‘Dundee be ready, because we are coming’ — Scottish Defence League vows to ignore council’s demo decision
The Scottish Defence League has warned Dundee to ”be ready” for its arrival later this year despite the city council refusing the far-right group permission to hold a public demonstration.
A Scottish Defence League demonstration in Edinburgh last month.
- Published in the Courier : 08.06.12
- Published online : 08.06.12 @ 01.47pm
Cheers and applause broke out from the public gallery in the council chamber on Thursday as the licensing committee unanimously rejected the organisation’sapplication to stage a static demonstration in City Square on September 1.
The proposal was turned down on the grounds that it would be an inappropriate use of the square and could lead to public disorder.
But shortly after the committee reached its conclusion a defiant message was delivered by Graham Walker, regional organiser and spokesman for the Scottish Defence League (SDL).
He said around 150 supporters are determined to travel to the city irrespective of the decision.
”I believe Dundee City Council made its mind up before I even entered the building,” he said. ”But we don’t need the council’s say-so — we will be here on September 1.
“There is nothing stopping us to hold a static demonstration. So Dundee be ready, because we are coming.”
The SDL has approximately 15 supporters in Dundee but the fringe organisation, which claims to stand against ‘militant Islam’, plans to bring in others from elsewhere in the country.
Mr Walker, from Edinburgh, insists SDL representatives are entitled to gather in Dundee and said the local authority’s decision is in breach of the Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights.
He spoke further when given the opportunity to address and take questions from the committee. In a brief statement he said: ”We have had eight demonstrations around Scotland and had no arrests.
“We are not connected to the National Front or the BNP. We do our own thing and cooperate fully with the police. The SDL is not a racist group.”
There was a very different image of the group projected by a leading union figure who stood against the proposals.
Stuart Fairweather of the Dundee Trades Union Council told the committee that the SDL is rooted in fascism and racism.
”The Dundee TUC brings together trade unions from across the city and all have expressed concerns about this demonstration,” he said. ”Dundonians fought fascism in the Second World War, Dundonians fought fascism in the Spanish Civil War and Dundonians will resist the SDL.”
Summing up, Strathmartine councillor Stewart Hunter exercised his new powers as convener of the licensing committee and moved to reject the application.
”We declined permission for the demonstration because we thought it would be an inappropriate use of the City Square,” he said.
”I find it disappointing that they (the SDL) want to come to Dundee en masse. Dundee is an inclusive city and I think it was made quite clear by the deputations that the SDL are not welcome.”