Other notable street protest groups

United Kingdom Britain First Casuals United Infidels South East Alliance March For England United British Patriots Gays Against Sharia Britain First Leader: Paul Golding Deputy…

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Chapter : Other notable street protest groups

United Kingdom

Britain First

Casuals United


South East Alliance

March For England

United British Patriots

Gays Against Sharia

Britain First

Leader: Paul Golding

Deputy Leader: Jayda Fransen

Britain First (BF) is currently the most high profile counter-jihad street protest organisation in the UK. While still small, it has benefited from the vacuum left by the declining British National Party (BNP) and the splintering English Defence League (EDL). It has also benefited by excessive and sensationalist media coverage. The group is currently on the backfoot, however, having suffered a number of serious setbacks in 2018.

The group began its confrontational political activities by promoting actions designed to intimidate and ignite violent responses from Muslim communities, a tactic that has been implemented less often since the departure of their founder Jim Dowson.

Combining the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the BNP with the EDL’s hostility towards Muslims, Britain First has attracted supporters from both of these groups due to its direct action and stunts, in particular targeting Islamist extremist Anjem Choudary’s network in a way that the EDL never did. Through directly confronting their opponents on camera, they have attracted huge support on social media.

Britain First was founded and funded initially by Jim Dowson, a man dedicated to Calvinist chauvinism, religious bigotry and the raptures of evangelical and biblical Armageddon/doomsday prophecies. Though Dowson left the organization in 2014, arguing that the group’s tactics of invading mosques was “provocative and counterproductive”, the group has maintained its Christian focus with crucifixes being displayed at BF demonstrations.

In early 2016, Golding was in discussions about merging BF with Paul Weston and his Liberty GB party, although this did not materialise. Golding stood as BF candidate in the 2016 London mayoral elections, polling just 1.2%. During the victory speech of Labour’s Sadiq Khan, a Muslim, Golding turned his back on the winning candidate and BF later tweeted “ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS NOT WELCOME!”.

In June 2016 Britain First hit the headlines again after the assassination of Labour MP Jo Cox by far-right extremist Thomas Mair, who despite having no apparent connection to the group reportedly shouted the words “Britain First” during his attack. This led to the party sitting out the subsequent by-election for fear of a local backlash.

Golding and Fransen were banned from entering Luton and, later, all mosques and Islamic centres in England and Wales in August 2016. In November 2016, Fransen was convicted and fined by a court in Luton for abusing a Muslim woman, and also fined for wearing a political uniform. On the same day, Golding was charged with having entered premises in Wales against a court order instructing him not to do so. After breaking the court order Golding was sentenced to eight weeks in prison in December 2016 and on his release published a video in which he stated:

“I can promise you, from the very depths of my being, you will all meet your miserable ends at the hands of the Britain First movement. Every last one of you.”

In August 2017 they held a ‘Day of Action’ in Wolverhampton though attracted only a small crowd of 17 demonstrators.

While the group’s street demonstrations are generally small, they have had some striking success online; as of January 2018, the group has over 1.9 million Likes on Facebook.

The group was the focus of intense media speculation when US President Donald Trump retweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by Fransen in late November 2017. In December Golding and Fransen’s accounts were closed by Twitter.

In March 2018 Golding and Fransen were both jailed for 18 weeks and 36 weeks respectively for a series of hate crimes against Muslims.

Following this Facebook removed the accounts of Fransen, Golding and Britain First, leaving the group without its major online platforms.

Paul Golding

Paul Golding is the leader of the UK’s leading street protest group Britain First. He has been active in far-right politics since the late 1990s when a member of the young BNP.

As a member of the BNP Golding was soon recruited as a party propagandist and began editing a youth publication ‘Excalibur’. Golding was tipped by Nick Griffin as someone with great potential, although others in the party felt he was a little “wooden” and prone to displays of stupidity when influenced by others and alcohol.

In 2002, Golding became the BNP’s ‘Director of Publicity’ and was one of Nick Griffin’s closest confidants. However, by 2009 Golding’s star was beginning to wane as his recreational activities began to take their toll and he developed a reputation for reacting violently towards other BNP members, most notably the then-councillor, Lawrence Rustem, who Golding attacked after a leafleting session.

In 2009 Golding surprised everyone by being elected to Sevenoaks district Council in Kent. A few months later it was reported that despite taking a salary for the position, Golding had actually done very little. At the time he was Editor of the party periodical, which ground to a standstill as the BNP was beginning to silently implode.

In 2011 Golding moved to Northern Ireland, belatedly quitting his council post and the BNP, and helped Dowson start up Britain First.

Since then he has led BF to become the leading UK-based counter-jihad street movement.

Jayda Fransen

A former recruitment consultant from Anerley, South London, Jayda Fransen is deputy Leader of Britain First (BF). Her outspoken stance on Islam and her prominent role in BF has made her an increasingly important figure on the British scene.

She is a dedicated Roman Catholic who studied Law while working for a now-defunct firm of conveyance solicitors in Forest Hill. Importantly she has been one of those responsible for injecting the group with its religious zeal, believing strongly in invasion and crusader narratives.

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Casuals United/Pie and Mash Squad

Leader: Joe Turner (AKA Jeff Marsh, AKA Joe Butler)

This British-based protest group Casuals United (CU) was founded in May 2009 as a national umbrella network of some 50 football hooligan gangs, known as ‘casuals’.

CU has affiliated to the English Defence League (EDL) and has recruited for the United Defence Leagues: EDL, Scottish Defence League (SDL) and Welsh Defence League (WDL). CU has also supported March for England (MFE).

Their leader, Joe Turner (AKA Jeff Marsh), founder of the Welsh Defence League, is a convicted football hooligan who has been jailed numerous times for violent offences, including a two-year prison sentence in 1989 for stabbing two Manchester United fans.

Casuals United was forced to take a hiatus when Turner was incarcerated again for a violent assault on a woman, although he was released late in 2016. In December 2016 Turner collaborated with members of the nazi group National Action at an anti-mosque protest in Bolton.

CU has renamed itself ‘Pie n’ Mash Squad’, and maintains an active blog and Twitter account under that name. The group has been largely inactive in recent months.

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Leader: Shane Calvert (AKA Diddyman)

Other key activists include: John English and Peter Hawley

This British-based protest group was founded on 2 April 2011 as a breakaway from the English Defence League (EDL). The Infidels are a non-party umbrella coalition of far-right nationalists, patriots and Loyalists from across the UK represented in the following four organisations: North East Infidels (NEI), North West Infidels (NWI), the Scottish Defence League (SDL) and the Infidels of Ulster (who affiliated to the coalition in January 2012).

The Infidels are a counter-jihad street movement and also opposed to multiculturalism. They are anti-immigration and advocate the repatriation of all immigrants to their countries of origin. The main Infidel strongholds are in the North East and the North West of England.

The Infidels developed as a splinter group from the EDL after a disagreement between John ‘Snowy’ Shaw and the EDL leadership over finances. Shaw was expelled from the EDL following the Bradford demonstration in August 2010 and the split deepened after a violent clash between the North East and Luton EDL at an EDL demonstration in Blackburn in April 2011.

While still very small, it remains active and as the EDL have gone into rapid decline the Infidels have filled some of the vacuum by forming alliances with numerous other far-right groups. Allied groups include the National Front and the openly nazi British People’s Party, as well as other EDL splinter groups like the South East Alliance.

The group has developed into a far more traditional far-right party than the EDL and Shaw has also pushed the Infidels down a pro-Ulster Loyalist and anti-Zionist route. As such it is worth noting that the Infidels was the first example of a group self-radicalizing from counter-jihad to nazi. It is no longer a traditional counter-jihad group, as it rejects Zionism and is now also fiercely antisemitic.

The group continues to engage in anti-Muslim activities, including a protest against a new mosque in Bolton in November 2016 and a “Rally Against Grooming” by the Stoke-on-Trent Infidels in October 2017.

The group was dealt a blow due to the incarceration of Calvert in September 2016 following his role in the January 2016 Dover riots. After a short period out on leave Calvert was incarcerated again in November 2017 for violence at a far-right march in Liverpool in February.

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March for England

Leader: Dave Smeeton

This group was founded 18 February 2007 originally as March for the Flag by two fans of Tottenham Hotspur FC. It was renamed March for England (MFE) in November 2007, and is run by a 12-strong committee and claims 50-100 activists.

The Portsmouth-based MFE is a non-party, English nationalist grassroots campaigning organisation. It is anti-immigration and anti-Muslim, and has organised several St. George’s Day marches in Brighton since April 2008. MFE activists attended a Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) ‘No Sharia Here!’ demonstration outside Lambeth Palace, London on 11 September 2008.

MFE has close links with the English Defence League (EDL) and its activists regularly attend southern-based EDL demonstrations. It has advertised EDL events on its website, though this appears inactive as of January 2018.

It moved its yearly demonstration from Brighton to Blackpool in 2015, which was tiny as well as dominated by the North West Infidels. Members appeared at the Football Lads Alliance march in October 2017 and the group retains an active Facebook page. MFE announced on their Facebook page on 20 December 2017 that they are building links with two “very active” groups with shared interests, one of which appears to be Veterans Against Terrorism.

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South East Alliance

Leader: Paul Prodromou (Paul Pitt)

The South East Alliance is a small counter-jihadist street protest group led by Paul Prodromou (AKA Paul Pitt). The group has links with the BNP (British Voice) in Essex, the National Front and sections of the Loyalist scene.

As a small splinter group from the English Defence League, SEA now presents itself as a non-sectarian counter-jihad group that works with several other small street protest groups. It holds occasional demonstrations in Essex and London, although its supporters do sometimes travel to larger national events with similar groups such as the English Volunteer Force and the Infidels.

The group has taken on an increasingly traditional far-right position, having expanded its target from just Muslims to include the left wing and anti-racism organisations.

The group held small demonstrations in Trafalgar Square in April 2017 and in Croydon, London in May 2017.

Paul Prodromou (AKA Paul Pitt)

Paul Prodromou is the leader of the South East Alliance. Formerly he was the leader of the Essex, Kent and Sussex divisions of the English Defence League but was sacked in 2012.

He is known to have links with active British nazis.

In July 2017 Prodromou was found guilty at Liverpool Magistrates court of using threatening, abusive and insulting words during a demonstration in Liverpool in February 2016.

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United British Patriots

United British Patriots is a small counter-jihad street movement that claims to be non-partisan. It moves within the orbit of the Infidel groups and the South East Alliance. The group has an active Facebook page, which as of January 2018 has over 4,600 Likes. The page manager, Amanda Smith, was jailed for three weeks in September 2016 after attempting to photograph an accused rioter when he appeared at Canterbury Crown Court accused of violent disorder at the Dover riot that took place in January of the same year.

As of January 2018, the page continues to share “news from ALL patriotic groups to promote demonstrations” in the UK, including a rally to coincide with Donald Trump’s planned (though now cancelled) visit to the UK on 26 February 2018, organised by various groups including ‘No Surrender to Islamic Terror’ and Britain First .

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Gays Against Sharia

Leader: Tommy Cook (AKA Tommy English)

This is a small street protest group created by Tommy Cook (AKA Tommy English) formerly of the English Defence League and Pegida UK.

In June 2017 Tommy Cook announced a Manchester demonstration rebranded as ‘UK Against Hate’ once former EDL leader Stephen Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) took control of the event. The demonstration attracted as many as 2,000 people.

In September 2017, they held their second demonstration in Bristol but it attracted a paltry 65 people. The event was addressed by Anne Marie Waters of For Britain and Paul Weston, formerly of Liberty GB.

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Reclaim Australia rally in Sydney, April 2015


Patriots Defence League of Australia

Australian Infidels

Australians Against Islam (AAI)

Fortitude/United Patriots Front

Reclaim Australia

Patriots Defence League of Australia (PDLA)

The PDLA formed in 2014 as a splinter group of the Australian Defence League.

The PDLA is a controversial anti-Muslim group that was deregistered in 2015 after it emerged that it had pretended to be a domestic violence support group, with the Office of Fair Trading reportedly removing the organisation’s incorporated status.

The group has been involved in Reclaim Australia demonstrations and called a demonstration in conjunction with Australians Against Islam in November 2015.

Aaron Raymond Dudeck, believed to be the president of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) branch of the PDLA, was accused in the ACT court December 2014 of monitoring the Canberra Islamic Centre, deliberately causing a car crash with a man leaving the Centre, spitting on his cheek and calling him a “Muslim c—” on the night of the Sydney Lindt cafe hostage crisis.

Philip Galea, who was reported to have aligned himself with the PDLA as well as numerous other Australian far-right groups, was arrested in August 2016 and accused of preparing for terrorist acts against properties occupied by Melbourne anarchist groups. Galea, from Braybrook, Victoria, is awaiting trial for these charges in November 2017.

The group has an active Facebook group, which has over 21,200 Likes as of January 2018. On the page, they regularly post articles by key counter-jihad activists such as Pamela Geller.

The PDLA largely held private meetings in 2016 though announced a rally in Logan City on 13 March 2016 which did not go ahead.

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Australian Infidels

Numerous Australian ‘Infidel’ Facebook pages and groups exist, featuring anti-Muslim news articles and memes.

The largest active page is the ‘Infidel Brotherhood of Australia Resistance 2’, which as of January 2018 has over 6,000 Likes. In September 2017 the group encouraged followers to wear a burka in support of the One Nation Party leader Pauline Harrison’s call for a burka ban.

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Australians Against Islam (AAI)

This is an organisation that formed when the Queensland branch of Reclaim Australia split away with the aim to “dispel any public myths that Islam may be a peaceful religion”.

The group appears dormant though a Facebook group, which as of January 2018 has over 650 members, under the same name remains active. The group advertises events held by related anti-Muslim groups including Reclaim Australia, the Patriotic Australians Defence League and the True Blue Crew.

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Fortitude/United Patriots Front

Leader: Blair Cottrell

Fortitude is an Australian political party born out of the anti-Muslim street protest group, United Patriots Front (UPF). The UPF was itself a splinter group from Reclaim Australia and was founded in May 2015. Originally run by Shermon Burgess, in October 2015 he stood down and handed control of the organization over to Blair Cottrell.

Cottrell is chairman of both the UFP and Fortitude. In October 2015 the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Cottrell had expressed extreme antisemitic and misogynist views online. His nazi sympathies were evidenced too by claims such as that “There should be a picture of [Adolf Hitler] in every classroom and every school, and [Mein Kampf] should be issued to every student annually”.

The UPF is a street protest group whose primary focus is Islam, although they are also anti-left-wing having held demonstrations against the Socialist Party. The group regularly hold anti-Muslim demonstrations, including anti-mosque events. They also participated in a ‘Shut down Parramatta Mosque’ event in western Sydney and called on activists to attend world demo day events which was an international counter-jihad event in October 2015.

Following the launch of Fortitude the UPF leadership held rallies in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and announced their intentions of focusing on federal offices by having Thomas Sewell (Fortitude secretary) and Christopher Shortis (their Melbourne “lieutenant”) run as senators. The party failed to register in time for the July 2016 elections, however, and remains unregistered.

Fortitude’s policies include an immediate stop on all further Muslim immigration and the immediate cessation of any Mosque construction.

In September 2017 Cottrell was found guilty, alongside UPF members Neil Erikson and Christopher Shortis, of inciting contempt and ridicule of Muslims after they released a video in which they beheaded a dummy in front of a government building in Bendigo, Australia in protest at the building of mosque. In the video Cottrell tells the camera that “we just going give you a bit of a taste of [Islamic] culture” before the men behead the dummy and shout “Allahu Akbar!”.

The UPF Facebook page, now taken down, previously had more than 119,000 Likes. The Fortitude website has not been updated since June 2016.

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Reclaim Australia

Founders: Wanda Marsh, John Oliver and Catherine Brennan

Reclaim Australia is an Australian political movement that argues that “patriotic Australians need to stand together to stop halal tax, Sharia law and Islamisation”.

The first Reclaim Australia rallies were held across Australia in April 2015. A second round of rallies were held in July 2015, along with its child and later successor organisation, the United Patriots Front.

The movement has backed up minor hard-right Christian party Rise Up Australia and has been supported by One Nation, the Australian defence League, The Party for Freedom, the Nationalist Republican Guard and the National Democratic Party.

The group organised a rally in January 2017 in Sydney, but only dozens arrived, carrying Australian flags and signs saying “ISIS refugees not welcome” and “Stop the Invasion”

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