UK far-right groups plan largest rallies in 30 years

Protests aim to exploit soldier's murder to incite xenophobia in Britain, anti-racism activists say

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 5:35am


Far-right groups are planning their biggest mobilisation for 30 years this weekend with more than 50 rallies planned in towns and cities across England.

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

This is about the EDL taking their message of hate and division to communities
Nick Lowles, hope not hate

The events are seen as the latest attempt by British far-right groups to exploit the murder of the British soldier Lee Rigby, who was stabbed to death by alleged Muslim extremists in Woolwich, southeast London, last week.

"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," said Nick Lowles from Hope not Hate.

"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."

BNP leader Nick Griffin had planned to stage a 10-kilometre march from Woolwich to Lewisham in south London today. But police imposed restrictions on the march, changing the route to central London between Millbank and the Cenotaph in Whitehall, because of fears it could result in "serious disorder, serious damage to property, and/or serious disruption to the life of the community".

In another development, police announced the arrest of their eleventh suspect over the attack. A 42-year-old man was arrested in north London on suspicion of being involved in the supply of illegal firearms.

One man, Michael Adebowale, 22, has been charged with murder while the other main suspect, Michael Adebolajo, 28, was released from hospital yesterday.

Police said the 28-year-old would be interviewed by counterterrorism detectives on suspicion of murder and the attempted murder of a police officer.

A man arrested after giving an interview about his friendship with Adebolajo was charged with terror offences, British police said yesterday.

Ibrahim Abdullah-Hassan - also known as Abu Nusaybah - was arrested last week after a BBC interview in which he said British security services had tried to recruit Adebolajo.

Scotland Yard said he has been charged with three offences - which relate to filmed recordings of lectures and written text - that allegedly encouraged acts of terrorism.

  • Anti-terrorism judges yesterday charged a recent convert to Islam who stabbed a French soldier last weekend with "attempted murder linked to a terrorist enterprise". The 22-year-old suspect, Alexandre D., appeared in court in the French capital after being arrested on Wednesday.