Spotlight on far-right violence

Spotlight on far-right violence


Written by: Jon Burnett

An overview of racially motivated attacks perpetrated by members of the far-right and convictions over the last few months.

Just a few months ago, two women in Plymouth were sentenced in February for their part in an EDL mob-attack which took place in 2011. The two were part of a group who attended an EDL meeting, got drunk, went outside and screamed prolonged racist abuse and chanted ‘EDL’ at a Kurdish family who, in terror, barricaded themselves in their takeaway. Some of the attackers stood kicking at the door, others threw pint-glasses into the shop, one of which shattered near a baby. Such was the ferocity of the attack that the owners eventually sold their business, too frightened to continue trading. This came within a few months of the convictions of seven EDL supporters who, last year, had gone on a spree of violence after a demonstration in Dewsbury, seriously beating an Asian man and hurling racist abuse at motorists.

A selection of racially motivated incidents and convictions over the last few months are presented below:

28 March 2013: Former BNP candidate Michael Whitby refused to take part in a hearing at Wirral Magistrate’s Court after being accused of verbally abusing and threatening a traffic warden last November. Whitby threatened the Nigerian-born traffic warden after receiving a ticket, following him and reportedly telling him ‘your home is not safe’. In his absence, he was found guilty of offences including ‘racially aggravated threatening behaviour’, fined £250 and ordered to pay compensation and costs. (Flintshire Chronicle, 28 March 2013)

8 March 2013: A BNP supporter was arrested after posting a picture of a mosque in Swansea on his Facebook page and adding ‘burn down this devil centre’. (HOPE not hate, 8 March 2013)

March 2013: A 19-year-old teenager was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 100 hours unpaid work after pleading guilty to a string of offences. In November 2012, she and a friend daubed racist graffiti on a mosque in Woking, and its car-park, and painted ‘bin Laden’, ‘Saddam Hussien’ and ‘EDL’ on the public wall of some flats and a business park. She also sprayed offensive graffiti on an Asian man’s front door. (Surrey Advertiser, 7 March 2013)

23 February 2013: A 56-year-old man was arrested at an EDL demonstration in Cambridge after unleashing a torrent of racist abuse at one police officer and spitting at another. The man had been confronted by police after he was seen urinating outside someone’s house. In mitigation, the man’s lawyer said that the defendant had needed to go to the toilet. (Cambridge News, 12 March 2013)

23 February 2013: A 40-year-old women was given an 18-month community order and ordered to pay court costs in relation to a case arising at a combined National Front and North West Infidels demonstration in Dewsbury last year. The protest was held against a backdrop of furore about ‘grooming’. Despite concocting a story that she had been set upon by a group of Muslim men whilst police watched and did nothing, the court heard that, on the contrary, the woman had approached an Asian man to give him a leaflet and then attacked him. She then resisted arrest and spat at a police officer. (Islamophobia Watch, 25 February 2013)

22 February 2013: Two women were given a suspended prison sentence and a 12-month community order respectively, and ordered to pay compensation, for their part in a violent attack in 2011. See story above. (Plymouth Herald, 23 February 2013)

18 February 2013: A 24-year-old man with links to the EDL was given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out unpaid work after pleading guilty to racially aggravated harassment. On Boxing Day 2012, he had planted a pig’s head at the gates of a Muslim community centre in Leicester, pointed facing worshipers as they approached. (Leicester Mercury, 18 February 2013)

25 January 2013: A Scottish Defence League (SDL)-supporting teenager was fined for launching a tirade of racist abuse at a shopkeeper in Paisley and threatening to cut his throat. The shopkeeper challenged the teenager over her behaviour in August last year, and she hurled abuse at him, calling him a ‘black b*****d’, telling him to ‘go back to his own country’, trying to kick him and vandalising the shop. She was fined £375. (Paisley Daily Express, 25 January 2013)

24 January 2013: Three EDL supporters had convictions for the racially aggravated element in public disorder quashed. The men had been charged and fined last year in relation to their actions on a train platform in Middlesborough, during which they were abusive, singing EDL songs and a ‘highly inflammatory religious chant’. They also accused a police officer of being ‘anti-British’. The men appealed against the ‘racially aggravated’ aspect of the conviction, but accepted a lesser disorder offence, and the appeal was not opposed as a crucial witness had since left the country. (Evening Gazette, 25 January 2013) 

23 January 2013: An EDL supporter was given a three-month prison sentence after placing a pig’s head outside a mosque in Newbury, West Berkshire. The incident was the latest of several attacks against the mosque. (Newbury Today, 23 January 2013)

15 January 2013: Seven EDL supporters were given jail sentences for a series of racist attacks in Dewsbury and Heckmondwike last year. The group attended an EDL demonstration and then went on a spree of violence, chasing an Asian man and beating him when he fell to the floor, hurling racist abuse at motorists, spitting at someone and throwing a drink at a car. (Dewsbury Reporter, 15 January 2013)

12 January 2013: Kevin Carroll, joint leader of the EDL and the British Freedom Party, was arrested and bailed in relation to allegations he attempted to ‘stir up racial hatred’ on Facebook. The charge was later dropped. (Independent, 14 January 2013)  

5 January 2013: A Birmingham EDL organiser was charged for a racist attack on a bus in October 2012. The man, with a friend, reportedly racially abused a passenger and when another man tried to stop them, punched him in the face and ribs repeatedly. (Islamophobia Watch, 6 January 2013)

January 2013: An EDL supporter who aimed offensive racist tweets at Muslims and Pakistani people was given a suspended sentence. Although the particular messages this related to were unspecified, previous tweets included ‘i wish all #muslims would leave the #UK and f**k off back to the desert where they belong the dirty goat f*****g child raping pedophile scum’ and, to another user, ‘excited to start another race war on here tonight now i all of #facebook are migrating over so they can join in! #Muslim Scum #p**i DIE DIE’.  The man had a previous conviction in relation to an altercation with a Sikh man whom he called ‘bin Laden’. (Islamophobia Watch, 31 January 2013)   

January 2013: Several EDL supporters were arrested and charged in relation to disorder that broke out at a demonstration in Walsall in September 2012. One EDL supporter was fined for racist abuse. (Express & Star, 16 January 2013)


Read an IRR report: ‘Racial violence: facing reality

Read an IRR News story: ‘Spotlight on racial violence: January-February 2013

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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