Britain First leader stirs it up


The deputy leader of a far-right unionist group in Britain is to go on trial on charges of hate speech in Belfast, it was confirmed in court on Tuesday.

Jayda Fransen of ‘Britain First’ appeared at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday on two hate charges related to a speech she made at an extremist unionist rally last August.

Demonstrators had gathered on the same day as a republican march organised to mark the use of internment without trial by the British army in 1971.

Britain First leader Paul Golding is due to appear in court on similar charges arising from the event in August. The organisation was founded by Jim Dowson, who has links to loyalist groups.

The party has been linked to the murder of Jo Cox in June 2016 after her killer, Thomas Mair, repeatedly shouted “Britain First” as he stabbed and shot the Labour MP to death on the street.

Fransen is also accused of inciting racial hatred by urging people to “rise up and take action now” against the “Islamic ideology.” There has been a recent upsurge in attacks on Muslim families and businesses in loyalist areas.

After being released on bail, the Londoner used the Loyalist slogan “no surrender” before leaving in a waiting car.

Fransen is also known to carry a large white cross through Muslim neighbourhoods in Britain, in an apparent attempt to incide a backlash.

In a controversial incident this week, she was filmed discussing her case while posing in the Mayor’s chair at Belfast City Hall, and wearing official council robes. A hardline independent unionist councillor, Joelene Bunting, has admitted that she helped to facilitate the photo shoot.

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