By Bethany Riely
HUNDREDS of football hooligans and far-right activists are planning to confront Black Lives Matter protesters on Saturday in London, campaigners warned today.
The Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA), a network of hooligan groups, has called on supporters across the country to bus down to the capital this weekend and surround war memorials and statues.
Campaign group Hope not Hate warned that it “seems certain” the DFLA event will go ahead after prominent racist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (known as Tommy Robinson) pledged to attend in a video posted on Sunday night.
The DFLA emerged in 2017 claiming to be a “non-violent” and “anti-extremist” group, and is largely made up of former and current football thugs.
Although initially it distanced itself from far-right groups and nazism, it quickly adopted Islamophobic rhetoric and has attracted fascist supporters.
A Hope not Hate statement warned: “While the group’s stated intention of protecting the war memorials might attract the sympathy of some, let us be in no doubt about its real objective — which is violence.
“Many of the hooligans planning to attend the DFLA protest next week are spoiling for a fight, with some hoping to directly confront BLM activists and others hoping their presence simply increases tensions and provokes clashes between anti-racist campaigners and the police.”
In posts on DFLA’s Facebook page, supporters posted comments inciting violence including “come armed with machetes” and “let’s go to war, kill the scum.”
Football Lads and Lasses Against Fascism (FLAF), a counter-group to the DFLA, said: “Some of the chatter coming out of far-right circles at the moment should make it very clear that we still have a serious problem with racism in this country.”