The English Defence League (EDL) has attacked the Labour Party for supporting “rent-a-mobs” in advance of the group’s march in Bristol tomorrow.
A spokesman for the EDL told Bristol24-7 the group was expecting trouble from “idiotic communist types” who wanted to provoke a violent confrontation.
But in responding to the condemnation from Bristol’s two Labour MPs and the party’s candidate for mayor yesterday, the spokesman said Labour has “sold out its English constituents”, adding the group had no interest in what the party said.
Barriers are already in place for the EDL march yesterday, which will begin at Redcliffe Wharf before ending in Queen Square.
Up to 1,000 police officers are due to take to the streets to prevent a confrontation between the EDL and a counter-demonstration of anti-fascist groups, unions and community organisations.
He said he was confident the police could handle the situation, adding both the police and Bristol City Council had been “very accommodating”.
Speaking after Bristol24-7 reported the Labour Party’s condemnation of the march, he told us: “We expected something like this to come from Labour. They [Labour] have sold out their English constituents and forgotten them. We are not interested in what they have to say. It’s their fault the country is the way it is. Let them bury their heads in the sand. All we do is raise awareness about radical islam, and are attacked by Labour-funded rent-a-mobs.
“We are saddened by the counter-demonstration. Normal do-gooding folks are sucked in by violent groups who want to antagonise and provoke a reaction out of us, so they an say to the public ‘we told you so, look at the violent thugs’.
“We expect some resistence but nothing the local constabulary won’t be able to handle. We encourage our supporters to not rise to the silly chants of “waycist” from idiotic communist types.
Asked what he hoped the EDL was hoping to achieve with its march, Mr Witter said he wanted to highlight the issue of a “new kind of homopobia which has swept up and down our country”, in reference to the case of five Muslim men from Derby who went on trial earlier this year for allegedly handing out leaflets calling for gay people to be killed.
“We particularly would like to extend hands of friendship to the LGBT community, because they are experiencing a new kind of hate,” he added.
The comments came after Dawn Primarolo (Bristol South), Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) and Marvin Rees said yesterday there was “no place for the EDL in Bristol”.
In a joint statement this week, the Labour group said: “We reject entirely the aims, philosophy and method of the EDL. At a time when decent people from all backgrounds are working together to improve their communities, the EDL seeks to cause division, fear and hatred.
“On July 14, thousands of Bristol residents will be celebrating the Bristol we know – a proud and welcoming city that celebrates our differences and rejects totally any attempts to divide us. Bristol is much stronger than a motley collection of EDL members, bussed in from far-flung corners of the country.
“By Saturday evening, the EDL will have left Bristol. They will find little support for their dangerous views and we hope, and expect, that they will never return.”