The English Defence League set to stage anti-asylum seekers rally in Portsmouth

Heroin and crack seized by Portsmouth police in Devonshire Square, Southsea. Police posted this image on December 11, 2017

Portsmouth police seize 100 wraps of crack and heroin in Southsea

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FAR-RIGHT extremist group the English Defence League plan to protest in Portsmouth against a fresh surge in support for refugees.

Police are aware EDL members want to stage a rally on the same day that campaigners march through the city centre to show support for families seeking asylum on November 10.

I don’t think it’s particularly good for Cllr Donna Jones (council leader) and company that one of the most visible supporters they have in Portsmouth are a bunch of drunken, violent hooligans who have links to Nazi organisations.

Simon Magorian, of Stand Up to Racism

Tensions have been caused by the council’s bid to the government to get the door closed on any more refugees coming in.

Groups like Stand Up to Racism, joined by residents and students who have poured out their support to families overseas, disapprove of the council’s position – whereas the EDL and other right-wing members support it.

But Simon Magorian, of Stand Up to Racism, insists he will not be rattled by the presence of fascists and the council must commit to supporting refugees.

He said: ‘I don’t think it’s particularly good for Cllr Donna Jones (council leader) and company that one of the most visible supporters they have in Portsmouth are a bunch of drunken, violent hooligans who have links to Nazi organisations.

‘I think it will be difficult for them to get people in on a Tuesday – that will be their problem. They will be local, unemployed and unpleasant.

‘It’s important we hold our protest and don’t allow ourselves to be intimidated or provoked.’

Last month there was a protest outside the civic offices while the decision was being made.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokeswoman said the force is ‘fully aware’ of the EDL’s intentions and is talking to organisers.

The EDL staged a march through the city last year against the opening of the Madani Academy Muslim faith school on the corner of Fratton Road and Lake Road.

In 2013, scores of anti-Muslim protestors from the EDL and other far-right groups rallied to voice anger over the Madani plans.

Lib Dem councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the council at the time, said police have warned that groups like the EDL push people to become radicalised.

He said: ‘We don’t want people to become radicalised, and if the EDL turning up means people are pushed in that direction then that’s a bad thing for Portsmouth.

Neither the EDL or right-wing group the Pie and Mash squad, which has already staged an anti-asylum protest in Portsmouth, were available for comment.