Main | Wednesday, March 16, 2011

LONDON: East End Pride Organizer Exposed As Founder Of Skinhead Group

Raymond Berry, one of the organizers of London's coming and first-ever East End Pride parade has resigned after being exposed as one of the founders of the English Defence League, a radical anti-Islamic skinhead group renowned for violent street clashes at its protest marches. East End Pride formed last month ostensibly in response to stickers which warned gays to "fear Allah" because the East End was now a "gay-free zone." Some local activists suspected at the time that the stickers had been planted by a group like the EDL in order to inflame tensions between gays and Muslims, although whether that is indeed the case has not yet been proven.

The remaining organizers of East End Pride have issued a statement to Pink News:
"It has come to light that Raymond has previously had dealings with the English Defence League, however he has assured us that he is no longer any part of the EDL group. [Mr Berry] stated that he has previously attended march’s [sic] organised by the EDL and UAF [Unite Against Fascism], however he found both organisations too extreme for his beliefs. None of this information was previously disclosed to the rest of the East End Gay Pride team, until it came to light late yesterday evening. The remaining members of the East End Gay Pride would like to state for the record that we do not support or condone anything that the EDL stand for."
Pride London, the city's main and long-running event, says that it continues to support East End Pride, which still intends to hold next month's planned parade.
"We have evidently been misled. Pride London remains committed to assisting any such event, and while we continue to accept that Raymond was not fronting the event for the EDL, and that the EDL remains unlinked to the event itself, we believe that his continued involvement would be inflammatory. East End Gay Pride asked our assistance to steward the event to ensure that the event remained only a pro-gay and not an anti-anything event."
What a fucking mess.

UPDATE: East End Pride has now been canceled. And noted activist Peter Tatchell has withdrawn his support for the group.
“We fear the march will be exploited and hijacked by the far right to create divisions and stir up intolerance against Muslim people. OutRage! opposes both homophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry. All forms of intolerance are wrong. The gay, Muslim, Jewish, Asian and black communities know the pain of prejudice and discrimination. We should stand together, united against hate. Let’s celebrate East London’s multicultural diversity. Don’t let bigotry divide us. Together, we can defeat the hate-mongers.”

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