Belfast Telegraph

Britain First deputy leader to face trial over anti-terror rally comments

The deputy leader of far-right group Britain First faces a spring trial in Belfast over remarks made at an anti-terrorism rally last summer.

Jayda Fransen appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court on Tuesday on two hate charges related to a speech she made at a Northern Ireland Against Terrorism rally in the city in August.

The 31-year-old will go on trial on April 6, district judge Fiona Bagnall said.

She faces four unrelated charges after alleged threatening behaviour concerning remarks made on December 13 beside a peace wall dividing Catholics from Protestants in Belfast.

The comments, about Islam, were posted on social media.

A message said the video was shot in the staunchly unionist Shankill area of west Belfast.

A date for that trial is yet to be fixed.

Fransen is from Anerley in south-east London.

Britain First has enjoyed added prominence after US President Donald Trump re-tweeted three unrelated anti-Muslim videos posted by Fransen.

Two featured violent scenes, including someone being pushed off a roof and another person being assaulted.

The group has since boasted that it received hundreds of new membership applications and said its Facebook posts were reaching hundreds of thousands more users.

The leader of Britain First, Paul Golding, 35, is due to appear in court in Belfast later this week accused of using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour during a speech he made in the city last summer, at the same anti-terrorism rally as Fransen.

A third person has also been charged over comments made at the same event.

He is understood to be 55-year-old far-right activist Paul Rimmer, from Liverpool, who is also due to appear in court in Belfast this week.

Golding and Fransen face separate legal action in England.

A video was later posted on Britain First's Facebook page of Fransen, wearing a red civic robe, sitting in the mayor's chair in the chamber of Belfast City Council at City Hall criticising the legal proceedings against her.

The visit to City Hall is understood to have been facilitated by independent councillor Jolene Bunting.

Other councillors have called for an investigation into the post.

A Belfast City Council spokeswoman said: "Council has been made aware of the video post and is currently looking into the circumstances.

"The usual procedures for those wishing to film or use council premises were not followed. We received no request nor were we made aware of these plans."

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