Right-wing group denies plans for anti-Islam demo in Wrexham

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

AN EXTREME right-wing group has denied it is planning to stage an anti-Islam demonstration in Wrexham later this month.

Speculation is rife – both on internet social networking sites and in newspaper reports – that the Welsh Defence League (WDL) is to hold a protest march on Saturday, February 20, against plans to open a mosque in the town.

But one of the WDL’s leaders, Mike Smith, said: “We have no plans to stage anything in Wrexham or Wales on February 20.

“I know this is the case because on that day our members will be attending a demonstration in Edinburgh.

“I know there has been a lot of speculation about us coming to Wrexham but these are just rumours and there is no truth in them.” Mr Smith said any future demonstration in Wrexham would be to protest against the opening of a “super-mosque” in the area.

He added: “These mosques have been opened in other parts of the country and have seen the moderates driven out by extremists.”

A spokesman for Wrexham Council said: “At the moment we have not got any planning applications in for a mosque in any part of Wrexham.”

Earlier this week, after it was revealed that WDL’s demonstration is Wrexham last November left a £217,000 bill for extra policing, Plaid Cymru county councillor Marc Jones called for any future activities by the group in the area to be banned.

He said: “My instinct is to say that the political process should be allowed to take place, no matter how unsavoury the views held by some groups are.

“But the EDF is known to target areas purely to create tension and cause trouble.

“They are simply a bunch of thugs who come into a town and get drunk.

“I don’t know if we can afford to be spending £217,000 on policing 30 or 40 football hooligans.”

Nearly 400 officers from six different police forces were on duty for the November demonstration.

About 80 protesters, from other parts of Wales and England, congregated outside the Wetherspoon’s pub in Regent Street before marching through the town.

Two people arrested for breaches of the peace were released without charge and another two arrested for public order offences were given fixed penalty fines.

See full story in the Leader

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