The Bolton News, the Lancashire Evening Post and the Daily Mail have all reported on the sentencing of a group of English Defence League supporters charged with racially aggravated public disorder offences. The offences were carried out at a string of anti-Islam ‘flash demonstrations’ last July, during which they gathered outside a Muslim MEP’s home, acting in an anti-social manner. The protests culminated in an attack on an Asian teenager and the running over of another teenager.
From The Bolton News:
“An English Defence League mob which descended on an East Lancashire town for a flash mob protest have been branded 'a pack of wild animals'.
“Five of the gang have today been jailed for their parts in the brawl.
“One Asian teenager was punched and kicked during the disturbance last July and another Asian man was run over as around 25 EDL supporters rolled into Brierfield last July.
“Ringleader Bernard Holmes has been jailed for 18 months for his role in co-ordinating the protest, which ended when a rival gang of Asian youths confronted the mob in the Castle Street area of the town."
Holmes, who admitted a racially aggravated public disorder charge has been given a five-year anti-social behaviour order. Three of his ‘lieutenants’ who admitted the same offence were each given 37-week jail sentences. One other man, who confessed to possession of an offensive weapon, was given a 47 week jail term and six others who admitted using threatening behaviour in the same incident were given suspended prison sentences.
The article continues, “the judge, sitting at Preston Crown Court, said the events of that day saw 'middle-aged men running around like a pack of animals'.
“Earlier that day protests had taken place in Accrington and Clitheroe, and outside the home of MEP Sajjad Karim at Simonstone, who said his wife and daughter were left 'terrified' by the ordeal."
The Daily Mail adds that “This is not the first time Mr Karim has experienced harassment from far-right groups like the EDL: In 2010, Mr Karim said he was forced to hire a private security firm for round the clock protection due to threats”, and that “he believed he was targeted for religious reasons because the EDL have an ‘anti-Islamic agenda’.”
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