Organisers ‘must make it clear that far right isn’t welcome’
LEADING labour movement figures are calling for assurances that far-right activists will not be allowed to speak at or participate in a march by football fans in London today.
The Football Lads’ Alliance (FLA) was established after the Manchester Arena bombing and the attack on pedestrians on London Bridge in May and June this year, founded by property manager and Tottenham Hotspur fan John Meighan.
Mr Meighan said that from the outset the group wanted no involvement with right-wing extremist groups — even banning national flags such as the George’s Cross from its events.
But anti-racist campaigners fear that racists, who attended the last FLA demo and have made inflammatory posts on FLA’s Facebook page, will be there again.
Campaigners have pointed out that while none of the speeches at the founding march on June 24 were explicitly Islamophobic, speakers only condemned terror attacks carried out in the name of Islam and there was no mention of the attack on worshippers at Finsbury Park mosque a few days before.
Stand up to Racism co-convenor Sabby Dhalu said: “There is a danger that some groups will be using this demonstration to revive the racist, far-right violent street culture.”
A joint statement issued by Labour and trade union leaders expresses horror at the terror attacks, but says: “It’s essential that our communities deliver a united response to those who seek to divide us.”
It goes on: “We are worried about the presence of speakers linked to far-right, racist and Islamophobic groups on the previous FLA demo in June. There have been a series of racist and Islamophobic postings on the FLA Facebook page.
They warn: “We believe that those leading the FLA are failing to take the threat of right-wing extremism seriously.”
Veterans’ charity Walking With The Wounded has withdrawn from today’s event because of far-right involvement in the FLA’s June demonstration.
The statement calls on the FLA to make it “crystal clear” that the organisation has no room for right-wing extremists.
Stand up to Racism will be meeting at 1pm today opposite Downing Street to distribute a Stand Up To Racism leaflet, as well as Show Racism The Red Card materials for a “Wear Red” anti-racist day on Friday October 20.