Friday, 31 May 2013

No to extremism in Norfolk

As anti-racism campaigners warn of a 'day of hate' on Saturday, the East Anglian English Defence League is preparing for marches across our region

According to newspaper reports, far-right groups are planning their biggest mobilisation for 30 years this weekend with more than 50 demonstrations planned in towns and cities across England.

Anti-racism campaigners have branded Saturday a "day of hate" after identifying 55 English Defence League (EDL) events as well a BNP march in London.

The East Anglian EDL was advertising five local marches. These were to war memorials in Lowestoft, Dereham, Cambridge, Peterborough and Ipswich, planned for tomorrow, Saturday 1st June, at various times.

Comments on the sites still open show considerable confusion about the times of each event.

Norwich is conspicuous by its absence from this EDL list.  The EDL was outnumbered decisively by local people fed-up with the far right doomsday rhetoric  designed to set citizen against citizen when last they marched in Norwich. The EDL is desperate to avoid further humiliation here. 

EDL "national demo" in Norwich November 2012 (from Ketlan Ossowski) 
Most of the links to the individual EDL marches in our region are not operating today, after embarrassing spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and hateful comments on each site were criticised. 

The sites that remain open to the public all stress that marchers should not chant or drink alcohol.  Here's an example:  
Such directions for a "walk of respect" are unusual.  Why are they necessary?

One EDL-created site advertising a march in Dereham - without mentioning any connection to the EDL - described how there would be a laying of "reefs".

Such slapdash mistakes are funny, but should not distract from the reality that the EDL is a violent organisation wanting to provoke confrontation in our communities.

There is a general agreement that these events are seen as the latest attempt by UK far-right groups to exploit the murder of the British soldier Lee Rigby, who was stabbed to death in Woolwich, south-east London, last week. 

Nick Lowles from Hope not Hate said
Towns and cities across England are going to have EDL events – many of them for the first time – and this is about the EDL taking their message of hate and division to communities across the country to try to stoke tensions and provoke a response,
It is going to be a very tense weekend and it represents the biggest far-right mobilisation we have seen in this country for 30 years.
According to the Guardian article, a spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers said: 
Police are aware of a number of demonstrations planned for this weekend. Forces across the country will be working closely with local communities as always to ensure these pass off with minimum disruption. While we will do all we can to facilitate peaceful protest, those taking part should be clear that the police will uphold the law.
Anti-racist campaigners are planning "community unity" events in opposition to the EDL and BNP on Saturday. Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism said it was working with faith groups and trade unions to organise wherever the far right gathered. 
We want to show that we are united in our opposition to the EDL and BNP and their attempt to use the tragic death of this young man for political ends.

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