PressTV / February 7, 2016
Members of the anti-Islam group, PEGIDA, have staged a protest rally in Birmingham.
About 200 demonstrators gathered on Saturday for the inaugural PEGIDA rally in the UK – half as many as expected by police – which took place on an industrial estate miles from the city center, according to the Guardian.
The rally appeared to pass without incident as dozens of riot police kept PEGIDA supporters away from about 60 anti-fascism activists at Birmingham International rail station.
Many demonstrators held placards featuring US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, saying, “Trump is right” – a possible reference to his controversial call for a ban on Muslims from entering the United States.
The demonstration comes in the wake of a new study revealing that far-right groups are seeking to organize attacks against Muslims in the UK.
According to the report by the anti-racist group Hope Not Hate, the movement has already been emboldened by foreign-born fascists.
The anti-racist group has also warned that “the increasingly radicalized ideology adopted by the UK’s far-right movement will lead to greater confrontation.”
The normalization of Islamophobic rhetoric by the mainstream media is also believed to have fueled the escalating tension.
The report also suggests that “the numbers of those involved in more militant and violent groups are growing.”
61 far-right demos were staged in the UK last year, compared with 41 in 2014, although just eight attracted more than 150 people.