From the UK Express
By Nick Gutteridge
BRITAIN'S newest political movement which has vowed to fight the "Islamification of the West" has marked its official launch today by announcing its first major rally.
The UK branch of the far right German campaign group PEGIDA will mark its introduction into the political sphere with a march throughout Newcastle later this month.
The new group, which has been set up by former English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson, announced the planned protest with a message saying: "Let's show the Islamists we show no fear."
It will be followed in February by another event, billed as a "peaceful silent walk" to take place in Birmingham.
The walk is being organised in conjunction with PEGIDA branches across Europe and is centred on the theme "Save Our Country, Save Our Culture, Save Our Future".
The group, whose name is a German acronym standing for Patriotic Europeans Against The Islamisation Of The West, has been accused in some quarters of being a far-right hate group.
But Mr Robinson looked to distance it from both the British National Party and the EDL, retweeting a message from a supporter saying it is "completely wrong" to suggest the three are related.
The controversial campaigner quit the EDL in 2013, citing his fear that far-right protestors had hijacked the group and bemoaning its reputation as alcohol-fuelled and violent.
He was due to brief journalists about PEGIDA UK's aims alongside its new leader, Paul Weston, at a pub in Luton this afternoon.
Mr Weston is seen as a controversial appointment by some following his arrest in 2014 on claims of inciting racial harassment.
The veteran campaigner was hauled away from a rally in Winchester by police after he quoted an apparently anti-Islam passage from a book by Winston Churchill. No further action was taken against him.
Also joining the senior management of the group will be Anne Marie Waters, chairwoman of Sharia Watch and a former parliamentary candidate for UKIP.
But Weyman Bennett, secretary of Unite Against Facism, said: "They have tried to do this all over Europe. I think we should oppose it."
Northumbria Police said it had not been contacted by PEGIDA's organisers ahead of the proposed Newcastle march.
A spokeswoman said: "At the moment we have not received formal notification from this group about a proposed march."
PEGIDA began in Germany where it still has the biggest following, with more than 25,000 people attending a march in Dresden last month.
The movement also has branches in Denmark and Norway, but has been banned from carrying out marches in Spain, Switzerland and Belgium.