Concerned Toon fans have sent out a message to anti-Islamic extremists planning a controversial march in Newcastle on a match day telling them to “Remember we are black and white; we are united.”
NUFC Fans United have put out the message on their website after the demonstration was announced by far right German group Pegida in the city centre on Saturday, February 28 – when Newcastle take on Aston Villa at St James’ Park.
The statement reads:
“The purpose of this notice is to bring to the attention the serious concerns of many Newcastle United supporters that have contacted us regarding the proposed Pediga anti Islam rally being planned in our city on 28th February and the subsequent and inevitable counter demonstration that will ensue.
“The aim of the rally seems to be to protest against what they (Pediga) perceive as an Islamification of Britain. The concerns being voiced are multiple but primarily they centre around the fact that firstly this Far Right German movement have chosen the city of Newcastle upon Tyne; a city famous for its tolerance, integration and warmth of spirit to hold their rally and secondly the fact that the rally is planned for somewhere in the city centre on a match day, (when we entertain Aston Villa) and the possibility for conflict that it might bring to our wonderfully diverse and glorious city, when bigotry and intolerance replaces match day euphoria.
“There is a fear that Newcastle United supporters who are of the Islamic faith or origin may be singled out for abuse by this group and we say that the authorities cannot allow any of our community, whatever their race, creed or religious belief to be treated in such a manner in our city on match day or any other day.
“As Supporters of Newcastle United we are asking what kind of message is such a rally sending to players such as Papiss Cissé, Mehdi Abeid, Cheik Tiote and Moussa Sissoko as well as to our wider Muslim community. What kind of message does it send to those who come to study in our colleges and universities, or who visit as tourists to wonder on the splendour of our heritage history? What message does it send to those who may be offered the opportunity in the future to come and work in a city that has prided itself on its warm welcome but will now be tarred with being a city that allowed itself to be associated with those of the German Far Right. Is this the message we want our city to be remembered by and tarnished with?
“If your answer is NO then please join us in ensuring that as strong a message as possible is sent out by the widest section of our Tyneside community as possible to say that this rally is unacceptable, uncalled for and not welcome on the streets of Newcastle. With the support of all like minded football supporters we hope we can all openly bring pressure to bear on the authorities and add to the pressure already being placed by other like minded groups to refuse this group the oxygen of publicity, not least because of the nature of its being but also because of the risk of conflict between football supporters on match day and those who wish to come to our city and besmirch its reputation.
“Remember, we are black and white; we are UNITED.”
Comedian Russell Brand has pledged to march against Pegida in Newcastle.
The political activist and stand up accepted an invitation by Newcastle councillor Dipu Ahad to stand shoulder to shoulder against the “anti Islam” march.
He told Ahad, who is a key figure in Newcastle’s Muslim community, he’d be at the march after the councillor contacted him on Twitter.
The march will be the German anti-Islamic group’s first in the UK.
The counter demonstration will be attended by Respect MP George Galloway, among others.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 19 Feb 2015
The controversial anti-Islam group Pegida has urged extreme right-wing groups planning to join its first British demonstration, in Newcastle, to keep protests peaceful.
It has admitted the 11am start on Saturday, February 28, was a “pain” for supporters travelling from elsewhere, but accepted police and the local council had “a lot to contend with” as there was a Premier League fixture in the city that afternoon.
There will also be a counter-demo which left-wing comedian Russell Brand and Respect MP George Galloway were understood to be joining.
Pegida UK is an offshoot of the group which started in Germany and whose name translates as Patriots of Europe against the Islamisation of the West.
On Facebook, it said it was aware extreme right-wing groups were planning to join them in Newcastle, and insisted the rally in the Bigg Market must remain non-violent.
It said: “Pegida is an organisation that believes in freedom of expression and speech. We welcome everybody. No matter of political nor religious background…
“All we ask is that people acknowledge our agenda of peaceful protest and unite under the Pegida flag for the day….. In a perfect world we would love the extreme right-wing element to leave us to it… but this isn’t an ideal world… as long as everyone behaves themselves, this should go without incident.
“The subject about Islam’s influence of our culture is a very sensitive issue… and it is a topic that lays heavy on our hearts… it is true this stirs emotions and sometimes anger… but we are not angry at the Muslim community, but the Governments that have allowed such acts to take place.
“Pegida asks that all aggression and ill conduct to be ruled out completely. This is a public and political awareness campaign… The only awareness a violent attitude will bring, is the awareness that we are out of control thugs that have no agenda except cause destruction.”
In a separate message addressed “Dear loyal and proud patriots” the group said it was too late to alter the February 28 date.
That afternoon a crowd of around 50,000 is expected to watch Newcastle United play Aston Villa at St James’s Park.
Pegida said Northumbria Police and Newcastle City Council “have a lot to contend with on the 28th, our hands are tied”.
> Well, you could just stay away…
The statement continued: “It is a pain for us all we can appreciate this. Newcastle will be the first of many demonstrations held. The next will be planned better with city events and logistics sorted out prior.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 19 Feb 2015
Demonstrators against an anti-Islam march planned for Newcastle city centre have expressed concerns over the presence of maverick MP George Galloway.
It comes after Mr Galloway announced plans to join a counter demo in the city on February 28 against Pegida UK’s first British rally.
But in an open letter other counter demonstrators have highlighted concerns that the Respect MP’s “divisive public figure” is raising issues among those hoping to take a stand against Pegida.
Gary Spedding, 24, a human rights advocate and Northumbria University student, said in the letter:
“This is highly problematic for us wishing to attend and support the demonstration against Pegida.
“Whilst we appreciate organisers have made it clear that they are aware his politics are not agreeable with everybody who will be in attendance, we do believe there are vital aspects which have been overlooked.”
The letter, co-signed by Lizi Gray, Women’s Representative for Northumbria University, goes on to outline concerns over Mr Galloway’s stance on the Israeli-Palestine conflict, as well as his alleged past comments suggesting Julian Assange was accused of nothing more than “bad sexual etiquette”.
Mr Assange is currently wanted in Sweden to face allegations – which he denies – of sexual assault made by two women.
But the open letter has angered Mr Galloway who today said he planned to take action in relation to it.
“I’m extremely disappointed that two individuals with their own agenda, in a highly-defamatory letter over which I am taking action, are effectively undermining the opposition to Pegida.”
> Aint that what so often happens, though ? And all the people who aren’t pushing their own agendas but just, you know, think it right to protest against a right wing organization like Pegida, they just get fed up and don’t bother anymore.
The MP last week revealed plans to come up and be part of a counter-demonstration where he will stand “beside the hundreds of other anti-Fascists against this highly-provocative incursion by Pegida which can only be intended to stir up racial hatred.”
Pegida have said the are planning a “peaceful” demonstration not associated with any extreme Far Right organisations and picked Newcastle because they already had a number of followers from the area.
The counter demonstration, organised by multi-cultural organisation Newcastle Unites, is expected to include representatives from a number of anti-fascist organisations.
In the open letter, Mr Speding goes on to say:
“We hope that organisers will disinvite Mr Galloway, or if too late for a disinvitation, then at the very least consider not giving him a platform.”
> I, for one, hope they don’t.
Northumbria Police have now confirmed they have spoken to Pegida in relation to arrangements for the planned march.
A spokesman added:
“We have spoken to the organisers and they have informed us they plan to hold their event on February 28.
“We are aware there are also plans in place for counter events to be held in the city on the same day.
“We will now speak to all of those involved, our partners and our local communities and over the coming days agree on plans for the events.
“Northumbria Police respects the right to peaceful protest and takes a neutral standpoint, not supporting or endorsing any groups or individuals.
“Our role is to protect, reassure and support our communities as well as the safety of everyone – those attending any events, those protesting, the general public and those policing them.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 16 Feb 2015
A leader of a controversial ‘anti-extremist Islam’ movement today claimed they already have an established following in Newcastle.
More than 320 people have now gone online to confirm attendance at Pegida UK’s Tyneside rally which has also sparked interest from Far-right wing groups in the region.
> Well, there’s a suprise – I wonder how many members of the local racist loonies are the same people as those apparently supporting Pegida ? I’m sure they’ll see it as a nice Trojan horse…
The British arm of the highly-criticised German protest movement say their North East following is one of the reasons they will be coming to the city at the end of this month.
The decision by the group to hold their first UK demo in Tyneside has already met with widespread condemnation.
But Pegida representative Matthew Pope said the march would be “peaceful” with the aim of standing against extremist forms of Islam.
Mr Pope added:
“We did not want to start our UK demos in London because there are a lot of right-wing extremists there and we wouldn’t want to associate ourselves with them.
> Tough shit, mate. You’re going to be their puppet organization.
“We are already have a following in Newcastle and it is far enough away from London to be the best place to get things underway.”
Mr Pope said anywhere up to 1,000 marchers could be expected in the city centre on the planned date of the demonstration, Saturday, February 28.
The plans have been met with concern and the Chronicle can reveal that several individuals, associated with Far-right groups in the North East have already, via social media, confirmed they will be attending.
In a Facebook post, Pegida UK sent out an open invitation to the march, stating: “All are welcome to attend. Let’s show the Islamists we show no fear.”
Under the banner of ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West’, the group claims it is trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants.
Mr Pope said:
“We understand that we are going to get tarnished with the same brush as certain other groups but this will be a peaceful demonstration.”
Mr Pope went on to say the purpose of the march would be to take a stand against Islamic extremism and not against the Muslim community.
However, he did say Pegida had concerns about the way the UK Government and police forces were approaching certain issues.
“We have concerns about the way Islam is being taught in schools. We are also worried with the way some groups seems to be setting their own laws withing our system of laws.
“We are certainly not against immigration, but feel our culture is being taken over by another culture.”
Mr Pope said that on February 28, protesters would be handing out leaflets and posters with containing information about their aims and about their views of Islamic law.
Opponents to the group have said they will hold a counter-demonstration if the Newcastle march goes ahead.
Councillor Dipu Ahad, from Elswick, Newcastle, has already written to Northumbria Police’s chief constable asking for the demo to be banned.
“I’m not hopeful this will happen so we will be planning our own counter-protest, bringing together people from all cultures in the city to celebrate the diversity of our community in a peaceful and celebratory manner.”
Anti Fascist groups in the city also say they are monitoring the plans for the protest.
Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, dozens of Pegida chapters have popped up online, prompting some reports that the group is establishing a bigger presence across Europe – in France, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, the UK and other countries where local Pegida Facebook pages have sprung up.
Will the march go ahead?
Pegida UK say they are currently in talks with Northumbria Police over the date, time and place of the march.
Mr Pope said:
“As representative for the organisation I have just started liaising with Northumbria Police about our plans.
“We are hoping that this will be on February 28.
“Although an exact route has not been set down, it will be in Newcastle city centre and we can expect anywhere up to 1,000 people to be attending.
“We are happy to work with the police and follow any guidelines which they set down.”
Newcastle City Council said they had not been contacted by the organisation.
A spokesman added that they have to wait to be informed by the police about any demonstrations happening in the city before taking any necessary action.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 06 Feb 2015
A notorious European ‘anti-Islam’ movement says it will hold its first British demo in Newcastle.
Pegida has sparked huge controversy in Germany.
Under the banner of ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West’, it claims it is trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants.
It brought 25,000 to the streets of Dresden in demos backing its cause.
But it also sparked huge counter demos, with 100,000 protesting against its stance.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has described it as racist, and Pegida’s leadership was said to be in crisis with “massive hostility, threats and career disadvantages” causing five of its senior members to step down after its founder was pictured dressed as Adolf Hitler.
It is advertising its first ever UK demo for Newcastle on February 28, the Mirror has reported.
It is the first of a series of demos planned for the UK, with others due to take place in Manchester, Birmingham and London.
Northumbria Police has yet to be notified about the event.
Pegida’s UK spokesman told the Mirror:
“We do not want to attract extremists to this rally.
“We are against radical Islam, hate preachers and believe Muslims need to adapt to our way of life in the West instead of us adapting to them.
“We do not want to do anything illegal and we will liaise with the police over this even if it means delaying the march by a week or two.
“We expect anywhere from 500 to 3,000 people for our first rally, and could then move on to London, Manchester and Birmingham.
“We chose Newcastle as neutral ground. This is a new and peaceful movement, and we do not want to get into any racist, right wing stuff.
> Well that’ll confuse the home-grown right wing loonies… are they supposed to support it or not ?
“This is against extremism. If we can get 300 terrorists out of the UK, then as far as we are concerned that is a step in the right direction.”
Northumbria Police said they had not been contacted by the organisers of the February 28 event.
The group has also held its first march in Austria, where it attracted a few hundred supporters.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 05 Feb 2015