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British minister warns of 1930s-style fascist violence

A British minister has warned of 1930s-style fascist provocation on the streets of London as police arrested eight people at a 9/11 anti-Islamic demonstration in a London suburb.

world Updated: Sep 12, 2009 15:46 IST

A British minister has warned of 1930s-style fascist provocation on the streets of London as police arrested eight people at a 9/11 anti-Islamic demonstration in a London suburb.

Community Minister John Denham pinpointed the English Defence League while warning of far-right provocation in Britain.

"You could go back to the 1930s if you wanted to - Cable Street and all of those types of things. The tactic of trying to provoke a response in the hope of causing wider violence and mayhem is long established on the far-right," Denham told The Guardian.

His comments - referring to violent clashes in 1936 between British fascists and Jews on Cable Street in the East End of London - came amid a surge in right-wing provocations across England, particularly in towns and cities with large populations of South Asians.

Although the protests are ostensibly aimed against Muslim extremists, they end up with confrontations between the right wing groups and South Asians who may or may not be Muslims.

A protest in the northwest London suburb of Harrow on Friday by a group calling itself "Stop Islamification of Europe" ended with eight people arrested for possession of offensive weapons.

Shaved-headed white protestors gathered outside a large mosque in the centre of the town in an action that was held - provocatively - on 9/11.

According to British media accounts on Saturday of the protest, riot police moved in and made the arrests in order stop a clash between members of the far-right group and South Asian counter protesters.

Police made as many as 100 arrests in the city of Birmingham this month after two protests by the English Defence League led to clashes with South Asians.

Minister Denham said the Labour government will launch a programme next week aimed at addressing white working class fears over jobs and allocation of subsidised housing for low-income groups in order to "undercut issues that racists try to exploit."