Sebastian Murphy-Bates, Daily Mail, October 8, 2017
Thousands of football fans marched against extremism today at a protest attended by English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson.
The Football Lads Alliance (FLA) descended on London for a demonstration condemned by charity Stand up to Racism (SUTR) as well as Labour’s shadow home secretary Dianne Abbott.
FLA founder John Meighan said the event was organised to show concern at a ‘recent upsurge’ in UK terrorist attacks, according to the Evening Standard.
He told the crowd this afternoon the FLA consisted of regular people after Dianne Abbott and others signed an SUTR statement calling on the FLA ‘to make it absolutely crystal clear that there is no place for right wing extremists on the 7 October demonstration either as speakers or participants’.
Mr Meighan said: ‘We’re against all extremism, no matter what the press say. We’re just normal people.’
He called on the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington to ‘move over’.
‘It’s time for you and your motley crew to move over: the FLA are taking over now,’ he said as the crowd jeered and chanted: ‘Who are you? Who are you?’
They applauded when Mr Meighan called for foreign terror suspects under police investigation to be deported.
‘We want all terrorist suspects who are not British citizens, who pose a threat to society, to be permanently removed from this country,’ he said
‘Why should they be allowed to do what they do? So what, they’re suspects – get them out of here.’
Tweeting under @lads_alliance, the group describes itself as a movement ‘uniting the football family against extremism’.
Though the Football Lads Alliance identifies as UK group, its Twitter profile claims the group is emerging across mainland Europe.
Beginning in Marble Arch, the march attracted fans from as far afield as Newcastle to protest alongside West Ham United, Millwall and Arsenal fans among others, with Twitter user Mark Braithwaite putting the attendance figure at 30,000.