A charity which is hosting a meeting to discuss how anti-fascists can combat the rise of the English Defence League (EDL) received a menacing phone call telling it to cancel the booking or face “trouble”.
Bosses at Squeaky Gate in Norfolk Street have vowed not to cave in to the threat but police will be on the scene tonight to make sure there is no trouble.
The meeting, organised by Cambridge Unite Against Fascism (UAF), will be attended by trade unionists, political parties and faith groups.
Olga Plocienniczak, an administrator at Squeaky Gate, told the News the call came from a private number and that the speaker told her there would be “trouble” if the meeting was not cancelled, warning far-right activists were planning to turn up. The caller refused to reveal their identity.
Ms Plocienniczak said Squeaky Gate was non-political but that room bookings helped to fund its work encouraging vulnerable people to make music. She said: “We are completely non-political and don’t take anybody’s side in this instance but I don’t think it is a right approach to make phone calls saying it shouldn’t be happening or there will be trouble.”
The meeting is being held as the EDL gains more prominence in the wake of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby and a wreath-laying at Cambridge’s war memorial. There have been attacks on Islamic centres in north London and Grimsby.
Richard Rose, UAF’s coordinator in the city, said far-right activists had no other way of combating Cambridge’s unity against racial hatred. He said: “It’s just bully boy tactics, trying to scare people who have different opinions to them.”
A police spokesman said: “We have been to Squeaky Gate to offer reassurance ahead of the meeting. We will be monitoring the situation.”
Speakers at the meeting, which starts at 7.30pm, include Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism.
No prizes for guessing where these threats might originate.
Update: See “EDL hand out leaflets as anti-fascists hold meeting”, Cambridge News, 13 June 2013
Update 2: See “Cambridge unites against racism”, UAF news report, 14 June 2013