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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

EDL march in Weymouth: Hundreds show their feelings against 'fascists' (UK)

At the opposite end of the seafront hundreds of people gathered to oppose the EDL’s presence.

Crowds assembled at Weymouth Pavilion to hear members of the public, community leaders and political figures speak against the group.

The organisers, Dan Brember, of Weymouth, and Richard Baker, of Dorchester, estimated that around 350 people were present.

Secretary of the Trades Union Council Tim Nicholls, who led the protest at the Pavilion, said the counter-group wanted to show that the EDL are ‘not welcome in Weymouth’.

He said: “They are a racist organisation and where they have marched before they have left a wreck of racist attacks behind them.”

Mayor of Weymouth Paul Kimber, who introduced the 10 speakers, said he was pleased to see that people turned up ‘to show hatred’ towards EDL.

One of the speakers, former South Dorset MP, Lord Knight, said: “We have a small Muslim community in the borough.

“These people are scared of fascism – they’re scared of what’s going on.”

Weymouth and Portland Labour councillor Simon Bowkett added that Weymouth has an Islamic population of just 0.3 per cent.

He said: “It’s absurd that the EDL is here. We barely have a Muslim population, let alone an issue with radicalism.”

Weyman Bennett, from Unite Against Fascism, said it concerned him that EDL members had previously burned the Koran.

He said: “When people start off burning books it’s not very far from when they start talking about burning people.”

Budmouth Technology Coll-ege student Lorenzo Pagano, 17, added: “I think there always needs to be a presence where such evils arise. All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men and women to do nothing.”

Jason Cridland, from Radipole, was one of the families to join in the march with his wife Debbie, brother Richard and three children including two-year-old Mollie.

He said: “EDL feed off misinformation – they’ve become very dogmatic about something they want to believe in that doesn’t reflect reality. That’s primarily why we’re here today.”

Sean Gray, 61, from Fordington, added: “I think that racism is a cancer that we can do without in this area.

“I don’t think there’s a basis for these sort of organisations in Weymouth or in Dorset.”

Unite Against Fascism group will be holding a meeting on Saturday at 1.30pm in the Colliton Club in Dorchester.

Dorset Echo