Monday, 11 June 2018

Protests Seek Release of UK “Political Prisoner” Tommy Robinson

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Growing demonstrations in the United Kingdom and beyond are seeking the release of British activist and journalist Tommy Robinson, who gained international notoriety after being locked up in a secret proceeding for “disturbing the peace” by reporting on a legal case involving an Islamic pedophile gang. In London and other cities around the world as far away as Australia, tens of thousands of protesters, including prominent Dutch politician Geert Wilders of the Freedom Party, rallied to demand justice for a man many described as a “political prisoner.” Even across the Atlantic in the United States, free speech activists and others gathered outside the British embassy to protest the controversial jailing of the U.K. activist and the government's attitude toward child-grooming gangs.

On June 9, many thousands of activists — organizers said about 20,000 showed up — descended on London's historic Trafalgar Square to protest the ongoing incarceration of high-profile activist and journalist Robinson. The rally, which attracted support from diverse political leaders and lawmakers from across Europe, featured a seemingly endless sea of flags and hand-made signs. Many read #FreeTommy. Others focused on defending free speech, freedom of the press, and other liberties that have come to define Western civilization but which are increasingly under threat — especially in the increasingly Orwellian United Kingdom. Minor violence broke out at the march, with protesters blaming police while authorities blamed demonstrators.

The uproar began late last month when anti-immigration activist Robinson, without even having access to his lawyer, was ordered to spend more than a year in prison after being caught reporting on the trial of an Islamic child-rape gang. Officially, he was jailed for “contempt of court” stemming from a previous incident in which he reported on the Muslim grooming gangs. Then, making matters worse, the judge presiding over the secret proceeding ordered the media not to report on the scandal, even forcing newspapers to delete their published articles. Unfortunately for British authorities, though, the news got out anyway. Since then, the story has shocked the world, become an international sensation and uniting people from across the political spectrum in defense of fundamental human rights. While the gag order was lifted, concerns about Robinson's safety in prison remain high.

Despite efforts by the media to portray the latest rallies as “far-right” or “right-wing” — some especially dishonest voices tried to paint it as a “white nationalist” or “alt-right” event — photos across social media show that people of all races and colors were there in defense of free speech. The MC was a British-born child of Muslim immigrants from Tanzania. In Belfast, Protestants and Catholics reportedly joined forces to demand Robinson's release. There were one or two people at the rally who were observed giving a National Socialist (Nazi) salute, but organizers suggested they were likely agents provocateurs from the hard-left meant to help the media demonize protesters. Organizers and participants publicly and loudly condemned any violence or hate from any side.

But some minor violent incidents did occur. Critics of the police response suggested on social media that London's controversial Islamic mayor, anti-Trump activist Sadiq Khan, had ordered the officers to respond with force. “We are truly living in a #PoliceState,” wrote “The British Perspective” account on Twitter, posting photos of officers beating protesters with batons. “Peaceful protesters attacked by Angry Police filled with Hate for Tommy Robinson, this is a disgusting view of police over using their power.” More than a few others at the rally also suggested police had needlessly brutalized protesters, with former Breitbart London editor Raheem Kassam posting pictures under the headline: “This is the face of the British police state.”

Police, though, blamed the violence on some rowdy protesters. “During the protest there were scenes of violence which saw bottles, metal barriers and other objects thrown at officers,” the Metropolitan Police said in an official statement. “Five officers have reported injuries, which are not serious. The Met will now launch a post investigation collating the CCTV in the area.” Some of those who rallied in defense of Robinson and free speech echoed the claims of police, saying a tiny group of protesters had initiated the confrontations. Some who were present argued that those who initiated the violence were actually agents provocateurs with the other side.

More than a few high-profile figures attended and even spoke at the rally. Among them was leader Gerard Batten of the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP), the political party once run by liberty superstar Nigel Farage that led the popular British movement to secede from the European Union super-state (Brexit). A few days before the rally, Batten said on social media that only opinions that are “politically correct” are allowed in the United Kingdom today. “We are fast becoming like the old Soviet Union,” he warned. His profile also made frequent reference to the increasingly obvious problems stemming from mass immigration.

At the speech, Batten, who also serves in the European “Parliament,” spoke out forcefully. “Governments in this country and across Europe are now the enemies of their own people; they promote policies that are against the interests of their own people,” the MEP said, citing open borders, establishment efforts to sabotage Brexit, and the mass importation of Muslims. “A literalist interpretation of the Mohammedan cult is completely alien to everything our country stands for and our traditional way of life. And yet instead of opposing Islamisation, our government is submitting and surrendering to it. They have betrayed the British people.”

Another Member of the European pseudo-“Parliament” (MEP) who attended the rally, Janice Atkinson, who serves as vice-president of the political grouping known as Europe of Nations and Freedom, also slammed the imprisonment of Robinson and spoke out on other key issues. “For Britain” leader Anne Marie Waters was there too. Former Breitbart London editor-in-chief Kassam, an author who served as Master of Ceremonies at the rally and helped organize it, pointed to shifting political moods in Italy, Poland, Hungary, and beyond as a positive development that people were “taking back” their nations from the elites. Also in attendance were lawmakers from Belgium and other European nations.

Among the most prominent speakers was Dutch political leader Wilders, who fights against what he describes as the “Islamization” of Europe and leads the second-largest political party in the Netherlands. In a fiery speech, Wilders noted that many thousands of people all over the world — from America to Australia — were protesting in front of British embassies to demand Robinson's release. More than half of a million people have signed a petition demanding that as well, he told the crowd. “So, Downing Street is just around the corner, so maybe once again, as loud as possible as we can, let them hear our message: Free Tommy Robinson!” Wilders declared, with the crowd roaring back its support.

“Listen to us [Prime Minister] Theresa May, listen to us [Home Secretary] Sajid Javid, listen to us [Mayor] Sadiq Khan,” Wilders added, with protesters booing at the mention of each name. “Listen to us, all you in power: We want the release of Tommy Robinson! Tommy Robinson is the greatest freedom fighter of Britain today. He says what no-one dares to say. He has courage. And that is more than we can say for all those people that govern us. Because our governors sold us out with mass immigration, with Islamisation, with open borders. We are almost foreigners in our own land. And if we complain about it, they call us racists or Islamophobes — but I say, no more.”

The Dutch political leader, who could eventually become prime minister if current trends continue, also drew attention to how British authorities infamously “looked the other way for years, when thousands — thousands — of English children and girls were brutally raped by those grooming gangs.” “They were your daughters. The daughters of the brave Tommies. The daughters of the hard-working, decent people of Britain,” Wilders said. “But for years, and years, the police, the politicians, the prosecutors did nothing, and looked the other way. They refused to listen to the victims. They arrested fathers who tried to liberate their daughters. They left children in the hands of those gangs.”

“But Tommy, my friends, Tommy acted,” Wilders said. “Tommy didn’t look in the other direction. He refused to ignore the problem. He gave voice to millions of Britons who were abandoned by the authorities. And when Tommy protested, the same authorities could not be fast enough to jail him and to gag the media. And I tell you: that is not democracy. That is not freedom. That is what they do in Saudi Arabia.... My friends, it was not Tommy who was breaching the peace, it was your government who was breaching the peace! And we cannot, and we will not, accept it any longer. We want freedom, and it is our duty to speak out against rape, against grooming gangs, against Sharia law, against barbarism — and we demand the release of Tommy Robinson.”

Wilders also said political momentum was with those seeking to preserve borders, nations, civilization, and liberty. And he declared that governments would not be able to silence or intimidate people. “We will never surrender! We will stand strong and do our duty, we will defend our civilization, and we will protect our people,” Wilders thundered. “And I tell you, to the governments, you can throw us in jail, but you will never defeat us. Because, my friends, for every Tommy you imprison, thousands will rise up. So take notice Theresa May, take notice Dutch Prime Minister Rutte, take notice, Ms. Merkel and President Macron: The future is ours, and not yours. We will defeat you politically — because we, my friends, we are the people. And every day, more people are joining our cause: the cause of freedom.”

Smaller rallies took place in other cities across the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond. In the United States, a protest took place last week in Washington, D.C. outside the British Embassy. According to News2Share, rally organizer organizer Jack Posobiec said the American activists left flowers on the British flag “for the innocent girls, the victims of these brutal gangs that are rolling rampant through the U.K. and other countries.” “That’s who Tommy was trying to speak for,” said Posobiec. Another prominent figure at the rally, journalist Cassandra Fairbanks, said the treatment of Robinson shows how important the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment is, “and how we need to keep fighting for it at all costs.”

British authorities' efforts to quietly imprison Robinson in a secret proceeding and then gag the press have backfired in spectacular fashion. The whole news-consuming world knows about it. Robinson is seen as a martyr. Now, the establishment's propaganda organs disguised as “news” outlets have been reduced to either ignoring the global outcry, or seeking to demonize free-speech activists with nasty false adjectives and "fake news." But with the globalist media more discredited than at any time in history, the scheme to downplay or demonize the protests is likely to backfire just as badly as the effort to jail Robinson and silence the media backfired. Indeed, people across the United Kingdom and Europe are waking up.

Whether one agrees with everything Robinson says or even his tactics is not the point. Instead, the point is that free speech and freedom of the press are fundamental human rights that must be respected by civilized governments. The British once fervently defended their God-given rights. Hopefully those days will come again. And ironically, it might be the jailing of Robinson that serves as the catalyst.

Tommy Robinson supporters in Trafalgar Square: AP Images

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU or on Facebook. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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