Belfast Telegraph

Councillor Jolene Bunting faces criticism for “bringing Nazis to Belfast”

Pacemaker 09/06/2018
A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court.
Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker 09/06/2018 A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Pic Pacemaker
A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Pic Pacemaker
A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Credit: Pacemaker
Pacemaker 09/06/2018 A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker 09/06/2018 A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker 09/06/2018 A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker 09/06/2018 A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker 09/06/2018 A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker 09/06/2018 A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker 09/06/2018 A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker 09/06/2018 A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker 09/06/2018 A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker 09/06/2018 Counter protesters at A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker 09/06/2018 Counter protesters at A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker 09/06/2018 A rally at Belfast City hall on Saturday in support of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after broadcasting an hour-long video over Facebook from outside Leeds crown court. Pic Pacemaker

By Andrew Madden, Local Democracy Reporter

Controversial councillor Jolene Bunting has been criticised for “bringing Nazis to Belfast” after organising a “Free Tommy Robinson” rally outside City Hall.

Hundred of supporters showed up to the event on Saturday, which was held in reaction to the jailing of Mr Robinson, former EDL leader and convicted mortgage-fraudster, for contempt of court.

There was a furious uproar on social media, however, when several of the supporters were photographed giving Nazi salutes.

One user wrote: “Nazis brought onto our streets by a Belfast councillor”.

Flags belonging to the far-right group Generation Identity were pictured at the rally, which was comprised of a series of speeches by Jolene Bunting and other notable figures of Britain’s far-right.

It is understood several supporters travelled up from Dublin and the mainland UK for the event.

Ms Bunting’s fellow City Hall councillors were themselves critical of the event and the crowd it attracted.

SDLP representative Donal Lyons, who has previously filed several complaints with Commissioner for Standards regarding Councillor Bunting, said it is not hard to understand the message the independent representative was trying to send by organising the rally.

“Bringing a group of men, many of whom came over from England especially, to mill around outside Belfast City Hall throwing Nazi salutes, waving white supremacist flags and shouting about their racism, is as clear a signal as you could find,” he said.

“But as the short shrift they received from passers by shows, it’s not what Belfast wants, it’s not what Belfast needs and it’s not something that should pass unchallenged.”

Councillor Jolene Bunting pictured at a Free Tommy Robinson rally at Belfast City Hall. Credit: Brendan Harkin
Councillor Jolene Bunting pictured at a Free Tommy Robinson rally at Belfast City Hall. Credit: Brendan Harkin

Councillor Lyons said he can understand the temptation to dismiss those at the demonstration as a “few isolated individuals with anger issues” but warned if left unchecked, “they will in time pose a threat”.

“The flying of a Generation Identity flag shows they are trying to organise,” he added.

“Thankfully their incoherent combination of conspiracy theories, football hooliganism and old fashioned white supremacy, is so morally repugnant they’ll find it hard to make headway in Belfast.

“The building they chose to gather outside was bombed by the Luftwaffe, close to a thousand Belfast citizens lost their lives during the Belfast Blitz and many more from Belfast died fighting to defeat fascism.

“I’ve no doubt the people of the Shankill will remember in elections to come, who fought the Nazis and who stood smugly beside them.”

Jolene Bunting did not respond to a request for comment, however on Thursday evening she posted the following message on Facebook above a Generation Identity banner flying over Westminster bridge: “Would anyone have a contact for GI Belfast?”.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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