Posts Tagged ‘West Midlands Police’

Salma Yaqoob: Why the EDL march must be banned from Birmingham

“The English Defence League claimed they only came to protest against Islamic extremism but they actually came to spread hatred and division.

One of their ringleaders, Paul Ray, made his intentions very clear when he stated, on TalkSport Radio, ‘his opposition to all Muslims practising their faith in Britain’.

Everyone has a right to their opinions but no one has the right to incite hatred on the basis of faith or race.

I am concerned there is an equivalence being made between these people, who came to provoke trouble, and people who stand against fasicsm and racism. There is no equivalence and it is wrong that people have been allowed to come into the city centre with this intent for trouble.

The fascists wants to see social disorder, especially scenes of violence between Muslim youth and white people, because then they can hold it up as ‘evidence’ of the ‘failure’ of multiculturalism.

Of course, our message is ‘do not be provoked’. We don’t want to see any scenes of violence in our Birmingham city centre; but the reality is they know some of these tactics have worked as in the past in Burnley, Oldham and Stoke where they instigated race riots and since that polarisation, they have benefited in their votes.

I believe the English Defence League’s so-called ‘protests’ are simply a repeat of this formula which they want to bring to Birmingham and other cities across the country.

I call on politicians from all parties, civic leaders and faith representatives to condemn the racist intent behind these so-called demonstrations and also call for the banning of any future such protests in our city.

Luton has also seen protests by the EDL and Casuals United, which have resulted in violence, and the police there have actually responded to a public outcry about this by calling for a ban.

Chief Superintendent Andy Frost, Divisional Commander for Luton police, said:
“The risk the proposed marches pose to public safety has left us with no alternative but to apply for a banning order.”

Alan Johnson, the Home Office Minister, granted this banning order in Luton, because he received over 14,000 letters directly to himself and the Chief Constable there, saying that they wanted a ban.

I urge people in Birmingham to write to Alan Johnson, as well as to the Chief Constable here to urge for a similar ban.

I love being a Brummie, I’m proud that Birmingham is a multicultural and diverse city. Let’s not be divided by the racists.”

To request a ban, please write to:

Alan Johnson MP (Home Secretary): public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Chief Constable Chris Simms (West Midlands Police): contactus@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk

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VIDEO: Salma Yaqoob | Public Meeting: Birmingham united against fascism



Birmingham city councillor Salma Yaqoob, joined by Adrian Goldberg, Khalid Mahmood MP, John Hemming MP, Cllr Judy Foster, Chief Insp Adrian Atherley and Apache Indian, calls on the West Midlands Police to ban a march by far-right groups planned for September; following the violence erupted amidst an EDL – Casuals United demonstration on 8th August in the city.

Date: Sunday 23rd August 2009
Venue: Birmingham Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1.

Gallery: Birmingham United against Racism meeting – 23.08.09

Images from the cross-party meeting in the Birmingham Council House calling for a ban on EDL and far-right marches in the city; attended by Adrian Goldberg, John Hemming MP, Khalid Mahmood MP, councillor Judy Foster, councillor Salma Yaqoob, Apache Indian and Chief Insp Adrian Atherley. Chaired by Waseem Zaffar.

More to come…

Police urged to ban far right rally in Birmingham

An English Defence League (EDL) supporter taunts police. Image: Birmingham Mail

An English Defence League (EDL) supporter taunts police. Pic:Birmingham Mail

West Midlands Police have been urged to step in and ban a far right group from holding a march in Birmingham next month to avoid a repeat of the shocking scenes of violence witnessed earlier this month.

White nationalist organisation The English Defence League (EDL) and an associated group, Casuals United, are due to hold a rally against Islamic extremism in the city on September 5.

Their first demonstration on August 8 ended with violence and bloodshed as supporters clashed with anti-racism campaigners.

One of those calling for a ban was Respect councillor Salma Yaqoob, who expected more street violence if EDL returned.

“When it comes to public safety we have every right to intervene,” she said.

“But the ‘just stay away’ message we are hearing won’t wash with today’s Muslim youngsters who won’t put their heads down and carry on walking when they are subjected to racist taunts – they will react and fight back.”

Adrian Goldberg, Khalid Mahmood MP and John Hemming MP also attended the public meeting calling for an EDL ban.

Adrian Goldberg, Khalid Mahmood MP and John Hemming MP also attended the public meeting calling for an EDL ban. Pic: John Tyrrell

Yesterday, those at a public meeting to discuss how the city should deal with the group’s next visit voted unanimously that the police should have the demonstration banned.

West Midlands Police were urged to join forces with Birmingham City Council to apply to the Home Secretary for a banning order under the Public Order Act.

Luton is one of the places which has banned the EDL and other right-wing groups from holding marches for three months to avoid violence.

But a senior police officer said there were no current plans to do so as the EDL had a legitimate right to hold its march.

The Birmingham rally saw 35 people arrested, and running battles between protesters and police in riot gear in Victoria Square and New Street.

Chief Insp Adrian Atherley, head of West Midlands Police’s diversity and community cohesion unit, told yesterday’s meeting how both groups involved, the EDL and the Anti Facist League, acted within the law and the problem lay with their supporters.

“The people fighting were Brummies fighting each other. Why? Because they had been wound up and provoked by the groups who had left by then,” he said.

He said to obtain a ban they would have to jump through numerous legal and bureaucratic hoops.

“We have considered it, but section 13 of the Public Order Act is very specific about marches,” he said.

“In Birmingham the situation is very different to Luton where the Chief Constable felt he could not police that event. We did not lose control on August 8 , there were no major injuries or damage, and in terms of disorder there was no loss of control.”

He added: “Obtaining a section 13 ban requires the Chief Constable to go to the local authority to say in the event of a march I cannot police the streets and the local authority has to apply to the Home Secretary.”

But he said their decision was constantly reviewed and he would feed back comments to the Chief Constable.

Also at the meeting was Birmingham councillor Judy Foster, vice-chairman of the West Midlands Police Authority, who said she would be raising the issue of a ban during a meeting with the Chief Constable Chris Sims today.

Source article:  Police urged to ban far right rally in Birmingham – Birmingham Post, 24.08.09

Link: Why the next Brum anti-Muslim march should be banned – John Tyrrell, The Stirrer, 25.08.09

Link: Police urged to ban far right rally in Birmingham – Birmingham Mail, 24.08.09

Link: Ban call for anti-Muslim march – The Stirrer, 24.08.09

Link: Birmingham United, anyone? – The Stirrer, 18.08.09

Birmingham city centre riots: Police and politicians meet to discuss events

Salma Yaqoob at the UAF protest in Birmingham

Salma Yaqoob with supporters at the UAF protest in Birmingham

THE scuffles and clashes which followed recent anti-extremism demonstrations are under the spotlight at a public meeting featuring city MPs and community leaders this weekend.

Rival protests – one by anti-Islamic extremism campaign group the English and Welsh Defence league and the other by the UAF or Unite Against Facism – brought scenes of chaos to Birmingham City Centre two weekends ago and resulted in 33 arrests.

Now a group of community activists have called a public meeting aimed at Birmingham’s young people tomorrow to respond to the problems before a second series of protests are held on September 5.

Among guest speakers are Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood, Yardley MP John Hemming, Sparkbrook Councillor Salma Yaqoob and a representative from West Midlands Police.

Co-organiser Wasim Zaffer, a Muslim and magistrate, said: “Following the disgraceful events in Birmingham City Centre, there has been immense discussion and debate in a number of forums. However, we feel that there has been a lack of engagement with young people from across the city.

“Scenes of young people, white and Asian, running through streets does nothing for Birmingham and reflects badly on our community relations. We need to discuss, debate and encourage a peaceful form of activity against any fascist elements, including encouraging young people to stay away from the City Centre.”

Source Article: Birmingham city centre riots: Police and politicians meet to discuss events – Birmingham Mail, 22.08.09

Kill threat to Birmingham councillor

The accused, Stuart Collins, made a threat to kill Cllr Salma Yaqoob (pictured)

The accused, Stuart Collins, made a threat to kill Cllr Salma Yaqoob (pictured)

A MAN appeared in court yesterday charged with threatening to kill a Birmingham councillor.

Stuart Collins, 48, of Birmingham, appeared before city magistrates over claims abusive threats were sent to Respect councillor Salma Yaqoob.

She is the councillor for Sparkbrook and her party’s national leader.

A West Midlands Police spokesman confirmed: “Following an investigation, a 48 year-old has been charged with racially aggravated harassment, religiously aggravated harassment and making threats to kill.

“He appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court and was bailed until August 31.”

Coun Yaqoob chairs the anti-war movement in Birmingham and is an active pro-Palestinian campaigner.

She is an outspoken commentator on Muslim issues, and regularly appears on TV and radio current affairs programmes.

After standing as a Respect candidate in the 2005 election, she was elected in the Sparkbrook ward in the 2006 local elections.

Source article: Kill threat to Birmingham councillor – Tony Larner, Sunday Mercury, 16.08.09

Link: Man appears in court over threats to kill Sparkbrook councillor – Birmingham Mail, 16.08.09

Link: UK: Racist threatens councillor with death – Sameh A. Habeeb, The Palestine Telegraph, 19.08.09

Man appears in court over threats to kill Sparkbrook councillor

NEWS: Birmingham EDL Protests – 08.08.09

Multicultural Birmingham comes out in full force against far-right troublemakers

Multicultural Birmingham comes out in full force against far-right threat

Below are a few useful links to news stories relating to last week’s English Defence League protest in Birmingham City Centre and Unite Against Fascism’s counter-protest, in which Respect party leader and Birmingham City Councillor Salma Yaqoob spoke against racism and fascism.

Councillor Salma Yaqoob commented:

“The instigators of this demonsrtration are fascist thugs. They are coming to our city with one intention only;  to sow racist division by stirring up anti-Muslim hatred.

“One of their ringleaders made their intentions very clear when he publicly stated his opposition to ‘all Muslims practising their faith in Britiain’, and admitted links with the BNP.

“The police have assured me that they will deal with any troublemakers. I am concerned, though, that the West Midlands Police are playing down the racist nature of this protest, and the links the protesters have with far-right organisation. Everyone has a right to voice their opinions, but no-one has the right to incite hatred against others on the grounds of race or religion. It is very important that the West Midlands Police act firmly to deal with any incitement to racist hatred.

“Birmingham is a multi-cultural city and proud of it. It is also important that people of all faiths and cultures stand together in the spirit of peace and unity. We must show these people that they are not wanted here, and that Birmingham will not be divided by race or faith”.

LATEST NEWS:

Right wing rioters threaten more protests in Birmingham city centre – Birmingham Mail, 17.08.09

Anti-Extremist protests in Birmingham: racism takes to the streets – Charlie Salmon, The Sikh Times, 11.08.09

Salma Yaqoob condemns racist protesters – Pakistan Daily, 10.08.09

Battle of Bimringham: 35 held after riots – Louisa Pilbeam, The Mirror

City of Birmingham in UK sees anti-fascist action – Pakistan Daily, 10.08.09

Birmingham sees anti-Fascist action – The Stirrer, 09.08.09

‘Patriot League’ plans more clashes with anti-fascist activists – The Guardian, 09.08.09

Police review anti-Islamic rally – BBC News, 09.08.09

35 arrests in Birmingham after rival protesters clash – The Telegraph, 09.08.09

Arrests at Anti-Islamic protests – BBC News, 09.08.09