Friday, July 01 2016

EDL protests against ‘sexual grooming’ in Keighley

Islamophobia Watch alerts us to local reports (see here and here) on yet another English Defence League protest which took place on the weekend, this time in Keighley, West Yorkshire during which five people were arrested.

From the Keighley News:

“Police and English Defence League supporters clashed this afternoon in central Keighley.

"Members of the far-right campaign group had gathered on Church Green to demonstrate against sexual grooming.

“Dozens of police officers were deployed to ensure the demonstration passed without incident.
Up to 200 people, including young families and local people, gathered on the outskirts of Church Green to watch.

“Around 160 EDL supporters, shouted, chanted, waved banners and listened to speakers at Keighley's market cross.

“Counter-demonstrators stayed away from the event, except a small group at the Low Street side who were kept separate from the EDL supporters.

“Community leaders, including local councillors and youth workers, had patrolled nearby streets to encourage young people to stay away from the demo.

“The EDL supporters -- who came from as far afield as Stockport and the North East - were eventually shepherded on to double-decker buses in Church Street and transported out of the town centre.

“Airedale and North Bradford divisional commander Chief Superintendant Ian Kennedy said he was very pleased with how the policing of the event went.

“He said: "The community of Keighley pulled together and did not rise to any provocation.”

A separate report in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus states that five people who were arrested during the protests were later released on bail for public order offences. It adds that police are also inquiring into threats made on Facebook to blow up a mosque in Keighley. Similar threats of violence have been made online in recent months, most recently on an online petition against the construction of a new Islamic centre in Chelmsford.

The protest in Keighley is just the latest in a string of protests carried out by far right groups against what they believe to be an ‘Islamic’ problem of sexual abuse, despite assurances from police and experts that culture and religion play only the part of coincidence. Such ideas have been peddled by the EDL, the BNP and the National Front, particularly following the conviction of nine men of Pakistani and Afghan heritage in May for charges relating to the sexual exploitation of young girls.

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