Platform for the far-right in Whitehall
Anti-racist groups warn against ‘spread of hatred and violence’
05 April, 2019 — By Tom Foot
Flags of the far-right in the heart of Whitehall
FLAGS of one of the fastest-growing white nationalist movements in Europe were flying in Westminster this week as a far-right figurehead, banned from social media platforms, spoke from a publicly-sanctioned stage.
Anti-racist activists have warned of the rise of the far-right after supporters of Generation Identity (GI), which is fast spreading across Europe and reportedly received a donation in the name of the alleged perpetrator of the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand, joined a rally.
The crowd had come to hear Tommy Robinson speak about Islam and Brexit in Whitehall on Friday after the former English Defence League leader was banned from broadcasting on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Despite the online ban he was allowed to speak to crowds from a platform with a jumbotron screen.
The approval of the podium, which Westminster Council says was the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police Service, has been strongly criticised by Labour MP David Lammy, who said: “There is a difference between free speech and hate speech”.
Sabby Dhalu, co-convener of Stand Up To Racism group that organised a counter protest, said: “As evidence emerged this week that Tommy Robinson’s associates Generation Identity were funded by the Christchurch attacker, it could not be more clear the global far right is increasingly working together to spread hatred and violence. Whatever our views on Brexit, it is vital that all who oppose the agenda of the far-right make clear that they do not speak for us.”
Mr Robinson asked the crowd on Friday: “Where is the person who represents you? Who thinks like you, who cares you, who gives a f*** like you?”
The Hope Not Hate campaign group, which stops fascists from organising, has been tracking GI “from inside”. It describes the group as “racist and extreme”.
Stand Up To Racism said GI is a small but well-organised, group of far-right activists in the UK and Ireland who are part of a network with branches across Europe.
The GI group unfurled a banner on Waterloo Bridge on Friday following up on its protests against “ethnomasochism” – the pleasure in annihilation against one’s own race – at SOAS university in Bloomsbury. Stickers and posters can be found on lamp-posts across central London.
Last year its typically young recruits wore burkas and hijabs outside Buckingham Palace, with signs saying “is this what you want?”.
The group, in a statement, said: “After the successful action, the team joined the massive Brexit rally in Parliament Square to mix with thousands of British patriots and spread the Identitarian message.”
Westminster Council said it was not responsible for approving podiums or stages at protests. A Met Police statement said: “We will always provide a proportionate policing plan to balance the right to peaceful protest, while ensuring that disruption to communities is kept to a minimum.
“To date, protests have been largely peaceful and we have no intelligence at this time to suggest that will change. We would like to reassure the public that officers will be ready to respond should any incidents or other spontaneous protests arise.”