A rally is being staged in Dumfries to protest at a planned anti-Muslim demonstration by a far right group. The Scottish Defence League’s visit on May 18 is set to be countered by a march through the town staged by Dumfries TUC.
Secretary John Dennis said: “The Scottish Defence League (SDL) have a Facebook page called ‘Casuals United’, which is monitored by Unite Against Fascism. They alerted us to the fact the SDL have got four different places where they’re having anti-Muslim demonstrations. One of them’s in Dumfries.”
Mr Dennis says that the SDL visit was prompted by a planning application made on behalf of Dumfries Islamic Society for a mosque on Annan Road to allow visiting imams to stay overnight. He believes that the SDL will assemble for a static protest.
Mr Dennis described how the Scottish Defence League were allied to the English Defence League and were based among football casuals. Angry at their plans to visit the town, he added: “We’re disgusted they think they can come and disrupt the good relations there are between communities in Dumfries.”
Inspector Ian Cowie of Police Scotland said: “We are aware of the intentions of both groups and have been in dialogue with representatives in relation to the policing requirements for these events. Police Scotland recognise the right to hold peaceful demonstrations and will ensure that these events are policed commensurate with the events.”
On May 8 at 7.30 pm a public meeting featuring speakers from Unite Against Facism and the STUC will be held at Minerva Hall in Dumfries.
And on May 18 at 10.30 am the Dumfries TUC march will assemble at Greensands, moving to Noblehill Park where a rally featuring speeches and music will take place from 12 noon.