It is June 9, 2018, and countless people from many far-flung regions of the world are gathering to protest the imprisonment of Tommy Robinson. Here at Liberty Nation, we are bringing you live coverage of the protest at the center of it all outside British government headquarters in London.
The figure of Tommy Robinson has become somewhat of a martyr for free speech across the world. The man who started out as an anti-Islamification activist of questionable political allegiances has come to symbolize something larger than himself. Now people across the world have come together in outrage over the state-controlled suppression of not only his freedom of speech but the silence of the media about his case. While an exact number is all but impossible to count, the event’s Facebook page has received over five thousand pledges to attend and 22 thousand expressions of interest.
Activist organizations Unite Against Fascism and Stand Up to Racism have organized counter-demonstrations, asking people to bring trade union and “community” banners. While indeed many reasonable people may disagree with Robinson’s politics and his methods, these organizations view Robinson’s case as nothing more than that of an Islamophobe and racist, refusing to look beyond the man to the wider implications of Robinson, or anyone else, being arrested essentially for attempting to tell a story that the mainstream media has evaded. According to Stand Up to Racism’s website:
Robinson and his supporters have a long history of racism and Islamophobia, and have links to fascist, racist and far right organisations internationally… It’s clear that the racist right want to use the fact that Robinson has been jailed as an excuse to spread their ideas and build their movement.
Protestors and counter-protesters are congregating at London’s landmark Trafalgar Square for a half past two start in the afternoon, local time (9:30 a.m. EST) before marching down Whitehall — the center of the British government — to a stage opposite the Cenotaph war memorial, where speeches are expected to commence at three o’clock.
The top billing for speakers is Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Perhaps not a name that would be recognized in the U.S. by any but the most avid Europhiles, Wilders is a Dutch Member of Parliament infamous for his “in-your-face” disdain for Islam as well as the European Union. In 2009, he was banned from entering the U.K. as the government claimed his presence could lead to inter-faith violence; the ban was overturned and he is now on British shores again to speak to the crowds. Other confirmed speakers include:
- Gerard Batten: Leader of the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP), previously run by Nigel Farage.
- Anne Marie Waters: Founder of the anti-Islamification political party For Britain.
- Liam Tuffs: Comedian.
- Raheem Kassam: Author and former editor-in-chief of Breitbart London.
- Janice Atkinson MEP: Member of European Parliament for UKIP.
- Shazia Hobbs: Author and ex-Muslim.
- Tracey, a speaker from Mothers for Justice.