Saturday 12 March 2011

EDL suspects in court after alleged attack at socialist meeting

Ten men, believed to be supporters of the racist English Defence League, will go to a crown court to face charges of violence after an alleged attack on door staff at a socialist meeting in Newcastle last September.

Nine of the men appeared before magistrates on Thursday 10 March, following an alleged attack on a Socialist Workers Party meeting in Newcastle city centre on September 22 last year, the Chronicle newspaper reported. A tenth man appeared in court last week.

The men are alleged to have attacked door staff at the Tyneside Irish Centre, where the SWP were holding a meeting on how to stop the racists.

The Chronicle reported:

Rebecca Gibson, prosecuting, told Newcastle Magistrates Court that the 10 men, all believed to be members of the far-right English Defence League, allegedly gathered in nearby Rosie’s Bar.

She claimed they then descended on the Irish Centre, hurling abuse and attacking the doormen.

[On Thursday 10 March] Anthony Burn, 47, of Lecondale Court, Leam Lane, Gateshead; Colin Burton, 27, of Wouldhave Court, South Shields; Peter Duffy, 43, of Elgin Avenue, Seaham, Durham; Michael Garriock, 22, of Gibson Street, Wallsend; Barry Keddy, 33, of Deneholm, Wallsend; Nicholas Mills, 24, of Drumaldrace, Washington; Alan Spence, 45, of Gerald Street, Benwell, Newcastle; Steven Spence, 26, of Whickham View, Benwell; and Paul Starr, 44, of Telford Street, East Howdon, all faced charges of affray and unlawful violence.

EDL tops

Dressed in EDL tops, sportswear and quilted jackets, with several sporting closely-shaven heads, the nine spoke only to confirm their names and addresses.

Duffy and Mills denied the offences, but the rest withheld their pleas.

The tenth accused, Colin Bell, 35, of St Oswald’s Road, Hebburn, had already denied the same charge when he appeared in court last week.

District Judge Stephen Earl said the case was too serious for the magistrates court and ordered it to be heard by judges at the crown court.

All 10 men will return to the magistrates court next month for committal.

The Chronicle had earlier reported how Tyneside racists had been arrested after burning a Qur’an in the backyard of a pub on 11 September last year.

Targets

The EDL are racists with fascists in their midst and primarily target Muslims. But there have been recent signs that fascists in the organisation have been trying to “harden up” its supporters and encourage them to turn on other traditional targets of fascism, including trade unionists and socialists as well as ethnic minorities.

There have been a series of attempts to disrupt antiracist and left-wing meetings, an attack on Swansea Trades Union Council’s May Day march and verbal abuse against striking workers at BA. In November, the EDL’s leader “Tommy Robinson” turned his fire on students protesting against the rise in tuition fees, lashing out at students, Unite Against Fascism and “communist scum”.

Pic by Kelvin Williams shows antifascists marching against the EDL in Newcastle in June last year.


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