Edinburgh far-right demo sparks outrage after Christchurch terror

FAR-right extremists have been condemned for demonstrating in the Capital just over a week on from the Christchurch terror attacks.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 22nd March 2019, 10:37 am
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 10:38 am

Up to 70 protestors under the Scottish Defence League banner are expected to converge on Holyrood tomorrow afternoon shadowed by anti-fascist protestors.

A heavy police presence is also expected including riot cops and specially trained spotters in the crowd bolstering the usual armed response at the Scottish Government building.

“Once again we have people coming in to this city to foment hatred with their bile and a skewed set of beliefs,” said Labour’s Leith councillor, Gordon Munro.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Police dealt with an SDL protest in Glasgow last summer. Picture: TSPL

“This is not the Edinburgh we live and work in. We stand in solidarity with Christchurch and say: ‘This is not our Edinburgh, we must defeat the bigotry which fuels such hatred and violence’ we are all one race – the Human Race’.”

A white supremicist with links to far-right groups in Europe opened fire on worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch during Friday prayers last week, killing 50 and injuring 50 more.

Up to 40 SDL members are expected to meet at the Market Street exit of Waverley station at 1.30pm, bolstered by up to 30 from south of the border.

More than 100 anti-fascist campaigners are planning to congregate across the road before police escort both groups to Holyrood in separate directions.

The SDL are expected to be taken via Calton Road while the counter demo heads along Jeffrey Street.

Police will close Horse Wynd, outside Holyrood from 12.30pm for the duration of the demonstration - likely to be until 3pm.

Among the police presence will be plain-clothed spotters looking to identify any potential troublemakers.

Anyone arousing suspicion will be taken out of the crowd, searched and their details taken.

The counter demonstration is expected to draw members of the Muslim community and trade unions.

Feminist and race equality campaigner Talat Yaqoob said: “Racists are not welcome on our streets and we have to be loud in opposing them.”

And Steve West, of Stand up to Racism Edinburgh, said the Christchurch attacks were an example of where “divisive, racist, poisonous narratives” ultimately lead.

Superintendent Phil Davison said officers are aware of both the demonstration and counter-protest taking place.

He added: “An appropriate policing presence will be in place to help facilitate a peaceful event with minimal disruption to the public. Where there is disorder that threatens public safety or unlawful behaviour, we will always act quickly and professionally to prevent it and target those responsible.”