UK: Protesters call for deportation of Rochdale grooming gang members in London

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Dozens of right-wing speakers and demonstrators demanded the deportation of members of a gang who ran a child sexual exploitation ring in Rochdale, at a protest in London’s Parliament Square on Saturday.

The protesters, who rallied near the square’s statue of Winston Churchill, were aiming to raise awareness of child grooming gangs whilst demanding the government honour its promise to deport the men.

The men, sometimes dubbed the ‘Rochdale Three’ are Abdul Rauf, Abdul Aziz and Adil Khan. The three dual British-Pakistani nationals were all convicted of multiple offences relating to the sexual abuse of young girls in Rochdale. All three men were sentenced to various jail terms and stripped of their British nationality in 2015 by former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who was home secretary at the time.

Demonstrators stressed the fact that since serving their sentences, and losing court challenges to keep their British citizenship, the three are still living in the UK.

The gang’s ringleader, Shabir Ahmed, has also been stripped of his British citizenship, in advance of deportation proceedings, and continues to serve a 22 year jail sentence.

One speaker at the protest also touched on the recent discussion over the removal of Churchill’s statue, after other statues were removed during Black Lives Matter protests around the UK and worldwide.

“Winston Churchill is the greatest Englishman that ever lived. And the Marxists and the leftists and the antifa scum want to take his statue down and I say this and speak for me and I know I speak for all of you. Over my dead body. His statue is not coming down,” said Veterans Against Terrorism leader Richard Inman.

Demonstrators were heard chanting for far-right activist Tommy Robinson who appeared via livestream from his new home in Marbella, Spain.

Other far-right and right-wing groups such as the ‘For Britain Movement’ and the UK Independence party were represented with banners, flags and speakers throughout the event.

A smaller counter-protest took place next to the demonstration. “What they are saying is very racist, very racist and they are inciting racial hatred,” shouted a counter-protester.

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