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Anti-fascists rally in Manchester against EDL chief's bid to exploit city's grief

HUNDREDS of anti-fascists including victims of the Manchester bombing gathered in the city yesterday to oppose a book launch by far-right activist Tommy Robinson.

English Defence League (EDL) founder Mr Robinson launched his Islamaphobic tome at the open-air venue Castlefield Bowl.

He has tried to exploit the horrific attack at the Arena stadium in May that left 22 people dead before, last time by staging an anti-Islam demonstration in the city in July.

Angry protesters gathered in the city’s St Peter’s Square and marched to the launch.

Among its opponents was Dan Hett, brother of Martyn Hett who died in the Arena attack.

He said: “I am wholly in support of standing up against Tommy Robinson’s book launch in my home city.

“There is only one reason he chose this city and that is the attack we suffered so recently.

"As this city is still healing, he has cynically booked his event right at the epicentre, in order to maximise press and commentary around launching his book of anti-Islam propaganda — using the extremist attack to further his own fascist agenda and line his own pockets.

“Manchester is a vibrant, creative, multicultural city that is still reeling from the attack on its people, and we stand together to tell him and his followers that they are not welcome here.”

The protest, organised by Unite Against Fascism (UAF), saw support from trade unions and Labour MPs Dan Carden, Andrew Gwynne, Afzal Khan, Kate Green and Derek Twigg.

Ms Green said: “Mr Robinson’s political opinions are vicious, divisive and dangerous, and he is not welcome in our diverse, multicultural and friendly communities here in Greater Manchester.

“I abhor all forms of discrimination, including anti-semitism, Islamophobia, and all forms of racism, and I warmly support Unite Against Fascism in their campaign against this event.”

UAF North West's Paul Jenkins called Robinson "the enemy of freedom of speech" and the Manchester community the "defenders" of free speech.

He said: “Tommy Robinson — a man with a record of organising violent EDL demonstrations — is seeking to bring division to the united, multicultural city of Manchester.

“The majority of people in Greater Manchester oppose racism, and stand united against the racism and violence that Tommy Robinson seeks to whip up."

Maz Saleem, whose father Mohammed was murdered by a neo-Nazi terrorist in Birmingham, told the Star: “Tommy Robinson over the last 10 years has encouraged violence and Islamophobia. His book is complete lies and propaganda.

“Attacks on Muslim women are at an unprecedented level.

“Attacks on Muslims in Manchester have increased by 500 per cent, and Tommy Robinson is actively encouraging violence and extremism.”

Ms Saleem launched the popular petition to ban his book from Amazon, which has over 3,000 signatures.

To add your voice to the petition visit:


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