An elderly Britain First protester was booted to the ground with a well-aimed flying kick during a clash with East London Muslims this past weekend. The incident happened outside the East London Mosque following a “provocative” demonstration by the nationalist group.
Video footage shot by Britian First activists show a heated exchange between the nationalist activists and Muslim worshippers, as the protesters blocked the entrance to the mosque. As the two groups hurled insults, one Muslim pinned a female police officer up against the doorway and had to be dragged off by fellow officers.
The Britain First protesters, waving British flags, banners and large Christian crosses were then asked to leave by the police. As they were escorted away from the building and across the road, some of the Muslims launched physical attacks, including the flying kick that sent an older activist sprawling to the ground.
Two men were arrested at the scene, but they were both Britain First members; one suspected of attending the protest equipped to cause criminal damage, and the other of assault. Both were later released without charge.
Commenting on the arrests on Facebook, Britain First said: “Both released without charge. No Muslims arrested yet!
“London police officers were assaulted by Muslims too, no arrests. East London is sharia state!”
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Police were called following reports of a protest outside the East London Mosque on Whitechapel Road.
“Officers attended and spoke with the group. A short time later, a counter-protest commenced. Two men were subsequently arrested.”
Video footage of the clash, posted to the Britain First Facebook page, has provoked fierce debate with many people questioning the provocative tactic of campaigning outside mosques.
One Facebook called the group “bullies”, asking: “Why would u protest outside a mosque?”
She added: “There would be more than flying kicks if muslims protested outside church while people are worshipping us british would go into meltdown. Ur bullys!”
Another commented: “If you’re going to stand outside a different religious church and wave your own religion in their face, really you deserve it. Those people aren’t extremists. You’re provoking individual people with other beliefs. Everything about Britain First is disgusting.”
However, others have said that a peaceful protest can never be an excuse for violence, and have asked why no arrests were made for the violent assaults.
One Facebook user named James commented: “While Britain First was being escorted away by the police, one of their members was assaulted in a cowardly manner ie flying kick in the back. The assault was witnessed by members of the public, members of the police, and was recorded, yet the assailant was not arrested. Why? No amount of provocation can excuse an attack like this.”
Another noted: “how dare British people have a peaceful demonstration in our own country?”
And a number of people expressed shock that it could be controversial to fly the British flag anywhere in Britain, saying they should be flying atop mosques anyway.
Britain First, which has been described as “Britain’s most vile right-wing group,” according to the Daily Mail, has a history of holding protests in Muslim areas and has held similar demonstrations outside the East London Mosque a number of times.
However it has denied reports in the Mail and the Sun that its members have “swigged lager outside” the mosque as a ‘two fingers up’ at local Muslims, whose religion bans the consumption of alcohol.