Prominent Polish activists, due to speak at an anti-Muslim rally in Birmingham detained at the airport hours before the rally began
Britain First is a far-right movement self-described as “committed to maintaining and strengthening Christianity as the foundation of our society and culture”, and proclaims that there will be an forthcoming “civil war” with Islam. The detentions of the visiting far-right activists are subsequent to three terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, one of which resulted in Muslims being targeted at Finsbury park.
Among the three detained Polish nationals was Jacek Międlar (age 28), an antisemitic priest from western Poland known for his speeches against immigration, the political left, and “Islamic aggression”. Despite having been suspended by the Catholic church for his controversial sermons, he continues to address thousands at various right-wing rallies throughout Poland. Piotr Rybak, another of the detained, was charged for setting fire to an effigy of an Orthodox Jew during an anti-Muslim protest, was heard to say: “Our duty and the duty of the newly elected government … [is to say] we will not bring a single Muslim into Poland. Poland is for Poles.”
Anti-racism campaigners demanded British authorities intervene prior to the arrival of Międlar and his colleagues, fearing the potential radicalization of some of the 830,000 Polish nationals living in the UK. Rafal Pankowski, a far-right detractor and member of the Never Again group in Poland, stated that far-right activists were attempting to provoke Polish citizens in the UK to turn against their Muslim neighbors.
Despite prominent members of Britain First claiming the detainment of the activists are illegal, Scotland Yard issued a statement on Friday that it would take action to restrict both the Britain First demonstrations and similar far-right rallies (Unite Against Extremism, Football Lads’ Alliance, English Defense League) “due to concerns of serious public disorder, and disruption to the community”.