At least 30 people were arrested Saturday night following a demonstration by a far-right group against a planned mosque construction in the small English town of Dudley. The protest was led by the English Defense League or EDL that saw participation of up to 1,000 of its members amid a heavy police presence.
“I have never seen so many policemen here,” said Maria Mina, owner of the only cafe shop that was open on what supposed to have been the busiest day for business in the small town. Extra police force was deployed in Dudley since early hours of Saturday and entrance to the town center was restricted for vehicles as hundreds of fascist EDL members came to the town by cars, coaches and trains.
EDL members were allowed to march to Priory Road where they made harsh anti-Islam speeches, carried Islamophobic banners and English flags in front of the Dudley Council. “Islam go to hell” and “More Islam less freedom” read some of the banners.
In a counter demonstration organized by United Against Fascism approximately 50 meters away from the Dudley Central Mosque at Castle Street, Dudley’s local people repeatedly gave out the messages of unity and togetherness. “Love music, hate racism” was the main slogan of the gathering that hosted about 300 people.
21 May 2011
Protests against a new mosque in Göteborg attracted approximately 150 nationalist and far right wing protesters, and maybe 300 people supporting the mosque. Amongst the initiators of the demonstration against the mosque was Björn Cederström of the newly started Defense Corps for Sweden’s Self-defense. In his speech at the rally he said Muslims force native Swedes to flee their own country and that we must prepare for civil war. Marc Abrahamsson of the National Democrats said Sweden is being occupied by Arabs and Muslims.
There were also representatives from the English Defense League present, while the Swedish Defense League was not allowed to participate as Cederström regards them as being “too Zionistic”.
The demonstrations resulted in quite a rumble and four persons were arrested by the police.
Police stood between hundreds of anti-Islam protesters and anti-racist counter-demonstrators in the English city of Manchester on Saturday, arresting 48 people in a bid to keep the peace. A group called the English Defense League, which says it opposes militant Islam, squared off against a larger group of counter-demonstrators from the group Unite Against Fascism.
Troubles also have occurred in Luton, Birmingham and London in the last few months involving a loose collection of far-right groups, including the little known English Defense League. The league rejects the fascist label, arguing that it only opposes militant Islam. But several of its supporters made Nazi salutes during Saturday’s protest.
Violent clashes between anti-Islam demonstrators and Muslim counter-protesters in English cities are worrying the government, with one British minister comparing the disturbances to 1930s-era fascist incitement. The violence that has hit Luton, Birmingham and London in the last few months has involved a loose collection of far-right groups — such as the previously unknown English Defense League — on one side and anti-fascist organizations and Muslim youth on the other.
In an interview published Saturday, Communities Minister John Denham accused the anti-Islam protesters of deliberately stirring up trouble. “The tactic of trying to provoke a response in the hope of causing wider violence and mayhem is long established on the far-right and among extremist groups,” Denham was quoted as saying by The Guardian newspaper. “You could go back to the 1930s if you wanted to — Cable Street.”
Denham was referring to a 1936 confrontation sparked by British fascist leader Oswald Mosley’s decision to march through the then-heavily Jewish East End of London. Mosley’s pro-Nazi followers were met at Cable Street by Jews, communists and anarchists, and a pitched battle ensued.
The English Defense League rejects the fascist label, arguing that it only opposes militant Islam. On its website, the group claims that the violence at its rallies has been provoked by Muslims and far-left groups.