'What message is it sending to the people of UK if there is an open invitation to the most high-profile fascist-sympathiser of modern times?' says Global Justice NowThe British Government must withdraw the invitation to Donald Trump to pay a state visit to the UK because he is “nakedly sympathising with neo-Nazis”, activists have said.
The US President caused uproar after saying a group of people he described as the “alt-left” shared the blame with members of the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists and neo-Nazi for violence that erupted when the latter attempted to hold a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The far-right group, which included people in paramilitary uniforms carrying assault rifles, gathered to protest against plans to remove a statue to the Confederate general Robert E Lee.
Mr Trump said many of the far-right protesters had gathered “innocently” and “legally” to demonstrate and accused the media of dishonesty in their reporting of the subsequent violence.
Anti-fascist protester Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a car was allegedly deliberately driven into a crowd of people in the town.
Theresa May invited the Republican billionaire to the UK but he has reportedly delayed the visit until the Government can guarantee he will not face mass protests.
Nick Dearden, the director of Global Justice Now, which is part of the UK Stop Trump coalition, urged the Prime Minister to take a stand against fascism and withdraw the invitation.
“Theresa May’s decision to invite Donald Trump for a state visit to the UK has always been highly controversial, but now that the President is nakedly sympathising with neo-Nazis, there has never been a more obvious time that that invitation must be rescinded immediately,” he said.
And Mr Dearden warned that failure to do this could embolden the far-right in Britain.
“There’s nothing that happened in Charlottesville that couldn’t happen in the UK,” he said.
“We’re witnessing spikes in racist hate crimes, and one of our political representatives was recently murdered by a far-right extremist.
“Our politicians need to be sending clear messages that such hate and violent bigotry cannot be tolerated.
“What message is it sending to the people of UK if there is an open invitation to the most high-profile fascist-sympathiser of modern times?”
In a tweet after the violence in Charlottesville, the Prime Minister’s official account said “Our thoughts and prayers are with #Charlottesville. The UK stands with the US against racism, hatred and violence.”
Downing Street did not immediately respond to a request for comment