music and a pro-BNP rant. All the activists targeted are involved in a planned picket of the BNP’s annual Red White and Blue festival in Codnor, Derbyshire, on August 15.

The far-right party denies sympathising with Hitler’s Nazis – despite leader Nick Griffin having a conviction for inciting racial hatred by denying the Holocaust.

UAF activist “Tim” said: “I got a message saying, ‘We are the BNP’, while others contain a Hitler speech.”

BNP deputy leader Simon Darby said: “Nobody would ring people up and play that down the phone.”
HOPE not hate, Norfolk takes these threats seriously.

But these threats also demonstrate that the anti-BNP movement is making progress, and is of concern to the BNP.

That's good news.

Unstable elements within the BNP are hitting back in a typically incoherent, violent and underhand fashion, revealing how concerned the BNP is over losses in popular support.

In Norfolk we had a ringside seat to recent BNP humiliation. As the rest of the country looked on, Robert West, the BNP candidate for Norwich North, was discredited by leading local clergymen who questioned his right to wear clerical dress and call himself 'Reverend'.

His 'welcoming committee' to Norwich included a car-dealer with past convictions, and a vendor of racist knick-knacks. Robert West refused to answer questions put to him by three HOPE not hate activists unless they called him 'Reverend', and then a BNP thug attacked the three activists, twisting the arm of one and threatening to 'head-butt' another.

This was publicised widely, and West went on to lose his deposit as local voters rejected the BNP in droves.

Anti-BNP efforts are having an effect, and the fury that lurks in the undergrowth of BNP 'respectability' is breaking cover.

But these BNP threats show a misunderstanding of the resolve of those opposing their policies of hatred and division.

Threats from the BNP re-confirm that this is a dangerous party that has no place in British politics.

The threats underscore the need for the BNP to be confronted and held to account, and the threats make it easier for everyone to see what a menace the BNP is to civil society. Another own goal from the party of hatred and division.

There's nothing British about the British National Party. Vote them out of British politics.

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