AN ANTI-FASCIST campaigner has reported the organiser of tomorrow’s Portsmouth EDL march to the police over comments made on Facebook.
Jon Woods, a member of Unite Against Fascism (UAF), made the move after feeling concerned for his safety.
The 49-year-old, from Southsea, said comments by Mickey Bayliss had made him feel threatened and targeted.
Referring to the demonstration planned over the Muslim school being built in the city, Mr Bayliss said ‘it’s Woods and Donelly I want...’.
Mr Woods, who has given a statement to the police, said: ‘My friend brought it to my attention that comments had been made about me.
‘I checked them out and feared for my safety because they were made by an English Defence League member, Mickey Bayliss.
‘I thought they should be brought to the attention of the police because people shouldn’t be allowed to get away with things like this.
‘The police were helpful but said it is hard to investigate as the comments weren’t made directly to me.
‘But I want the EDL to know that they can’t bully people and intimidate them.
‘I will still be going along to the march because I want to stand up for what I believe in.’
Mr Bayliss, the EDL’s south west regional organiser, said that the comments were not aggressive but simply making a point.
He said: ‘All I was saying on Facebook was that if someone came up to me and started, then I would defend myself.
‘I will be stood with the police liaison officer because I want to work with them but that doesn’t mean that if someone from an opposing group kicks off, I won’t stand up for what I believe.
‘But we still want this to be a peaceful protest and, despite rumours, if people from the National Front come to the march, we will be turning them away and telling them to leave.’
The march comes after the introduction of a new Muslim school in Buckland.
The Madani Academy is using a building formerly owned by Portsmouth City Council but council leader Gerald Vernon Jackson has said rumours about the school need to stop.
He said: ‘The council wants the best value for the assets it’s selling and the Muslim community had the highest bid that reached the hundreds of thousands.
‘So, they rightfully got the site.
‘Also, as far as I’m concerned, schools cannot be dedicated to one faith.
‘Like St Edmund’s or St John’s, the Madani Academy will be based on one faith but cannot only accept Muslims.
‘It will be open to everyone.’
Both the UAF and EDL will be demonstrating on Saturday from noon.
Hampshire police said they were aware of the comments and the statement.
PUB OWNERS SAY THEY ARE NOT SUPPORTERS OF GROUP
OWNERS of a pub want to make it clear that they are not supporters of the English Defence League.
Colin Nash and his wife Joan, who run The Connaught Arms in Penhale Road, Fratton, do not want the public thinking they support the group, despite its marches starting at the pub.
Mr Nash said: ‘At one of their marches, they just turned up here. For Saturday, the police asked us if they could start here.
‘It keeps them contained and we just want to do our bit for the community and the police. We neither agree nor disagree with their views.’