A protest from the Neo-Nazi group National Action which was staged in York last Saturday allegedly had participators who “looked like students” according to eye witness reports.
The protesters were seen outside the Minster holding a banner in support of Hitler and even performing the Nazi salute. A large police presence was established quickly and numerous members of the public were seen denouncing the protesters and their actions.
According to first year History student Anna Coughlan the protesters, numbered at around 40, seemed to include members who “looked just like normal students, our age”.
Coughlan, who was present at the event, went on to state how “it is incredibly worrying that people our age hold such views, views which are associated with the most hateful aspects of society”.
Coughlan also described how she felt “concerned at the hostile environment and that the scene was one completely at odds with the York I have become used to throughout my first year at university”.
Following the event there have been a number of arrests, including that of a 21-year-old man from Swansea. Police are appealing to anyone with footage of the event to come forward and aid the identification of protesters.
The incoming Lord Mayor of York has also joined a group of 14 key civic leaders in the city who have denounced the actions of the group, stating that their “message of hate” has no place on the streets of York.
Ben Leatham, YUSU President, also joined the Lord Mayor in signing an open letter which denounced the protesters. The letter stated how “to have a group of fascists on the streets of York bearing a banner claiming ‘Hitler Was Right’, as we did on Saturday, dishonours the memory of all those who fought against the Nazi regime”.