8:10am Wednesday 5th June 2013
By Michael Benke
ONLINE activists are trying to organise a march through the town to protest against terrorism and oppression.
Swindon Strong is planning the event, which is due to take place on June 23, through their Facebook group.
The organisers are hoping the march will run alongside more than 30 others taking place around the country, as part of the Strong Woolwich movement.
The march is expected to start at the Orbital Shopping Centre car park and finish in Shaw Forest Park.
While organisers claim they have made a formal approach to go ahead with the march, Wilt-shire Police say they have not received a request.
A police spokesman said: “With regard to the planned march in Swindon on June 23, we can confirm that we have not been approached by anyone asking for permission to hold a public march or rally.
“We have been made aware of the proposals through social media sites but have not been approached through the appropriate channels.”
The Swindon Strong Facebook page has many messages calling people to stand up to terrorists.
The “Strong” movement has emerged following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby last month. It hopes to organise a number of marches across the country on the same day and time.
It has been organised by Joshua Bonehill, a former Tory candidate for South Somerset District Council.
“The march is about standing up to terrorism, oppression and extremism. It is for people of all ethnicities and religions to protest peacefully. We are completely against violence,” he said.
Another aim of the march is to raise money for military charities through the sale of specially designed T-shirts. However, many of these charities have said they will not accept money from political organisations, although they have not ruled out accepting money from Strong Woolwich.
Joshua, 20, of Yeovil, denies Swindon Strong, or any of the other marches have political links.
“I absolutely deny that we have any political affiliation whatsoever. All our members have full background checks. We are not a political organisation,” he said.
One of the charities they are planning on donating to is Help The Heroes.
A spokesman for the charity said: “The cornerstone of our philosophy has been our non-political, non-critical stance.
“Any group who might exploit our cause for political effect will not be welcomed, regardless of whether the exploitation is deliberate, or based on good intentions. We support the wounded and their loved ones; their cause is our one and only cause.”
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