Saturday, July 02 2016

Edinburgh Council bans SDL march

The Scotsman reports on the banning by Edinburgh City Council of a proposed Scottish Defence League march on 29th September. The report states that the ban was invoked due to the alleged recruitment of ‘football casuals,’ who are claimed to have Nazi associations, and the posting of a message on the SDL Facebook page urging football casuals to “join the fight to “destroy Islam”.

From the paper:

“Far right extremist group the Scottish Defence League has been banned from a proposed march amid claims an attempt had been made to recruit 
football casuals.

“The SDL had applied to hold a procession from East Market Street to the Scottish Parliament on September 29.

“Leaders said they wanted to hold the event to call for justice over the deaths of murdered Blackpool teenager Charlene Downes and Robert Fleeting, who was found hanged at an RAF base in Oxfordshire last year.

“However, the march has now been scrapped after the council meeting was shown video footage posted on the SDL’s Facebook page calling for football casuals to join the fight to “destroy Islam”.

“SDL regional organiser Graham Walker said they were not behind the inflammatory video and insisted it should have no bearing on a decision over the march.

“ “We can’t stop what goes up on Facebook. It’s cleaned up every single day. We have nothing to do with Nazi-ism – that video has been removed and then reposted.

““We want people to see why we are against militant Islam so people will realise what the SDL are about.”

“But William Black, of United Against Fascism said: “They [the SDL] wish to bring together all the casual football hooligans in Scotland in one group to attack Muslims – they are tattooed with swastikas.”

Although a representative from the police said that there had been no public disorder at the last three SDL events, Gavin Barrie of the licensing sub-committee, which determines whether protests should be allowed to go ahead, expressed concerns about the protest citing the nature of the video posted on the SDL Facebook page,

“I have concerns about the descriptions in that video…I’m severely uncomfortable with the group – the SDL make people uncomfortable.

“This video was posted in the last 24 hours.”

“We will be seeking to make an order prohibiting the proposed procession.”

The article cites the SDL regional organiser, Graham Walker who says that the SDL will appeal the ban,

“Next stop we will be making is the court.”

“The police have backed us up – we’ve had no arrests, no public disorder. What the council is saying is that the 
police cannot do their job properly.”

Scotland’s laws on demonstrations differ from those in England- moving processions require both council and police approval. The SDL was banned from marching earlier this year but later won an appeal to have the ban overturned. Their protest, which was held in Edinburgh attracted around 100 people. A counter-demonstration held by UAF attracted around 300 supporters.

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