Far-right Britain First leadership arrested in Belfast

An unidentified man with Fransen attempted to shield her from cameras as she arrived

An unidentified man with Fransen attempted to shield her from cameras as she arrived

Britain First styles itself as a political party but has been condemned by campaigners as a far-right extremist group.

Two leaders of the far-right Britain First group have been charged over offences in Northern Ireland.

The police and the group said that Paul Golding was detained outside the Laganside Court in Belfast, where he was supporting Britain First deputy leader, Jayda Fransen.

Outside court she dismissed the charges as "nonsense".

A statement from the Police Service of Northern Ireland said: "Detectives investigating speeches made at the Northern Ireland Against Terrorism Rally on Sunday 6th August this year have arrested a 35-year-old man today, Thursday, 14 December in the Belfast area".

Fransen posted a tweet showing her at a wall used to divide Catholic residents from Protestants in the city to prevent violence. In it she claimed "we are descending into a civil war" with Islam and that it was time for the British people to stand up and fight to gain control of their country.

Jayda Fransen, 31, of Beeches Close, Anerly in London, faces two charges relating to behaviour that is meant to or likely to stir up hatred.

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It follows comments she made at a demonstration outside Belfast City Hall in August.

Britain First's deputy gained notoriety after her videos were shared by none other but President Donald Trump.

Fransen, from Anerley in south east London, was charged at Belfast Magistrates' Court with using words which were threatening, abusive or insulting during her speech.

Police in court sought curbs on her ability to participate in future rallies in Northern Ireland as well as her social media use.

Prosecutors said footage and transcripts of Ms Fransen's speech "constitute the offences", arguing for restrictions to prevent her speaking at further rallies.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall expressed doubts about whether her jurisdiction extended to the accused's social media use.

She will go on trial at Folkestone Magistrates' Court on January 29 alongside Golding, who faces three similar charges.

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