Jewish and English 'Defence Leagues' Alliance Sparks Violent Protests in Canada

14 January 2011

Violence erupted during a demonstration in Toronto on Tuesday night by anti-racist groups opposing an alliance between the 'Jewish Defense League' (JDL) and the UK based 'English Defense League'. Four protesters were arrested and a police officer was injured in the violence .

Demonstrators representing several anti-racism and social action groups shouted slogans and taunts at members of the JDL, whose Canadian leader, Meir Weinstein, announced recently that his group would ally with the British organization, which is known for violence and extremism. Police on foot and horseback managed to control the protest, but not before one officer reportedly suffered a broken rib.

The JDL was holding a meeting which included a live internet link with English Defense League founder Stephen Lennon, who goes by the name Tommy Robinson, who said Canadians "need to wake up. The Islamicization of your country is on its way."

The English Defense League, formed last year in UK, has been denounced as Islamophobic, violent and extremist. British Jewish organizations have opposed the group even though it openly supports Israel.

The JDL said it is forging ties with the British group to "take a stand against the forces of political Islam."

The Canadian Jewish Congress has opposed the alliance between the two rightist groups, saying that while Islamic fundamentalism is "a real threat," combating it with "generalized hatred against Muslims, as does the EDL, is only a recipe for fuelling more conflict."

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