Tagged: Newcastle Unites

National Action / White Man March – Newcastle 21 March 2015

> Good grief… no sooner has Pegida UK slunk away with their tails between their legs before another bunch of  right wing fantasists are coming to Newcastle…

North East Anti Fascists

Official Press Statement

Our Banner will Read – “SMASH THE WHITE MAN MARCH

Stand Against Racism and Nazism

The North East Anti Fascists recently mobilised successfully against Pegida in Newcastle, and are now looking to develop the movement so that it can confront all far right attempts to spread hatred that divides our communities.

Amidst the wreckage of the tiny and splintering fascist scene, a group of young ‘want to be stormtroopers’ (‘National Action‘) are attempting to resurrect the deceased Nazi tradition.

We are aware that these Nazis and racists intend to try and goosestep through Newcastle on the 21st March 2015, an area which was bombed by Nazis previously and which fought against them.

The North East Anti Fascists state that such a development is to stir up racism and division, to undermine community cohesion, and is merely a self serving exercise to feed their own egos. National Action must be stopped from spreading their message of racist hate and violence, and from getting organised in Newcastle and the UK.

The provocative racist ‘White Man March’ is thought to be occurring on the Quayside.

It is clear to us that the anti fascist movement needs to be more confrontational and can do, as we need to start blocking these Nazi ‘want to be’ stormtroopers. Gathering far away and going nowhere near them is a recipe for continual failure, and is only a means of controlling and neutering what opposition there is to racism and fascism.

We had previously stated that we will be meeting at first at the official Newcastle Unites (NU) event which was advertised as starting at 10am and lasting till 1 at the Monument, when the White Man March is due to start at 2. However, NU have changed their times to 1.30pm till 4pm. NEAF will still attend the Monument, to begin with, but then we will be going on a Nazi hunt and all those who are serious about their anti fascism will be welcome to help.

The latest news is that the Nazi march will be confined to the Millennium Footbridge, by the Baltic. NEAF will be encouraging people to take anti fascism into their own hands, to be their own leaders, to take their own initiative and do what is necessary.

We do not think that a comforting message of bread and circuses, ‘do nothing and listen to the music’, when the fascists are across town is anywhere near good enough. We need to be and do better comrades, if we wish to be effective.

We will announce another convergence point and time, a demonstration – to give it its just so 20th century label, for all anti fascists shortly.

We will be present throughout the day to provide a provisional attempt at the anti fascist spirit and intent necessary if we are to effectively smash fascism off our streets. Watch this page for updates.

ALERTA ALERTA ANTIFASCISTA!!

Source –  https://www.facebook.com/events/1404810419821473/

Advertisements

Far-right website RedWatch calls for information on anti-Pegida marchers

Police are monitoring a “disturbing” “neo-Nazi” website called RedWatch after images of anti-Pegida protestors were posted alongside a request for information.

Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah is among the people pictured after she spoke at a rally against an anti-Islam demonstration in the city.

The site – run by a far-right group not directly connected to Pegida – brands protestors “degenerates”, claims they were involved in violence and calls on people to provide personal data.

It is believed RedWatch has links to the paramilitary group Combat 18 and many featured on the site fear their names and addresses could be shared with dangerous individuals.

Chi confirmed she was reporting the matter to police, adding:

“The reference to illegal activities appears defamatory as well as an incitement and to call me degenerate and say I was making death threats – which is absolutely untrue – would also appear to incite people to take aggressive action.”

She added: “I think it is disturbing and I have asked the police to keep me informed.”

Pegida marchers, who claim they are trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants, were outnumbered in Newcastle by counter-demonstrators at a rate of more than five to one. People are calling on Northumbria Police to take action on RedWatch.

Newcastle University student Gary Spedding, another anti-Pegida marcher whose picture features on the site, said:

“I was shocked to discover the website known as RedWatch.

“The police informed me that my image, and those of a number of others that I know personally, had recently been uploaded to this neo-Nazi site following Newcastle Unites highly praised and successful rally against Pegida in Newcastle last month.

“The modus operandi of RedWatch, uploading images of anti-fascist individuals and groups in order to identify them and gather our personal details including telephone numbers and home addresses, is something I find to be sinister, creepy and potentially criminal.

“Publishing the image, personal details and contact number of individuals with implied intent to incite violence against them is possibly a breach of the Electronic Communications Act (2000).

“RedWatch is a far-right platform with strong ties to a paramilitary group known as Combat 18 – the publishing of personal details on the website has previously resulted in actual violence towards people at their home addresses and even death threats to elected representatives, including members of parliament and their families.

“I would urge those who may have had their images and personal details uploaded to the website to be vigilant and report the website – along with any out of the ordinary occurrences such as no caller ID phone calls – to the police as soon as possible.”

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said:

“We have been made aware of this website and are currently making inquiries into this matter.”

The people who run the site use this introduction:

“This is a site designed and intended for people who are involved in the struggle against the spread of Marxist lies in the UK.”

> Nothing actually new – RedWatch has published photos and requested info on protestors at protests in Newcastle and Sunderland before. 

Though undoubtedly they are sinister, creepy and potentially criminal.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 13 Mar 2015

Nazi-affiliated hate website appeals for personal information about people marching for ‘Newcastle Unites’

A Nazi-affiliated hate website has appealed for the personal information of members of the public, after publishing photos of people who took part in Saturday’s ‘Newcastle Unites’ march.

Redwatch carries the slogan “Remember places, traitors’ faces, they’ll all pay for their crimes” – a quote from Ian Stuart Donaldson, the frontman of white power rock band Skrewdriver before his death in 1993.

Now the faces of dozens of people from Saturday’s counter demonstration against the anti-islamist group Pegida UK have been posted online under the ‘North East Reds’ section of the site.

Anyone can access the website as long as they agree to do so in the knowledge that it contains ‘potentially controversial‘ material intended for reference purposes and not unlawful activity.

In the North East Reds section, the site says that any information on ‘the freaks’ photographed at the Newcastle march would be gratefully received, along with a statement detailing a desire to increase activity in the region.

Redwatch gained nationwide notoriety in 2006, when Alec McFadden, a long-term union activist from Merseyside, was repeatedly stabbed in the face in his doorway – his picture and home address had been published on the site.

 The website, which displays affiliations with neo-Nazi organisations Combat 18 and Aryan Unity on its homepage, claims that it is simply reacting to left wing organisations who have published the personal details of white nationalists online, and that it does not encourage violence against political opponents.

However, Newcastle Councillor Dipu Ahad, who helped organise the Newcastle Unites march, disagrees.

He received numerous threats over social media before the march, including one threatening him with beheading.

He said:

“It’s all about intimidation, whether it’s through threats of beheading on twitter or being named on this site.

“They’re trying to keep mouths shut and the police need to deal with this.

“Anybody who spots themselves or anyone they know on that site should report it to the police immediately.”

Source – Northern Echo,  03 Mar 2015

Piss-poor Pegida

Sunderland Echoes

Some chancers from the social media wing of the far-right decided they would attempt to cash-in on the recent Pegida bubble. Here’s what happened on their first National rally in the UK.

Words and pictures by our man in the field, DM.

Pegida UK got off to a bad start by arranging their first demo in Newcastle when the Toon were at home. The cops had their excuse to ban the march – unless Pegida held it at 9.30 in the morning – so it was demoted to a static rally at 11.00 on Saturday 28th February.

nineam Early doors for the cops

By 9.30 the police presence in Newcastle was already significant as preparations were made to ‘facilitate’ the far-right gathering.

After realising the planned BNP march from Monument to the rally site wasn’t going to happen, I walked down to the Bigg Market to find – with just 20…

View original post 689 more words

Anti-racist Newcastle councillor Dipu Ahad sent mocked-up image showing him being beheaded

Councillor and anti-racism campaigner Dipu Ahad received vile online beheading threats in the hours leading up to demonstrations on Tyneside.

Police are today probing pictures tweeted to the Elswick ward representative.

The images show Coun Ahad’s face superimposed onto the body of a man kneeling before a masked knifeman, as if he was about to be decapitated.

They were posted on Twitter just hours before German anti-Islam group Pegida held its first UK demonstration in Newcastle, alongside a counter-march by Newcastle Unites.

Coun Ahad said the author of the post had since apologised to him via Twitter after receiving condemnation by other users of the social media site.

And he has vowed not to let the troll’s actions put him off standing up for what he believes in.

But the father has admitted he is now living in constant fear for the safety of himself and his family.

Coun Ahad said:

“This was a direct threat on my life. I fear for my physical safety every day now. I’m always looking over my shoulder. But I’m not going to stop fighting for what is right. I’m not going to be intimidated.”

 

Muslim Coun Ahad, a life-long campaigner against racism and intolerance, was busy putting the finishing touches to Newcastle Unites’ march plans when the picture surfaced on Friday evening.

It appears to be an image of a masked Islamic State fighter holding a large knife above a hostage in an orange T-Shirt, with the councillor’s face photoshopped on to the condemned victim’s body.

Coun Ahad reported the incident to police immediately and officers are now investigating, while taking steps to look after the safety of Coun Ahad and his family.

“When my cat jumps around at night now I have to get up and check there is no one there,” he said.

“I’m more scared for my family’s safety than I am for my own. Every time I go out I am very cautious, I’m always on edge now.”

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said:

“At 7.20pm on Friday police received information regarding a malicious communication having been received via a social media site. Enquiries are ongoing and steps were taken to ensure the safety of those concerned.”

And Coun Ahad said Saturday’s events have confirmed his belief that he must continue to stand-up to hatred and prejudice, even if it means putting himself at risk.

“It is getting to the point now where you wonder whether it will ever stop,” he said.

“But I now believe it will only stop either if I shut my mouth, or if I’m dead. This is obviously just part of my life now.

“Saturday was absolutely amazing. So many people came together from different groups. It was so humbling. I’m so passionate about our communities.

“Getting threatened is not going to stop me. At least this has started a conversation and it’s opened up communication.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 02 Mar 2015

Newcastle : Thousands turn out as counter-march outnumbers Pegida protest five to one

Newcastle stood united against hate as thousands of anti-Pegida protestors marched through the streets of the city yesterday.

The German “anti-Islamisation” group’s first visit to Britain was outnumbered by more than five to one as families, anti-fascists, trade unions, religious and community groups all turned out in opposition.

And though five people were arrested the potential powderkeg passed off relatively peacefully.

But Pegida have vowed Saturday was only its “first of many” appearances in the UK.

> And the first of many humiliating put-downs…. the standard has been set.

I wish this hadn’t been necessary,” said Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, who spoke at the counter protest.

“What we would have liked is for Pegida to have not picked our great city to march in in the first place.

“But to see people of all cultures and backgrounds, from across the political spectrum and including many football fans, turn out really showed that Newcastle is united against these outsiders.”

Official figures from Northumbria Police suggested 2,000 people had turned out for the Newcastle Unites counter protest, which marched from the gates of the city’s Chinatown, down Gallowgate before rallying before a stage on Newgate Street.

Among them was record dealer Adrian Farquhar, from Gateshead, and Katherine Reed, a carer, who said they felt it was important to show their son the importance of standing up to groups like Pegida.

We came for our seven-year-old son,” Adrian said. “We can’t let these people like Pegida dictate the kind of world he grows up in.”

The demo was also attended by Respect MP George Galloway, a number of Newcastle councillors, Gateshead MP Ian Mearns, and German MEP Arne Lietz, who travelled from Gelsenkirchen.

“For me it was very important to show solidarity and that we are together as Europeans against hate,” said Arne.

This Pegida protest will have attracted other groups or individuals who will have called themselves Pegida, but many of whom are right wing and nationalist, and who’s hate speak we don’t want to see in the European Union.

“I come from East Germany when I grew up we were singled out for being Christians under the Communist regime. I now want to ensure that we live in a fair Europe with the liberties denied to my own parents.”

George Galloway said:

“All right-thinking people in Britain condemn the idea of a German Nazi group coming to the North East of England trying to stir up trouble.

“The vast majority of British people respect that and the people who are on here on the counter-demonstration are representing millions.

“We have problems in Britain without racism and Islamophobia being further stoked.”

Gateshead MP Ian Mearns, who joined the counter-rally, said the number of people at the Newcastle Unites march was “fantastic.

 

“It really shows the solidarity among the people of Newcastle and the North East, and from the perspective that the Pegida protest only had numbers in the low hundreds, and the counter protest had thousands it’s very encouraging,” he said.

But what I can’t understand is among the Pegida rally there will have been British Nationalists demonstrating alongside proud Europeans – it doesn’t make sense.”

> Well, clear-thinking was never their strong point… or indeed thinking at all.

One hundred yards in front of them, on the other side of a large police cordon filled with scores of uniformed police and mounted officers, around 375 Pegida supporters congregated in the Bigg Market.

Among the German-founded group, which insists it is neither fascist or racist, banners supporting the English Defence League and National Front could be seen.

One male supporter said:

“This has nothing to do with race. It is about Islamification of our country and nobody is doing anything about it. We want people to integrate when they come here and that is not happening.

“When we bring up these issues we are called bigots and racists but we just want to protect our heritage.”

Speakers at the one-hour gathering, which called for an “end to Islamification of the west”, had called for a peaceful protest but some supporters attempted to break through the police line after the Bigg Market demo closed, and around 100 Pegida supporters formed a line at Grainger Street in an effort to goad those on the Newcastle Unites side.

However police officers and mounted units swiftly moved in to prevented further disorder.

> Meanwhile, Pegida tried to put a positive spin on their laughably pathetic turn-out by blaming – wait for it – transport problems, without which there would have been an extra thousand there, honest.

Pegida said: “Thank you all for the first peaceful Pegida rally in UK today!

“The early hour made us lose about 1,000 people that had booked transport for 1pm which was our goal.”

> Which suggests that the extra thousand would have been rent-a-mob bused in from elsewhere.

Though it does beg the question why – since the time of the demo was known for some time – they couldn’t change their travel times.

Of course, it’s more likely they never actually existed at all, and so the non-racist Pegida had to rely on the like of the EDL to boost their attendance to the heights of, er, 375.

Newcastle Unites: Thousands turn out for counter-march against Pegida protest in Newcastle

Newcastle stood united against hate as thousands of anti-Pegida protestors marched through the streets of the city this morning.

Anti-fascists, trade unions, religious and community groups, and politicians all turned out to oppose the German “anti-Islamisation” group’s first visit to Britian.

“I wish this wasn’t necessary,” said Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, one of the speakers on the march.

“What we’d like is for Pegida to have Newcastle Unites: Thousands turn out for counter-march against Pegida protest not picked our great city to march in.

“But to see people of all cultures and backgrounds, from across the political spectrum and including many football fans, turn out really shows Newcastle is united against these outsiders.”

Charlie Trotter, 21, a waiter from Morpeth in Northumberland, was among a group carrying a Morpeth 4 Peace banner.

“I came down to help make it known that the people of the North Eats are comfortable with immigration and people of different backgrounds and to show that we need to stand up to the far right,” said Charlie.

Gateshead MP Ian Mearns said the number of people at the Newcastle Unites march, which travelled from the gates of the city’s Chinatown, down Gallowgate, and down Newgate Street, was “fantastic.”

“It really shows the solidarity among the people of Newcastle and the North East, and from the perspective that the Pegida protest only had numbers in the low hundreds, and the counter protest had thousands it’s very encouraging,” he said.

But what I can’t understand is among the Pegida rally there will have been British Nationalists demonstrating alongside proud Europeans – it doesn’t make sense.”

Among the speakers who took to the Newcastle Unites stage was German MEP Arne Lietz, who travelled from Gelsenkirchen.

“For me it is very important to show solidarity and that we are together as Europeans against hate,” he said.

This Pegida protest will have attracted other groups or individuals who will call themselves Pegida, but many of whom are right wing and nationalist, and who’s hate speak we don’t want to see in the European Union.

“I come from East Germany when I grew up we were singled out for being Christians under the Communist regime. I now want to ensure that we live in a fair Europe with the liberties denied to my own parents.”

The Newcastle Unites march on Newgate street and the Pegida protest on the Bigg Market were kept around 100 yards apart by police cordons and scores of uniformed officers enforcing a “sterile zone.”

It is not yet known if any arrests were made at either protest

> I had hoped to attend myself ( the Newcastle Unites rally, in case you were wondering !) but  the effects of bronchitis made worse by a heavy cold dictated otherwise.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 28 Feb 2015

> Pegida supporters (for today, anyway – back to EDL tomorrow). As one comment for this video put it: “Never seen so many inbreed sister fuckers in one place, look like scum sound like scum tramps get a life..”

‘A united Newcastle’ is declared by those opposing Pegida’s first UK march

“Today we are a united Newcastle.”

Thousands of voices will be joined in unison to reject attempts by a controversial ‘anti Islam’ movement to spread their message to Tyneside.

Pegida, which claims it is trying to defend the UK from the spread of Islamic extremism, was due to hold its first British demonstration in Newcastle city centre on Saturday.

But a rapidly growing counter-demonstration, attracting in excess of 2,000 people, is expected to simultaneously march through the city centre in protest over Pegida.

The counter-demo has attracted a series of politicians, public figures, community leaders and activists.

Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle North, today sent this message to Pegida:

“I am horrified you have decided to hold your first event in the UK in our fantastic city.

“But the event shows that vile views – which incite religious and racial hatred – will not be allowed to take root in Newcastle and the North East.

“Tyneside has a proud history of cultural diversity, multi-faith co-operation and mutual respect. That will continue long after Pegida have left. Hopefully – thanks to the huge swell of support from all participating – they will well and truly get the message that their message of hate will not take root here.”

 

North East Journalist, author and vice president of the European Muslim League, Yvonne Ridley, is also returning to her home city for the counter-demo.

Today she said:

“I love Newcastle. It’s a city of happy memories for me. It has been my home, workplace and playground. It’s the city where I became a mother and it is the city which is now educating my daughter, courtesy of the university.

“My ties with Newcastle are unbreakable. That the far right group Pegida has chosen here to stage its first march outside of Germany is beyond shocking and I will do everything in my power as a mother, trade unionist, peace activist and Geordie to make sure this visit is the last.

“The march is about Islamaphobia – the targeting of a group of people purely for their religious beliefs and who remembers the last time a religious group was persecuted in Europe?

“My 88-year-old widowed mother Joyce says she will travel from her home in County Durham with her friend to show her solidarity with Muslims across Britain. Why would she do such a thing for a group of people she’s never met? As she says her own father took up arms in the First World War and her husband in the Second World War, as well as many others in her family who paid the blood price so that millions could enjoy the sort of freedoms and liberties denied under fascist regimes.

“Make no mistake, those who invited Pegida to come to this great city have no love for the region or those who live here. First they play the nationalist card and then they try and link their evil ideology to mainstream issues in party politics, political communication and immigration.

“It is undeniable that huge swathes of our population genuinely feel abandoned by the government which seems to care more about protecting corporate business and the banksters, but these issues can only be sorted out through becoming politically engaged especially at the ballot box.

“Come and join me and my mum on Newcastle’s counter rally. It’s the right thing to do.”

The counter-demo has been organised by multi-cultural organisation Newcastle Unites.

 

Elswick Councillor Dipu Ahad, from Newcastle Unites, said:

“I hear so many people’s anger and frustration that Pegida are coming to Newcastle.

“I fully understand, however let us not hate Pegida, but pity them, but most importantly thank them, thank them for uniting us all, people from all backgrounds, race and religion

“This is the first time I’ve see so much unity, and this makes me proud to be a British Geordie Muslim, who’s elected to serve all, no matter who

“So let’s not disunite after possibly the biggest counter demo against hate the UK has seen, and let’s make this a platform to build on something great and eradicate all types of evil

“I urge you all to be part of something great, and this can only be achieved by our unity

“Saturday is the beginning of Pegida in the UK, and together we can ensure it’s the end of Pegida.”

The Pegida movement started in Germany but has reportedly launched a number of other European off-shoots in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.

Gillian and Jim Anderton were both due to take part in the counter-demo.

Jim, 46, of Heaton, said:

“I was hoping this wouldn’t happen and Pegida would change their minds about coming.

“But the people of Newcastle will always come together for the good of the city. We are a united Newcastle.”

A spokesman for the Tyne and Wear Anti Fascist Association said:

“We are appalled at the presence of Pegida on the streets of Newcastle. We call upon the decent people of the North East to protest at the hateful and divisive racism of this organisation.”

Pegida demonstration

The following roads will be closed to allow for the demonstrations to take place:

The Bigg Market will be closed to traffic from around 10am. Pegida are due to hold their static demo at 11am.

A small section of Gallowgate will be closed from around 10:30am to 10:45am Newcastle Unites march begins.

A section of Newgate Street will be closed from 10:30am.

There are no plans to close Clayton Street or Grainger Street.

Officers say they may need to temporarily close other roads depending on activity, however they will look to re-open them as soon as possible and keep the city road network flowing.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 27 Feb 2015

Newcastle: ‘Stay out of our city’ Final message to Pegida ahead of Tyneside demo

You are not welcome in our city.

That was the overriding message from residents, community leaders, political parties and union bosses just 24 hours before an “anti-islam” protesters arrive in Newcastle city centre.

Under the banner of ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West’, Pegida supporters will be taking to Tyneside’s streets amid claims they are trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants.

Saturday, will be the first UK demonstration by the British branch of the organisation.

A growing counter-demonstration, now expected to attract in excess of 2,000 people, will simultaneously march through the city centre in protest over Pegida.

The counter-demo, organised by Newcastle Unites, is also aiming to attract a string of high profile speakers including George Galloway MP.

 

Police said they were fully prepared to cope with the extra influx of people into the city centre just hours before Newcastle United kick off their home match against Aston Villa.

Today, opponents to Pegida made one final rallying call.

David Stockdale, councillor for Blakelaw, who will also be speaking at the meeting, said:

“Newcastle is a friendly, tolerant and inclusive city of sanctuary. We thrive on the diversity of our communities which make our city one of the truly great cities of the world.

“We have a proud history of standing up to intolerance and hate and to groups like Pegida who seek to do harm to our Muslim sisters and brothers.

“Pegida paint a brutal misrepresentation of Islam. It’s important to stand up to that and for me as a non-Muslim it’s important to speak out against Pegida’s twisted prejudice.

“The Newcastle Unites counter-demonstration will show Newcastle at its best. Islamophobia targets Muslims but it hurts us all and I’m so proud of how our wonderful city has come together to march in peace and solidarity against Pegida and everything they stand for”.

The Pegida movement started in Germany but has reportedly launched a number of other European off-shoots in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.

Jeremy Beecham, former leader of Newcastle City Council, said:

“This city has a deserved reputation for welcoming people and for good relations between the communities which enrich its life.

“It has welcomed the contribution made by people from a variety of cultures across a range of activities, from the NHS to St James’s Park. Pegida is an extreme right wing movement driven by hatred of Muslims, on whom they have focussed their resentment for problems they perceive in Germany.

“Their Islamophobia is totally unacceptable, and it’s difficult to understand why Newcastle has been singled out for their malign attention. I hope the people of this city will unite to reject the message of division which they seek to bring to our streets.”

David Kelly, 33, from Newcastle, will be part of the counter-demo.

He said: “We don’t want these people in our city. They don’t belong here. We are a friendly, tolerant and welcoming place.”

Pegida claim to have chosen Newcastle for their first UK march due to having already established a following in the city.

 

Chi Onwurah,  Newcastle MP, said:

“We are a city of diverse communities and shared values where we both respect and look out for each other. We have a history of facing hard times together and growing stronger.

“People coming from outside to spread a message of division and hatred are not welcome. Pegida is targeting Muslims in our community and we have to stand up and say it is wrong, Islamaphobia is wrong, anti semitism is wrong, all racism is wrong, we can do better than this, we have done better than this when we saw off the National Front and the BNP.

“The idea that there might be children in Newcastle who feel unwelcome or unappreciated because of the religion they practise I find absolutely obscene. That is why I’ll be there on Saturday.”

Police say they have had open dialogue with parties from both demonstrations and say they are satisfied the demos will pass “peacefully”.

Chief Superintendent Laura Young, from Northumbria Police, added:

“I have had guarantees from both organisations that this will be a peaceful demonstration.

“People should not be put off coming into the city centre on Saturday. People will still want to come shopping, there is a football match on in the afternoon and people will be coming for other events.

“I would just say that they should give themselves some extra time to get in and out of the city centre as there have been some road closures.”

The march, which will begin at 10.30am, has attracted national, and international interest.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 26 Feb 2015

Pegida Newcastle: Thousands due to flood streets for counter Pegida demo

Organisers of a counter-march against a planned “anti-Islam” demonstration in Newcastle say they are expecting more than 2,000 people to flood the city centre this Saturday.

Newcastle Unites say representatives from the Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Christian and Islamic communities will unite in one voice against Pegida’s first UK demo, due to be held this weekend.

Under the banner of ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West’, Pegida claims it is trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants.

This Saturday will be the first UK demonstration by the British branch of the organisation.

But counter demonstrators say they are expecting low numbers to turn out in support of Pegida.

Councillor Dipu Ahad, from Elswick and part of Newcastle Unites, said:

“Their Facebook page suggests more than 700 people have agreed to come but the reality is there will probably only be a couple of hundred.

“As far as they are concerned, it is looking as if it will be a bit of a damp squid.”

> Damp squid ?  I think he means damp squib.

Northumbria Police have met with both groups to discuss policing on the day.

Newcastle Chief Superintendent Laura Young said:

“It will be a busy day in Newcastle on Saturday with a number of events taking place and with lots of people coming into the city centre for things like shopping, socialising and the football.

“The city is a busy place on a Saturday anyway and with all of the extra things taking place then we are advising anyone who is thinking of driving into Newcastle to give themselves extra time and be aware of how their journey might be affected by the delays.

“To minimise disruption to the public we will have motor patrols officers out on the roads to ensure traffic flow and we will do everything we can to keep the roads open and to reduce the impact on the public.

“We have spoken with the local authority and local bus and travel companies about the road closures and we are looking to have all roads re-opened as soon as possible on Saturday.”

Councillor David Stockdale, Newcastle City Council’s Labour ward member for Blakelaw, will be one of the counter-demo’s speakers on the day.

He said:

“I will be talking about Newcastle and how it is a city of sanctuary; how it is a community with a proud and long history of standing up to injustice.

“I intend to tackle some of the brutal misrepresentations of Islam which Pegida paints. I think it’s important that a non-Muslim stands up and does that.

“I do wish Pegida were not coming on Saturday but I believe everyone has a right to express their views, no matter for distorted and wrong they are. The best way to deal with these kind of views is to challenge them.”

A public meeting by opponents of Pegida will be held at the city’s central library on Thursday. The event will take place at the Bewick Room at 6pm.

Journalist Yvonne Ridley, who converted to Islam after she was arrested in Afghanistan, will be speaking at the event along with Coun Ahad.

The meeting is intended for supporters of Stop the War Coalition and those who oppose Islamophobia and racism and begins at 6pm.

John and Jennifer Martin, of North Shields, are among those planning to take part in Saturday’s counter-demo.

Mr Martin, 36, a car showroom manager, said:

“My wife and I feel like we have an obligation to take part on Saturday because Newcastle is our home and we don’t want groups like this thinking they can come here and disrupt the harmony we have.

“I don’t know much about where Pegida have come from but I know we don’t want their messages spreading in the North East.”

On Saturday, the following roads will be closed to allow for the demonstrations to take place:

  • The Bigg Market will be closed to traffic from around 10am.
  • A small section of Gallowgate will be closed from around 10:30am to 10:45am Newcastle Unites march begins.
  • A section of Newgate Street will be closed from 10:30am.
  • There are no plans to close Clayton Street or Grainger Street.

Officers say they may need to temporarily close other roads on the day depending on activity, however they will look to re-open them as soon as possible and keep the city road network flowing.

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 24 Feb 2015