Anti-racism campaigners demonstrate outside University of Manchester against ‘extremist’ Generation Identity

  • Manchester students hold protest against Generation Identity
  • European far-right group accused of racism and Islamophobia
  • Members have targeted Manchester universities with 'hate' literature
  • Home Office has labelled group as 'extremist' and banned its Austrian leader from entering the UK
  • Additional reporting: Lily Harrison, Sian McGuinness, Sophia Khan, Henry Walker

Anti-racist campaigners have staged a protest against a far right group which has been targeting Manchester universities with ‘hate’ literature.

Generation Identity has been accused of posting inflammatory material including next to a faith room at the University of Salford.

The Europe-wide far right group has been labelled “extremist” by the Home Office which has banned several high ranking member’s from entering the country including leader Martin Sellner.  The Austrian government has also labelled it a criminal organisation due to its extremist views and provocative campaigns.

A Generation Identity poster next to the prayer room at the University of Salford

Students from all three Universities- including Manchester Metropolitan University – staged a demonstration at the University of Manchester organised by Stand Up to Racism Manchester at  which they spoke to students and members of the public.

Deej Malik-Johnson – University of Manchester welfare officer and one of the organisers – told Northern Quota: “It’s very important for the Students Union to stand with students against this kind of racist nonsense.

“Generation Identity are a hateful, neo-facist organisation.

“When they’ve put up their stickers, they’ve put razor blades or broken glass behind, so if people take down their images, they’re at risk of being cut.”

Sellner was banned this year from entering the UK by the Home Office. Officials regard him as “a serious threat to the fundamental interests of society and are likely to incite tensions between local communities in the UK”.

It said in a statement: “When the purpose of someone’s visit to this country is to spread hatred, the Home Office can will stop them entering Britain. This government upholds free speech but will not let it be used to excuse detestable views that directly contravene our values. We take the threat from extremism seriously and we will challenge it wherever we see it.” 

Hiba, a student at the University of Manchester, said the posters and stickers “make me feel scared to express my beliefs”.

A spokesperson for the University of Salford said: “The University of Salford is proud to be a diverse institution, welcoming students and staff from across the world, and these views have no place on our campus. We take a zero tolerance approach to racism and we would urge any students who come across this kind of offensive material on campus to report it immediately to our security staff who work closely with GMP.”

The University of Manchester said it “completely rejects the views expressed by these stickers and posters and the organisations responsible for them.

“As an institution, we are proud of the University’s diverse staff and student body and will continue to promote a message of inclusivity across campus”.

Generation Identity say they wish to reclaim the white European identity, which they state, is being “eroded” by multiculturalism and the “third world migration”. 

Anti-racist organisation HopeNotHate has investigated Generation Identity and said in a report: “Initial offline activity was confined to putting up stickers and posing for pictures with the movement’s black and yellow lambda flag. However, it was clear from the start that the leadership of Generation Identity in Europe had high hopes for the UK branch, seeing it as a wider gateway to the English speaking world.”