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"Patriotic" march sparks angry response
A “patriotic” march planned for Brighton has sparked calls for counter demonstrations.
Right-wing group March for England is heading to the city next weekend, angering local anti-fascist organisations.
A new group calling themselves Stop the March for England wants city residents to disrupt the event on Sunday.
Brighton Unite Against Fascism, the group that staged counter-demonstrations during previous March For England events, is planning a series of meetings this week to mobilise opposition.
Stop the March for England is calling for supporters to line the route of next Sunday’s march.
Lou Kenton of Stop the March for England said: “We are calling for all locals to oppose the march and the racist, fascist ideals it promotes under the guise of patriotism. We want people to harangue and mock the march so that, together, we can drown out their racist message. We want people to line the route and tell the March for England exactly how welcome they are.”
March for England, a group with reported links to EDL (English Defence League), will form outside Brighton station from 11.30am next Sunday, ahead of St George’s Day on Monday, April 23.
March For England says it is not affiliated to any right-wing groups and is non-racist.
Recent events have sparked trouble as rivals faced-off near Brighton station.
Last year’s March for England saw 350 police deployed to separate members of the groups.
About 300 March for England supporters attended the parade with about 100 UAF counter demonstrators turning out. Eight people were arrested but there were no reports of serious violence.
March for England said this year’s event is not a demo but “a chance to show patriotism.”.
Anti-fascist activist Tony Greenstein has organised the series of UAF events this week.
He was forced to cancel his book launch at the Friends Meeting House, in Ship Street, last month amid fears far-right campaigners would disrupt it.
He said: “In the week before March for England, there are a number of meetings which will provide information about the progress of our mobilisation against the street presence of fascists in Brighton on Sunday April 22 and an analysis of racism and fascism in the 21st century.”
A spokesman for Stop the March for England added: “We are not calling on the police or local government to ban this march. However, we believe that ideologies of hate flourish when they are ignored and want the people of Brighton to show the hate speech isn’t welcome here.”