Anti-racism protestors vastly outnumber Pegida-UK supporters in Newcastle
Categories: Latest News
Monday March 02 2015
There has been considerable coverage in the weekend papers on the protest by the UK branch of the German far right movement, Pegida, and a counter protest by the anti-racism alliance Newcastle Unites, on Saturday 28 February.
The Daily Mirror on Saturday published an interview with Newcastle United player Moussa Sissoko, who spoke about the impending protest and his views on the far right movement’s attempt to stoke racism in the city. Sissoko spoke of his lack of experience of racism or anti-Muslim prejudice at the club saying he and fellow Muslim footballers, Papiss Cisse, Medhi Abeid and Cheick Tiote, had experienced nothing of the kind.
The Independent on Saturday quoted Newcastle City Council member, Dipu Ahad, who told the paper people from as far south as Devon and north as Inverness were travelling to Newcastle to take part in the counter-Pegida demonstration to show the far right movement it was not welcome in the UK.
The Northern Echo, Channel 4 News, ITV News, BBC News and The Observer all report on the far right protestors being vastly outnumbered by Newcastle Unites counter-protestors with around 2,000 anti-racism supporters turning out to reject the far right’s divisive message. Around 400 far right supporters turned out for the protest with banners unfurled bearing National Front insignia and the English Defence League’s ‘No more mosques’.
ITV News and the Independent on Sunday report that police made 5 arrests on the day for alleged offences ranging from assault, to being drunk and disorderly and breach of the peace. The Star on Sunday reports on violent skirmishes at the protest.
The Financial Times (£) provides a profile of supporters on both sides stating “The Pegida protesters were overwhelmingly white, male and middle-aged or older while the Newcastle Unites supporters were diverse in age with a substantial presence from Newcastle’s minority communities.”
Paul Weston, leader of another far right organisation, Liberty GB, who spoke at the rally told Pegida supporters that Muslims would “take over” and “That is exactly what they will do if we quietly do nothing.”
“We have to fight back,” he added saying “Although there are moderate Muslims in this area, Islam is not a religion of peace.
“We are not here today to incite hatred.”
“We are here to tell the truth about this disgusting ideology masquerading as a religion.”
The Liberty GB leader’s remarks bear close similarity to the views of the former leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, who would claim he was not “anti-Muslim” but “anti-Islam”.
The Sunday Herald reports that the far right movement has spawned a Scottish branch and is in talks with Police Scotland over a proposed demonstration in Edinburgh on March 21.