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Far-right supporters heckle London Mayor with vile abuse

27th Jul 2018

Elham Asaad Buaras

Supporters of the founder of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) interrupted and heckled Mayor of London Sadiq Khan with shouts of “jihadist” during the annual State of London Debate on June 28.

The event was temporarily suspended as the demonstrators were escorted from the Indigo O2 in North Greenwich. Khan was paying tribute to the recent victims of London’s terror attacks when the hecklers began chanting the name of former EDL leader Tommy Robinson.

During a debate, supporters of Robinson caused chaos, shouting “Free Tommy!” at the Mayor and telling him he wasn’t welcome in London. One man shouted: “Trump is welcome here, you’re not. Terrorism is not part and parcel of living in a big city! You’re a disgrace, Khan!” He then started a chant, which several people joined in with, singing Robinson’s name.

Other members of the audience shouted “sit down” as the protesters shouted, “you should be sacked”. LBC talk radio station presenter James O’Brien, who was hosting the event, told the group “we would have been happy to hear from you had you waited your turn”. But just as the disruption finished another man at the back of the room started shouting about surveillance. “You are a jihadist!” he screamed as shocked onlookers turned around to watch. He added: “MI5! Jack Straw signed it off. Jack Straw signed off your surveillance!”

There was a raucous applause as security guards escorted them from the event hall, which took around five minutes to resolve.

As proceedings resumed Londoners quizzed Khan over the expansion of Heathrow, knife crime and air pollution. Robinson was jailed after admitting committing contempt of court by live-streaming details of a trial that was subject to blanket reporting restrictions at Leeds Crown Court in May.

The 35-year-old, who was jailed under his real name of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, had already been handed a suspended sentence for the same crime and was told he could have caused the trial to collapse.

Robinson previously raised fears the Finsbury Park attack trial would be stopped when he live-streamed interviews with journalists after the jury heard his posts had radicalised far-right terrorist Darren Osborne.

A spokesman for the anti-racism group ‘HOPE not hate’ told The Muslim News, “As a highly-successful British Muslim, and proud Londoner to boot, Sadiq Khan has long been something anti-Muslim extremists have loved to hate. He’s impossible for them to stereotype into the boxes they prefer Muslims to fall into, which seems to cause them huge vexation. ”

“Far-right agitators have previously tried and failed, to disrupt his speeches. In January a group which was part of a far-right organisation called the White Pendragons, with links to the English Defence League and some of its thuggy splinter groups, tried and failed to ‘citizens arrest’ him at an event.

“This time it’s those claiming to support serial far-right agitator and EDL founder Tommy Robinson, who is currently imprisoned for contempt of court. That they should be so vocal in supporting a man with multiple convictions for violence, fraud and other offences speaks volumes. And what did these idiots achieve in the end? Nothing. ”



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