Page last updated at 12:24 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 13:24 UK

Hain attacks anti-Islamic protest

Police making an arrest during an English Defence League protest in Manchester on 10 October
Police making an arrest during an English Defence League protest in Manchester on 10 October

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain has accused a group protesting against Islamic extremism of using "boot boy tactics".

The Welsh Defence League (WDL) said Saturday's demo in Swansea would be peaceful. It denied being racist and called Mr Hain's comments "nonsense".

Opponents plan a counter-demonstration while another WDL protest is planned in Newport for the following weekend.

Police said they would police both protests but "the maintaining of order is a priority".

A number of opposition groups are planning a counter demonstration in Swansea on Saturday.

Mr Hain, an early sponsor of the Anti-Nazi League (ANL), described the WDL as "really sinister" and accused it of wanting to "stamp its particularly obnoxious creed" on non-white communities in Wales.

Mr Hain, in 1973, at a demonstration by anti-apartheid campaigners outside the South African Embassy in Trafalgar Sq
A younger Peter Hain campaigning against apartheid

He said: "This group is seeking to take over over Swansea city centre... in order to say 'Muslims are not welcome here, Jews are not welcome here, black people are not welcome here, and there should be something called a white ethnic Welsh nation'.

"These views are repugnant and they're evil and they should be opposed.

"Wales on the whole is a relatively white nation. We've not had large-scale migration but we do celebrate as a fact that we've always been committed, as a nation, in the fight against racism.

"There was a strong anti-apartheid movement here. There was a committed fight against fascism in the 1930s when Welsh men went to Spain to fight with the international brigades against fascism and against Hitler's advance in Germany."

He said the protest by Unite Against Fascism, the successor to the ANL, was "reviving that tradition" and would also try to occupy Swansea city centre to let the WDL know it was "not welcome with your racist intimidation and violence".

'Not a racist group'

Mike Smith, of the Cardiff WDL group, said the group's protest was against "extremist Muslims" adding that "moderate Muslims are being driven out of the mosques by these extremists".

He said: "We're not a racist group. We have many black members, we have a lot of Sikh supporters.

"What Peter Hain said is absolute nonsense. He's trying to make out we're white supremacists. We're nothing of the sort."

South Wales Police Chief Superintendent Mark Mathias said: "Whilst people have the right to protest, the safety of the public and the maintaining of order is a priority.

"To this end we have engaged with all parties concerned and accommodated their needs for a peaceful process"

"I would ask that all those concerned conduct themselves in a manner which will allow them to achieve their aims, but also to allow others in the vicinity to go about their daily business."

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