Tommy Robinson supporters wear #FreeTommy jackets at protest – there’s just one problem

Saturday 23 February 2019 15:45
news

Hundreds of Tommy Robinson supporters have gathered in Salford today in protest against the BBC, with many of them wearing England flags around their shoulders and hi-vis waistcoats with "#FreeTommy" printed on the back.

Except there's just one tiny problem... the English Defence League leader is already free.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, actually walked free from court in October last year after he was imprisoned for breaking reporting restrictions at Leeds Crown Court where the Huddersfield grooming gang were on trial. He was live-streaming the court case, despite the judge having ordered reporting restrictions.

It was Robinson himself who even organised the demonstration outside the BBC's Salford offices, protesting an upcoming Panorama episode which apparently will be investigating the controversial leader. Robinson criticised the programme, set to air today, and said the aim of the rally was to make a stand "against the corrupt media", additionally calling for the BBC license fee to be scrapped.

Other speakers at the event, like Ezra Levant from the far-right website The Rebel Media, also urged the audience to rebel against the BBC license fee. One organiser also took to stage, warning supporters to allow journalists and photographers to report on the demonstration, saying:

Don't touch the photographers or any of the media companies. Let them be. Just for today.

While there's some confusion about how many protesters are attending the event, numerous news organisations are reporting the number is in the hundreds. A counter-protest of around 500 anti-fascists is being held nearby.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said they "roundly condemn Tommy Robinson... and his fellow, far-right thugs who intend to intimidate staff at the corporation, particularly those working on Panorama".

BBC staff should be free to do their jobs without these threats.

Intimidation, threats and violence carried out by far-right protesters systematically targeting the media, especially photojournalists, are becoming more frequent and we will always call out this behaviour and report criminal activity to the police.

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