| ||Islamophobia Watch draws attention to the accusation of alleged ‘thuggery and hooliganism’ by anti BNP demonstrators in Codnor last weekend made by the Quilliam Foundation Research Fellow Lucy James. |
James, in an article for Progress Online writes, ‘Unfortunately, these anti-BNP protesters soon became violent – leading to a total of 19 protesters being arrested. Although it is good to see ordinary people protesting against the BNP, such protests become ineffective when they descend into thuggery and hooliganism."’
IW comments: ‘A Reuters correspondent, who unlike Lucy James actually witnessed the protest, wrote that "the atmosphere as hundreds of demonstrators from across Britain descended on the village Codnor in Derbyshire seemed more one of cheerful determination to celebrate and protect multi-cultural Britain than a belligerent mob set on fist-fighting in fields".
‘Acting assistant chief constable Steve Cotterill was reported as saying: "We are pleased the protest has been mainly peaceful. We have made fewer arrests than last year."’
And where arrests did take place, as IW points out, they largely involved BNP supporters.
Unite Against Fascism, the group that organised the protest in Codnor, said that it was ‘aware of around a dozen anti-fascists arrested on the day, mostly those involved in occupying road junctions.
‘We believe that such tactics of non-violent direct action are a legitimate response to the BNP's racist thuggery and we do not believe anyone should be arrested for such actions’, it said.
Indeed, the emphasis is on ‘non violent direct action’. How then did James come to describe the UAF rally as descending into ‘thuggery and hooliganism’?
The way to challenge the BNP’s anti Muslim racism is certainly through a sustained, fact based critique of its wildly false ideas on Islam and Muslims and its exaggerated anti Muslim scaremongering, as Lucy James claims. But that would require an interest in accuracy and facts, something QF's James appears to have lost sight of in her portrayal of anti fascist demonstrators in Codnor.
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