Right-wing groups plan to confront pro-Palestinian march in London
Sunday 13 September 2009
Police on alert ahead of Al-Quds Day rally after organisation tells its supporters to 'let them know they aren't welcome'
Hundreds of police will be monitoring Trafalgar Square today as extreme right-wing organisations and football-linked groups are expected to confront a coalition of Muslim groups holding a Palestine solidarity march in London.
Officers have been drafted in from forces outside the capital to prevent a repeat of bloody confrontations that led to scores of arrests in Luton and Birmingham at similar protests earlier in the year.
On Friday, 10 people were arrested when scuffles broke out after an organisation calling itself "Stop Islamification of Europe" clashed with members of anti-fascist groups outside a mosque in Harrow, north London. Today's Al-Quds Day march will see thousands of Muslims from scores of religious organisations and mosques take to the capital's streets "in support of the Palestinians and all oppressed peoples of the world".
A group calling itself Casuals United, which says it has more than 50 branches and 700 members grouped around football teams, is encouraging supporters to hold a counter-protest.
"This is the terrorist-supporting 'we are Hezbollah' mob. We need all our lads to turn out to let them know they aren't welcome here," the group says on its website.
Yesterday, senior police officers urged all sides to show restraint.
Recent months have seen a hardening in the stance of Casuals United, which initially allied itself to the English Defence League, said to be responsible for the Luton and Birmingham protests.