Tuesday, 30 October 2012

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

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

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