VICTIMS of child sex abuse in Rotherham have made an impassioned plea to Home Secretary Amber Rudd to stop the fascist English Defence League (EDL) exploiting their suffering to justify hatred.
The EDL staged another police-protected “national” demonstration in South Yorkshire at the weekend but fewer than 40 EDL extremists turned up in the town.
They were outnumbered by at least four times as many counter-protesters drawn from Rotherham’s multicultural population.
Anti-fascism demonstrator Martin Hickman said: “From what I saw EDL had fewer than 40 people.
“It’s clear every time it comes its numbers get smaller. It’s also worth remembering it calls these national mobilisations.”
Rotherham has been targeted by the EDL, National Front and British National Party in more than 20 demonstrations over the last two years.
The groups refer to the 1,400 girls who were revealed to have been “groomed” for sexual abuse and exploitation by older men that were mainly of Asian origin.
Police and Rotherham Council were criticised for inaction long after the perpetrators had been jailed.
But the far-right groups continue to use it to create division and racial hatred by targeting the town for protests.
The victims and their relatives wrote an open letter to Ms Rudd asking her to stop the marches.
The letter states: “You will be aware that as children we were failed and ignored … If you remember there were 1,400 of us — that’s without taking account of our parents and families.
“Here we are having to be reminded of our abuse over and over again — not by the police or council — but by the number of marches in this town, all in our name.
“What right does anyone have to use our horrendous memories of our abuse to cause hatred and fear in our town?
“We are asking you to put something in place to stop these marches … We live with what happened to us as children constantly.
“This is our town, our abuse, and more importantly for a lot of us, the place where we are bringing our own children up. “Rotherham should not be defined by our abuse but defined by our strength and courage.
“Please help to stop this, let us move forward and be proud of our town and help it mend — we have had enough.”