Relief as far-right march is called off

A march, due to be staged in the town by a far-right group, has been cancelled.

Monday, 23rd May 2016, 9:41 am
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2016, 10:46 am
Scenes from a previous rally

The North West division of the National Front, which describes itself as a “radical racial nationalist movement”, was set to hold what it calls a “White Rights Day” on Saturday, May 28.

The rally was announced on the group’s Facebook page in March but in April, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said they thought it was unlikely it would go ahead.

And now Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has confirmed that the demonstration has been cancelled.

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Last September, the group did hold a march in the town centre where they were joined by members fo the the North West Infidels, another far-right group, to campaign against Britain accepting more refugees into the country.

30 or so protestors were met by a number of anti-fascist campaigners resulting in scuffle breaking out between the two.

Ms Nandy has welcomed the news that the planned march has been cancelled.

She had been contacted by a number of local traders who had expressed their concerns about the demonstration putting people off coming into the town centre on the busiest day of the week and the potential for alcohol fuelled violence resulting in damage to property.

Her office said it feared there would be a repeat of the violent scenes during the previous demonstration and that the group had been implicated in many incidents of race-related violence and hate crimes with several of its members imprisoned for their criminal behaviour.

Ms Nandy had been in dialogue with council officials about preventing the demonstration when the cancellation was announced.

She said: “It’s a real relief, we don’t want Nazi sympathisers coming in to Wigan to try and whip up hatred and cause trouble.

“Local businesses would have been impacted by losing their best trading day and the police operation would have cost a small fortune. Let’s hope that they get the message that Wigan does not share their hate fuelled fascist ideology.”

Ms Nandy has previouslty spoken out against such groups and recently criticised a protest that was held outside the Britannia Hotel in Standish, where a number of asylum seekers are currently being housed.

In September, outside the Last Orders pub on Wallgate and a number of missiles were thrown between the two groups, resulting in two shop windows being broken.

Totally Wicked, along with a number of other shops, was forced to close for several hours on the Saturday afternoon while the march took place.

Despite the best efforts of the anti-fascists, the protestors were able to complete their march, although a detour was required to avoid an impromptu blockade that had been created.

The police were praised by town hall bosses for the way the event was handled and only person was arrested.