Britain First leader whom Trump re-tweeted ordered to avoid rallies

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 14, 2017 8:40 AM

By Ian Graham

BELFAST (Reuters) - A leader of a British far right group whose anti-Islamic social media posts were retweeted by U.S. President Donald Trump was ordered on Thursday not to appear within 500 meters of any rally until a criminal case in Northern Ireland is finished.

Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the fringe anti-immigrant Britain First group, appeared at a court in Belfast to face charges of using threatening, abusive or insulting words in a speech at a rally in the city in August.

Trump's sharing of her anti-Muslim videos posted on Twitter provoked outrage in Britain last month, drawing a sharp rebuke from Prime Minister Theresa May and straining relations between two close allies on the global stage.

Fransen, 31, was remanded on continuing bail until January 9 on the condition that she is not allowed within 500 meters of any rally or demonstration before the case is finished.

An attempt by police to restrict Fransen's use of social media - Twitter and Facebook - was rejected by the judge.

Fransen, who was fined last month after being found guilty by a court in England of religiously aggravated harassment for shouting abuse at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, would be pleading not guilty, her lawyer told Belfast Magistrates Court.

Paul Golding, the leader of Britain First, was also arrested as he accompanied Fransen to court, the group said.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said a 35-year-old man was detained for questioning over a speech at the same rally in Belfast in August.

Golding, 35, is a former senior figure in the far-right British National Party and founded Britain First in 2011.

The group describes itself as a "patriotic political party and street movement", but critics denounce it as a far-right, racist organization.

(Editing by Padraic Halpin and William Maclean)

The Late, Great USA