Mickey Bayliss said the group was committed to a peaceful demonstration against what he claimed was the “Islamification of Bristol”.
The 48-year-old farmer, from Upton Cheyney, near Bitton, stressed that the group had no intention of marching through St Paul’s and told the Post he had been working closely with the police and the council to ensure a trouble-free protest.
He also dismissed claims that marching on the day of a gay pride festival in the city was a provocative move. “We were given this day by the council, as initially the march clashed with the harbour festival,” said the Bedminster-born activist. The last thing we want to do as an organisation is cause any trouble.”
Mr Bayliss denied accusations that the EDL preached fear and hate, claiming instead that it was a tolerant organisation. He said: “Unfortunately we are being painted as a racist group, but we are clearly not.”
Mr Bayliss said the EDL was not targeting Bristol in particular, although he did express concerns about the city. He said: “There’s been a few incidents involving Islamic centres springing up around the city and also more mosques. We are against the extreme Islamist terrorism and Sharia law and people who preach hate and terror. We are also against the Islamification of Bristol.”
The 2001 census found that Muslims made up 2% of the population of Bristol, while Christians accounted for 62%, and 93% of the population was white. If the city is now under serious threat of “Islamification” you can only conclude that the Muslim community must have grown at a quite staggering rate over the past decade.
As for Mickey Bayliss’s claim to oppose racism, here is an example of his sense of humour: