Scottish Defence League

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The Scottish Defence League (SDL) is a far right organisation based in Scotland, and connected with the English Defence League.

Its best publicists are the far left, particularly trade union groups, the Anti-Nazi League and Unite Against Fascism, whose posters have given this small group a fame beyond its numbers. It is not a political party.

The SDL is basically an outgrowth of the English Defence League, and on protests EDL people seem to make up the numbers. The remaining membership seems to consist of the more erratic rangers fans and knuckleheads. The SDL has attempted a couple of marches, but has found itself hopelessly outnumbered by largely White anti-racists. However, the massive publicity given the group has probably also allowed them to recruit a few more members, mostly drunks.

In 2009, the Sunday Herald revealed links between the SDL and the British National Party (BNP) though both groups have publicly tried to distance themselves from each other, with the BNP claiming it would expel members found to be active in the SDL and its English counterpart, the EDL.[1]

It held several small protests in 2017. They took part in an anti-refugee protest in Alloa alongside members of the National Front and Scottish Dawn.[2] Also in 2017, they were involved in a march against a mosque in Perth, and an ostensibly anti-terrorism but really anti-Muslim march in Edinburgh. In each case they were outnumbered by anti-racist and anti-fascist counter-demonstrations, barely able to muster 50 protestors even when bolstered by English supporters - the group's leaders claiming people were too scared of anti-fascists to join their protests.[3]

In Feb 2018, they protested in Edinburgh about refugees getting houses, and Maggie Chapman of the Scottish Green Party who was attending a counter protest complained that the SDL were getting favourable treatment from the police, with an anti-racist placard saying "dickhead" being confiscated, but the SDL allowed to fly the "racist" Confederate flag.[4] Another protest in July 2018 again saw about 50 of the usual suspects gathering in Glasgow, this time masquerading as "pro free speech" in reference to Tommy Robinson, but again met by larger counter-protests.[5]

The SDL also appears to have links with Regimental Blues, a far-right Protestant anti-independence group founded in Glasgow in 2013, whose chairman is Kris McGurk.[6]

In July 2017, one of its members in Edinburgh was charged with terrorism offences after police seized an IED and terrorist manuals from his home, and found guilty the following year.[7][8]

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