Modern right-wing groups have “parallels” with 1930s-style fascism, a Cabinet minister has warned following violence at an anti-Islamic protest outside a mosque.
Communities Secretary John Denham made the comments as part of a drive to prevent white working class people being “exploited” by the extremists.
He singled out protests organised by the English Defence League, some of which have turned violent in recent months.
“If you look at the types of demonstrations they’ve organised… it looks pretty clear that it’s a tactic designed to provoke and to get a response and hopefully create violence,” Mr Denham told the Guardian.
He pointed to historical “parallels” with the so-called Battle of Cable Street in October 1936.
Then, Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, tried to march his supporters through a Jewish area of the East End of London, leading to violent clashes.
“You could go back to the 1930s if you wanted to – Cable Street and all of those types of things,” Mr Denham said.
“The tactic of trying to provoke a response in the hope of causing wider violence and mayhem is long established on the far-right and among extremist groups.”
Ten people were arrested last night when protesters from the Stop Islamification of Europe (SIOE) group were involved in a demonstration outside Harrow Central Mosque in north east London to mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Anti-fascist demonstrators also gathered at the mosque, leading to clashes between the different groups.
Police officers were attacked with bricks and bottles and had to act fast to prevent events from escalating, a spokeswoman said.
“What police set out to do was to police peaceful protests,” Supt Julia Pendry said.
“Unfortunately what unfolded was a series of acts of disorder and even cases of violence.”
She added: “It is completely unacceptable for people to use the excuse of protest to break the law and behave in this way.”
See Related: WORLD POLITICS
ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL
SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY