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This blog used to be called EDL Extra. I was a supporter of the EDL until 2012. This blog has retained the old web address.


Friday, 16 July 2010

Moves to resist rise of right-wing group [the EDL] [This is Exeter]

ANTI-RACISM campaigners are stepping up their opposition to a far right-wing group amid fears that it is growing in popularity in Exeter.

The city division of the English Defence League has already held three meetings, attended by around 20 people, since it was formed, and has over 500 supporters on Facebook.

Nationally it has attracted widespread condemnation and been linked to racially motivated violence and football hooliganism. It was launched in Luton just over a year ago, and demonstrations around the country have descended into violence, resulting in it being described as the most significant far-right street movement since the National Front.

There are fears that the more people who attach themselves to the group locally, the more chance of a repeat of the racially motivated attack on a Muslim woman at Exe Bridges that caused public outrage when it was reported in the Echo.

Jim Myers, 43, of St Thomas, a door supervisor in the city, is chairman of the Exeter group and told the Echo it was not politically or racially motivated, but was against "Islamic fundamentalists".

Lizi Allnatt, of Exeter United Against Fascism, said her group was holding a meeting next week to look at ways to combat the EDL's rise in popularity.

She said: "They say ordinary Muslims have nothing to fear from them, but the reality is different. Bulletin boards on the EDL website are filled with vile racist abuse that I will not repeat, and many of its protests have ended in violence.

"The EDL also claims to be non-political and to have nothing to do with the British National Party. But while this may be true of many of its supporters, it is not so for its main leader, 'Tommy Robinson', who has recently been exposed as a former BNP member.

"We are concerned there will be more incidents like the attack on a Muslim woman and her daughter for wearing a headscarf if the EDL grows in Exeter. This is a great place to live — we do not need the EDL bringing its brand of hate into our city."

Mr Myers said: "The group is a peaceful protest against Islamic fundamentalists, and I emphasise the word peaceful. What happened on 9/11 was devastating, then 7/7 in London brought it a lot closer to home.

"We do not come into the racist category. I like reggae, so how could I be against blacks? I have good friends who are black and it would be deeply unfair to call me racist. I consider the group very much mainstream. We would feel the same of any terrorist, regardless of colour.

"I read about the Muslim woman who was attacked and I would have been the first to come to her aid if I could."

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