Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

You Don't Belong Here, Pegida Told

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

You Don't Belong Here, Pegida Told

Article excerpt

Byline: Craig Thompson Reporter

POLITICAL, community and union leaders today sent a final message to Pegida protesters ahead of their Tyneside march: "You are not welcome in our city".

It comes 24 hours before the 'anti-Islam' protesters arrive in the North East. Under the banner of Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West, Pegida supporters will be taking to Newcastle city centre amid claims they are trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants.

Tomorrow will be the first UK demonstration by its British branch.

A counter-demonstration, now expected to attract in excess of 2,000 people, will simultaneously march through the city in protest.

It was organised by Newcastle Unites, and is also aiming to attract speakers including George Galloway MP.

Police said they were fully prepared to cope with the extra influx of people into the city centre just hours before Newcastle United's home match against Aston Villa.

David Stockdale, councillor for Blakelaw, said: "Newcastle is a friendly, tolerant and inclusive city of sanctuary. We thrive on the diversity of our communities, which makes our city one of the truly great cities of the world.

"Pegida paint a brutal misrepresentation of Islam. It's important to stand up to that and it's important to speak out against Pegida's twisted prejudice."

Pegida started in Germany but has reportedly developed a number of off-shoots elsewhere in Europe in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.

Lord Jeremy Beecham, former leader of Newcastle City Council, said: "This city has a deserved reputation for welcoming people and for good relations between the communities which enrich its life. …

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