Neo-Nazi extremists plan Edinburgh march

UAF Scotland have encouraged all to say 'Nae to Nazis'. A previous protest. Picture; stock image
UAF Scotland have encouraged all to say 'Nae to Nazis'. A previous protest. Picture; stock image
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NEO-NAZIS are planning a march in the Capital later this month, it has emerged.

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Extremists will take to the streets in a show of “White Pride” on the same day as hundreds of Sikhs hold a procession.

Anti-racist campaigners have condemned the plans, which it is believed have been drawn up by National Front affiliates. And they have pledged to turn out to provide opposition through a counter-protest, also on March 25.

According to Unite Against Fascism (UAF), the extremist elements organising the event in Edinburgh were behind a static demo of about 50 neo-nazis from Scotland, England and Wales which took place in Swansea last March.

“Edinburgh has no place for such fascists and racists. We stand with all who oppose fascism and their engine of racism,” said Margaret Woods of UAF Scotland. She added: “Edinburgh has a fine tradition of stopping racists and Nazis.”

Right-wing extremists are expected to gather at Edinburgh’s Waverley station at 1pm before moving on to the Covenanters’ Memorial at the top of the Grassmarket for 1.30pm.

The event will start as 200 Sikhs hold a Mini Nagar Kirtan festival procession beginning at Sheriff Brae in Leith.

Joanna Mowat, Conservative member for the city centre, said the prospect of right-wing extremists marching through Edinburgh would “stretch her commitment” to civil liberties.

“Freedom of speech and freedom to assemble, which I believe passionately in, is always, always tested to the limit with people whose views you find absolutely abhorrent.

“That’s the point of freedom of speech and to assemble – the right to be offended.”

Cllr Mowat said any legal march by a non-banned organisation should be permitted.

But she added that it should be “shut down” by police “the moment it oversteps the mark”.

She added: “The police do an incredible job facilitating lots of different people with lots of different points of view.

“I wish they weren’t coming, I wish they would stay away but we have that right and live in a democracy.”

Any march requires permission from the council.

A council spokeswoman confirmed no permission as yet had been sought for a march in Edinburgh.

Police confirmed they were aware of “several demonstrations” planned for the city centre on March 25.

Officers said they would work to ensure that all events are free from violence and disorder.

A spokeswoman said: “We are working with our partners, including The City of Edinburgh Council, to put in place a proportionate policing operation to facilitate peaceful protest and minimise disruption to the public.”