ITV News, the Daily Mirror and Birmingham Mail all report on the weekend’s protest in Dudley by far right group, Britain First.
Just last week, the Chief Constable of West Midlands police, Chris Sims, briefed council staff of the costs to the force of policing repeat protest by far right groups against plans to construct a mosque in Dudley.
Saturday’s protest is the second is as many months with Britain First demonstrating against the Dudley mosque in March this year.
The media shows dramatic footage of around 150 far right protesters waving Union Jack flags marching down the streets in Dudley with 100 officers lining the streets to keep the peace.
The leader of Britain First, Paul Golding, addressed the crowd saying “There’s been a petition in this town – tens of thousands of people in this town are against this mosque, this mega-mosque.”
He went on to make remarks which have been reported to the police as a possible public order offence. Golding, referring to an anti-mosque protest in Spain, spoke of how protesters dumped pig’s heads on the proposed site for a mosque in Seville. He added, “You know what? That mosque was never constructed because it’s against the rules of the Koran. In the worst case scenario, if we have to, I will personally go and bury a pig.
“If that’s what it takes for us to be listened to in our own town, in our own country by these traitor politicians in cahoots with local Muslim groups then that is exactly what we will do.
“If they throw me in prison I will sit there in my cell for a year or two with a smile on my face because I’ll know that big mosque never went up.”
The Birmingham Mail reports that disparaging remarks made about the Prophet Muhammad have also been reported to the police.
The Daily Mirror notes the reaction of the local Muslim community who have in recent months organised open days to dispel fears about the planned mosque and to quash false rumours. The paper notes mosque leaders “opened the doors to people of all backgrounds to view the plans and drink tea.”
“Spokesman Amjid Raza said: “It’s unfortunate that this is the fifth protest from the far-right who have come from outside Dudley to spread hatred and fragment the community.
“”I give credit to the community who have responded positively every single time to say ‘not in my name and not in the name of the people of Dudley’.
“”Not only has the Muslim community felt under siege from this scaremongering which has led to attacks over the past six or seven years but it has affected the livelihoods of the traders who have had to close their shops.””
A number of local councils have voiced concerns about the cost to local businesses of the disruption posed by far right groups descending on towns and cities to protest against mosque or ‘Muslim grooming gangs’. As local police chiefs have suggested, until the legislature acts to change laws on static protests, there is little that can be done to curtail them.
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