The monthly Activism Bulletin provides a concise overview of forthcoming activism and protest events, brief analysis of significant developments and a preview of planned protests, which could disrupt business.
UK Activist Summary
On 06 February, some 200 Pegida-UK supporters held its first major rally in
Birmingham to oppose the alleged Islamisation of the UK. The rally, which was
a silent action, took place some 13km from Birmingham city centre at an industrial
site. The move was to ensure the rally passed without incident. A counterdemonstration
by some 65 anti-fascist protesters was held in central Birmingham,
near the city’s New Street train station. While only one arrest was made,
the Pegida-UK rally involved former members of the English Defence League
(EDL), suggesting that the movement is linked to other, more extremist far-right
groups. Indeed, the 28 February clashes between far-right, anti-Islam group
“North West Infidels” and counter-demonstrators in Liverpool highlight the potential
for disruption during such events, especially as they become more frequent.
Pegida-UK is a spin-off of the Pegida movement founded in Dresden,
Germany, in 2014. Originally founded on an anti-immigration platform, Pegida
has morphed into an anti-Islamic movement, attracting far-right elements from
organisations slowly losing support. There is the potential for further Pegida-UK
movements in Birmingham and other UK cities in the coming weeks and
Related to the rise of the far-right, on 19 March, a number of human rights
groups are expected to hold a mass action in London to support refugees from
Africa and the Middle East coming to the UK. Labelled “Refugees Welcome”,
the action is aimed at opposing perceived racism, fascism and criticism in the
media and elsewhere of those fleeing conflict and coming to the UK. Campaigners
are particularly defensive of Muslim refugees, suggesting an escalation
in Islamophobia in the UK is being promoted by certain nationalist elements.
Attendance for the rally, which begins at the BBC offices at Portland
Place at 1200hrs, is expected to be high. The main organiser Stand Up To
Racism has attracted major support at previous events, with thousands backing
the group’s actions. It is anticipated that the action on 19 March will attract significant
attention and support, likely causing major disruption in central London
around Hyde Park and latterly at Trafalgar Square. There is also the risk of
counter-protests by far-right groups such as Pegida, Britain First and the EDL.
For the full events diary, click here