Members of South London Anti-Fascists gathered to protest the presence of UKIP candidate Anne Marie Waters at a hustings at The Good Shepherd church in Hither Green on Thursday evening.
The protest was peaceful with the anti-fascist activists leafleting attendees of the hustings, but there were brief disputes between members of the two camps outside the venue.
Waters is the prospective UKIP candidate for the constituency of Lewisham East after joining the party in May 2014.
In her opening remarks at the hustings, Waters raised questions on women’s rights including issues of rape, FGM and “religious tribunals which openly state domestic violence is the fault of the victim”.
She claimed that these issues were being ignored and that there were “aggressive attempts” to silence people who spoke out against them.
For speaking out, Waters said: “I will be called an ‘Islamophobe’, as though one shouldn’t have the right to criticise a religion. I will be called a ‘fascist’, ironically by people who use intimidation and threats to silence political opposition. I will be called ‘racist’ because, in this Orwellian world, those of us who call for equal rights and protections under the law, now, are ‘racists’.”
Earlier this month The Mirror filmed Waters with fellow UKIP candidate Magnus Nielsen speaking at an event organised by Mothers Against Radical Islam and Sharia (MARIA), which has close ties with the English Defence League, a far-right movement opposing the perceived spread of “Islamism” in the UK.
According to the Institute of Race Relations, Waters founded the organisation Sharia Watch UK and has appeared alongside “prominent European figures involved in the ‘counterjihad’ movement”.
During a speech in Copenhagen last June, she reportedly linked Islam to child abuse, which she described as a “dangerous ideology being appeased”, adding that “it is exactly the same appeasement that is allowing young girls to be raped in Britain. It’s got nothing to do with race, it’s got to do with the fact that we will not confront the misogyny at the very, very heart of this religion”.
South London Anti-Fascists declined to be named individually but provided Eastlondonlines with this statement: “Lewisham East UKIP candidate Anne Marie Waters has strong links to street fascists, in particular her work with prominent English Defence League figure Tommy Robinson in establishing Islamophobic ‘think tank’ Victims of Islamic Cultural Extremism. For this reason, South London Anti-Fascists called a mobilisation at the hustings in Lee on April 30.”