Statement against the 'Football Lads Alliance' protest in Manchester

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We, the undersigned, are opposed to ‘The Football Lads Alliance’s’ plans to demonstrate in Manchester. 

The FLA claims to be against all extremism but in recent months it has had far right speakers on its platforms, its marches have been promoted by far-right organisations and activists, and it has promoted Islamophobic events such as an intimidating march by far right extremists against the East London mosque in Tower Hamlets.

Far from opposing extremism, the FLA's closed Facebook page continually sees racist and Islamophobic posts, including vitriolic posts targeting the Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott in the wake of concerns she raised about the group. These posts were so severe that a major Veterans charity Walking With The Wounded pulled its support for the recent FLA demo in London on 7 October.

John Meighan, the FLA's founder, offered his support to Donald Trump in his recent retweeting of fascist Britain First tweets. In late December, Meighan posted an openly Islamophobic post on his Facebook page, with a picture of him holding a copy of former English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson’s book ‘Mohammed’s Koran: Why Muslims Kill for Islam’ with the phrase “Happy Christmas you filthy animals”.

Some attracted to the FLA may be concerned about terror attacks and may not be racist, but we believe that any FLA event in a multicultural city like Manchester can only promote division in our community and open the door to racist, Islamophobic and far right groups and ideas to grow.

We oppose the FLA event, oppose Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and all forms of racism, and support Stand Up To Racism's anti-racist mobilisation in Manchester to show opposition to the FLA.

Signatories so far include:

Kate Green MP; Andrew Gwynne MP; Barbara Keeley MP; Julie Ward MEP;
Wajid Khan MEP; Cllr Richard Leese; Cllr Bernard Priest; Cllr Rabnawaz Akbar; Cllr Azra Ali; Cllr Shaukat Ali; Cllr Chris Webb; Cllr David Ellison; Cllr Ahmed Ali; Cllr Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford Labour Group; Cllr Aidan Williams, Trafford; Cllr Heather Fletcher, Salford City Council; Cllr Derek Antrobus, Salford City Council; Cllr Julie Gunn, Blackburn & Darwen.

Dan Hett, brother of a Manchester attack victim, and co-founder of Survivors Against Terror; UNISON North West Region; GMB North West & Irish Region; Manchester and Salford National Union of JournalistsShow Racism the Red Card.

Jackie Harrison, Muslim-Jewish Forum executive; Carl Webb, CWU North West Regional Secretary; Mark Rowe, FBU North West Regional Secretary; Martin McMulkin, Unite the union North West Regional Chair; Paula Barker, UNISON North West Regional Convenor; Dan Lewis, CWU North West Regional Chair; Helen Tooley, FBU North West Regional Women’s Rep; Peter Billington, Secretary, Lancashire TUC; Karen Reissmann, Unison NEC (pc); Dawn Taylor, NEU Exec; Peter Middleman, Regional Secretary, NUT Section - NW Region - National Education Union;  Kevan Nelson, UNISON, North West Regional Secretary; Neil Smith, Political Officer, GMB North West & Irish Region; Nik Barstow, Secretary Trafford TUC; Simon Murch, National Executive NUT-NEU; Rhetta Moran, RAPAR (Refugee Asylum Participatory Action Research) Trustee; Rachel Broady, Equality Officer, Manchester and Salford NUJ;  Kath Grant, Secretary, National Union of Journalists, Manchester & Salford Branch; Mohammed Shafiq, Ramadan Foundation; Ian Allinson, Chair, Unite Fujitsu NW branch; Dave Wilson, President Lancashire Association of Trades Councils; Janet Alder, Justice for Christopher Alder campaign; John Catterall, Vice Chair Greater Manchester Unite Community Branch; Samantha Nicholson-Hickling, President Oldham NEU (NUT Section); Evan Pritchard, Chair, Unite the Union Greater Manchester Community Branch; Dave Lowe, Senior Steward, Wigan Unison; Geoff Dexter, Co-founder LGBT Against Islamophobia; Colin Barker, Former secretary, Anti-Nazi League; former chair, Unite Against Fascism; Carol Cody, UCU NW Women's Equality Rep; Sarah Ensor, PCS workplace rep. IOPC Manchester (pc); Sian Bloor, Trafford NEU; Tom Machell, Prospect BECTU Sector CMD North of England Branch; Penny Hicks, convenor, Manchester Peoples' Assembly; Julia Simpkins, NEU(NUT) divisional secretary Bolton; Nick Wigmore National Education Union; Jason Schumann, European Forum for Ethnic Minorities; Azara Azam, Unison, RBMC, NBMC; Tom Jones, PCS IOPC Vice Chair; Dr. Siema Iqbal, co-founder AVOW; Farah Anwar-Baway, co-founder AVOW

A longer list of public signatories can be found here: