The day after anti-Trump protests, another far-right figure will be facing serious opposition

Far-right protestors marching against police
Glen Black

Tens of thousands of people are expected at anti-Trump protests in London on 13 July. The following day, the latest #FreeTommy march will be causing a scene around one of our own right-wing figures. And the march is being funded by an American right-wing thinktank.

The next #FreeTommy event is being held at Whitehall in London on 14 July. It’s protesting the jailing of former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. On 25 May, Yaxley-Lennon was given a 13-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to contempt of court.

Those attending include far-right group Generation Identity. Former Breitbart UK editor Raheem Kassam also says he is involved in it. A previous #FreeTommy event saw as many as 15,000 turn out in London to support Yaxley-Lennon.

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Bankrolled in the US

The 14 July event is being funded by a US group called the Middle East Forum (MEF). It says this is part of a legal project to defend:

activists, journalists, politicians, et al. who face harassment, fines, or imprisonment because of their views concerning Islamism and related topics.

As The Canary previously reported, Yaxley-Lennon’s jailing resulted from his conduct, and not his views. His actions on 26 May risked the collapse of a major trial.

MEF claims to be funding Yaxley-Lennon’s legal costs. It also says it paid for the 15,000-strong 9 June protest that ended in nine arrests.

Southern Poverty Law Center, a US-based civil rights organisation, says MEF takes an “academic approach to fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment”. Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders has previously received legal funds from MEF. Wilders was planning to attend the London protest on 14 July. He pulled out after the UK refused to provide security, or allow Dutch security weapons permits. Wilders says he’s recorded a video for broadcast at the event.

No safe space for the far right

Several anti-racist and anti-fascist groups will be joining counter demonstrations. These include the Anti-Fascist Network, Kurdish Solidarity Campaign, Haringey Anti-Raids, and Stand Up to Racism. The Anti-Fascist Network is asking people attending anti-Trump protests on Friday to stick around.

Opposing far-right and racist groups in the street is still essential. Writing just after the previous #FreeTommy demo, the Anti-Fascist Network explained that these events have become lightning rods for a growing movement:

These demos provide a ‘safe space’ for the even harder and more extreme elements of the far-right to normalise themselves and to recruit.

If you’re in London on Friday to protest Trump, please consider staying the night. The people supporting Yaxley-Lennon are the same as those supporting Trump. And it’s essential the far right doesn’t have room to breathe and grow. Not now, not ever.

Get Involved!

– Follow the Anti-Fascist Network on Twitter or Facebook for more information about the counter demonstration.

Read the analysis piece Know Your Enemy to learn more about the links between Yaxley-Lennon, other UK groups, and how they connect to an international far-right movement.

Check out other articles on the far-right by The Canary.

Featured image via AP/YouTube

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