A rally organised by Gays Against Sharia UK and British & Immigrants United Against Terrorism is due to take place on Sunday, September 10 with a counter-protest organised for the same day.
Gays Against Sharia and BIUAT are due to start their protest at 2pm from Temple Meads against homophobia and Sharia law.
The counter-march organised by Stand Up To Racism is starting from the centre at 1pm in opposition to the demonstration’s links to far-right groups.
Speakers at the Gays Against Sharia UK rally are set to include former BNP member and far-right activist Jack Buckby; Sharia Watch UK director Anne Marie Walters; and Tommy English, a self-declared anti-racist, anti-Jihadi, English patriot and regular speaker at English Defence League rallies.
Diversity groups including anti-racism protesters and local politicians have pledged to join the opposition march organised by Stand Up To Racism. They argue the issue of gay rights has been hijacked by a group with a racist agenda.
“They claim falsely that they are representing the views of the LGBT+ community in Bristol,” said Stand Up To Racism’s Martin Upchurch.
“In fact, none of the organisers are LGBT+ and all the proposed speakers come from outside Bristol.
“The far right have a consistent record of homophobia. They are using the demonstration to try and fool people into supporting them. They are seeking to divide our community by promoting Islamophobia and racism.”
The EDL said in response: “We want to halt this Islamification and reverse it. For this reason we oppose treatment – especially punishments – of homosexuals based on Sharia and not on English law”.
This is not the first time the far-right has aligned itself to the LGBT+ community. Marine Le Pen actively courted gay voters in this year’s French presidential election.
And in June of this year, a Gays Against Sharia march in Manchester was organised to coincide with the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub terrorist attack.
LGBT Bristol, which is not supporting either march, said in a statement: “LGBT Bristol works across the city with a wide range of diverse organisations to improve community relations.
“We are proud to work with the city’s Muslim communities, especially LGBTQI Muslims. Our work is about promoting tolerance and diversity and ending hate and discrimination.”