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SIX people were arrested today on suspicion of being members of the banned neonazi group National Action (NA).
West Midlands Police said the arrests were part of a planned operation which included other English counterterrorism units.
The suspects, aged 21 to 37, comprise five men from Cambridge, Banbury, Wolverhampton, Leicester and Stockport, and a woman from Banbury.
They were detained under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act, on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism.
“There was no threat to public safety,” a police spokesperson said.
The far-right group was banned in 2016, when Home Secretary Amber Rudd said it was promoting violence and acts of terrorism.
The group has been described by the Home Office as “virulently racist, anti-semitic and homophobic” and became the first far-right group to be outlawed in Britain.
The group had posted statements on social media celebrating the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by fascist Thomas Mair.
Several groups, such as Scottish Dawn, have sprung up since the NA ban and are thought to be the same people under a different banner.
Campaign group Unite Against Fascism (UAF) called for politicians and the media to take the growing threat of far-right violence and terrorism as seriously as it does Islamist terrorism, pointing out that around a third of all suspected terrorist activity is perpetrated by the far right.
UAF joint secretary Weyman Bennett said: “After being defeated at the ballot box and on the streets, the far right is increasingly turning to violence and terrorism.
“Outrages such as the killing of Jo Cox, the murder of Mohammed Saleem and attacks on mosques and Muslims show that the threat is real and must be taken seriously.
“National Action are despicable nazis who use Islamophobia, anti-semitism, homophobia and threats of violence to intimidate all who oppose their sick ideology. They are a tiny part of the growing threat of far-right terrorism which must be prioritised and defeated.”
Three men were charged last year with terror offences as a result of their alleged membership of NA.
Westminster magistrates’ court was told that the three were part of a mobile phone chat group where members exchanged racist messages.
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