Far right plans front demos to exploit Manchester tragedy

Sarah Archibald - 29 05 17

It’s been a very hard week or so.

Last Tuesday I travelled to Manchester to stand in solidarity with friends and strangers, Mancunians of all faiths and none.

It was difficult. As was visiting St Anne’s Square where so many floral and written tributes have been left to the victims of such brutal, senseless violence.

There have been tears. They have been shed not just in remembering those who died or suffered life-changing injuries, but in response to so many beautiful and kind gestures.

Manchester is a brilliant city, home to brilliant, resilient people. People who look out for each other.

The world has seen the worst that can happen to a city, the vicious slaughter of innocent, balloon-carrying kids. But it’s also seen the best of a city in a response that was both defiant and yet full of love.

The response of the far right has been diametrically opposed.

Within hours of the tragedy the English Defence league (EDL) turned up at the city’s Arndale Centre, only to have their message of hate shouted down by locals.

Their appearance also placed extra pressures upon Greater Manchester Police who were not only dealing with the immediate aftermath of the attack and its investigation, but also working hard to ascertain if the city faced a further, imminent terrorist threat.

Grief thief in charge, Stephen Lennon (aka) Tommy Robinson sped to the city, targeting both the civic vigil and local mosques.

He shamelessly used his presence to promote his grubby little book via social media.

My colleague Matthew Collins reported on his antics here, along with his fumbling attempt to further exploit fatal terrorist violence, not realising the man responsible was from the American far right.

EDL Manchester
Caolan Roberston and Stephen Lennon exploiting the Manchester vigil.

Now Manchester must brace itself as two far right groups are preparing demos, neither bearing the title of their organising groups.

The first, on June 11th, is billed as Gays Against Sharia and is notionally to mark the anniversary of the Orlando massacre and the recent state sponsored harassment and violence of the LGBT community in Chechnya.

It’s organiser is one Tommy Cook (left), aka Tommy English, a long-term activist in the EDL and, latterly. Lennon’s Pegida vehicle.

Cook has been excited to announce what amounts in his small circles to celebrity attendance. Lennon-Robinson, naturally, has said he’ll be there, as has recent UKIP-evictee Anne Marie Waters who is also a big wig in the little world of Pegida UK.


Lennon and Waters on Pegida patrol.

Pink News has already reported on their plans, noting that the tactic of appropriating otherwise legitimate causes is hardly novel for the far right.

The Arena attack has put some wind behind far right sails, but attendance is likely to be very limited. The numbers the EDL and Pegida demonstrations have commanded recently have been pitiful, and homophobia is rife within far right circles.

Manchester’s vibrant gay community will, we trust, respond in suitable style. We’re hoping for quite the party.

Next up is Parents Against Extremists, the brainchild of a couple of extremely far right extremists, Chez Heath and Anne Marie Barnsley.

Both are from Wigan and both are, or were, allied to the North West Infidels (NWI), an openly fascist, mildly less openly drug-dealing gang. Most of the NWI are currently in jail, on licence or on bail in relation to various violent offences and alleged violent offences.

Chez Heath Ann Marie Barnsley
They claim to be non-racist. The organisers’ histories tell a different story.

For some reason they are a bit touchy about being identified as the organisers of the July 8th protest. Well, actually, that reason is obvious: they know the good people of Manchester wouldn’t touch with a bargepole anything top do with these far right headbangers.

We’re told that if you visit their event page and ask who Parents Against Extremists are, then you’ll be instantly banned.

You can test that theory out by clicking here and asking that very reasonable question yourselves.

Parents Against Extremism Manchester
Chez Heath, at a Worldwide White Pride demo in Manchester.
Anne Marie Barnsley with the NWI / National Action.







Word is, though, that Heath has just hung up her boots having yet again fallen out with  comrades in both the NWI and their counterparts at the South East Alliance run by Paul Prodromou.

This latest ruck seems to be over a poster and involves Emma Foreman who can often be found at the centre of an in-fight. I can’t be bothered to delve further, other than to note that Prodromou, the man of Greek Cypriot heritage who calls himself Paul Pitt, has been banned from attending.

Let them fight among themselves.

Before the front of a demo that is Parents Against Extremism there is an actual EDL demo just down the M62 in Liverpool.

At least organiser Dylan Cresswell (who we previously reported called for a mosque arson attack) is open that it’s an EDL gathering. But he’s less forthcoming about the kind of people he’s attracting.

We’ll have more to follow on that.


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