Anti-fascist protesters take to Edinburgh streets against Scottish Defence League

Demonstrators are to take to the streets of Edinburgh on Saturday in a counter protest against the Scottish Defence League (SDL).

Police dealt with an SDL protest in Glasgow last summer. Picture: TSPL
Police dealt with an SDL protest in Glasgow last summer. Picture: TSPL

Organisers have responded to the SDL’s own protest - also to be held on Saturday - and said it will have the recent Islamaphobic attack in New Zealand at its heart.

The SDL insist its protest is a fight against sexual abuse, calling on the Scottish Government to issue “mandatory prison sentences to anyone found guilty of a sexual crime against a child”.

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But organisers behind the Unite Against Fascism counter protest said the SDL’s social media accounts were “covered with abusive comments based on people’s sexuality and gender”.

A spokesperson for the group said: “The Christchurch killer was active online amongst groups of far right Nazis. We cannot afford to allow his British counterparts to be demonstrating on our streets unopposed.

“The solidarity and respect to all faiths shown by so many in New Zealand will be at the heart of the Unite Against Fascism counter protest.”

Labour Councillor Gordon Munro, Leith Ward, added: “Once again we have people coming in to this city to foment hatred with their bile and a skewed set of beliefs. This is not the Edinburgh we live and work in.

“We stand in solidarity with Christchurch and say: ‘This is not our Edinburgh, we must defeat the bigotry which fuels such hatred and violence’ we are all one race – the human race’.

The Unite Against Fascism counter protest takes place on Saturday, March 23 at 12.30pm, outside Waverley Station on Market Street, and then at the Scottish Parliament from 2pm.

The SDL protest begins on Market Street at 1.30pm.

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