Groups plan protest march in Berwick

SDL protest in Berwick in 2014.
SDL protest in Berwick in 2014.

Concerns have been raised about a proposed march through Berwick by the Scottish Defence League (SDL) and the North East Infidels (NEI).

The far-right groups are planning to visit the town on Saturday, October 1 for an anti-immigration rally.

The NEI facebook page currently indicates that 62 people are planning to attend, with 27 more interested.

A counter-protest is being organised with anyone interested in joining it asked to attend a meeting in the Youth Hostel Association on Friday at 7pm.

In a statement, the counter-protest group said: “As their last effort in Berwick showed they bring in members and sympathisers fromelsewhere with an intention to promote racial hatred.

“We find it abhorrent that amessage of hostility and scapegoating should be paraded through Berwick, a welcomingtown with good community relations.

“It is unfortunate that David Coburn, the UKIP MEP for Scotland has used anxieties after BREXIT to label Berwick as a potential ‘New Calais’ if Scotland becomes independent and joins the EU.

“He implies that Berwick would become a target for refugee migrants seeking to enter England.

“This has given the neo-Nazis an excuse to come here yet again to parade their vile and racist rubbish.

“Following the significant gains made by racist and fascist parties across Europe, street thugs like the SDL and NEI will attempt to grow.

“It is vital that we unite and act to stop the rise of racist and fascist organisations at home and show solidarity to those opposing fascism elsewhere.”

The Berwick United Against Fascism group describe the SDL as a ‘racist group with an established record of mounting protests which regularly feature racist chanting, placards and Nazi salutes’. At previous demonstrations it has displayed the ‘Swastika’ emblem.

At a previous demonstration in Edinburgh, the SDL displayed the ‘Swastika’ emblem of the openly racist and Nazi Greek party, ‘Golden Dawn’.

The SDL claims it was set up to peacefully protest against the islamification of the UK, terrorists, paedophiles and the spread of sharia law.

The NEI, meanwhile, are described as ‘more openly racist and fascist than the EDL’, splitting from it when its leader allowed Jews to join the EDL.

There were five SDL arrests when the last march took place in 2014. It was billed as a Ban the Burka march with many participants wearing balaclavas as a sign of protest. There was also widespread discontent with the massive cost of policing the demonstrations after traffic through town was stopped.