- The group barricaded Tory MEP Sajjad Karim’s house, shouting abuse and holding EDL placards with Mr Karim, his wife and their two children still inside
- Before police made it to the scene they continued on a ‘flash demonstrations’ rampage around Lancashire
- Violence later broke out in Brierfield where a 17-year-old Asian man was floored in the street and one man was run over.
By Sara Malm
PUBLISHED: 19:43 GMT, 26 June 2012 | UPDATED: 09:24 GMT, 27 June 2012
A ‘commander’ in the English Defence League who led a mob of 40 people to barricade the home of Conservative MEP Sajjad Karim has been jailed for 18 months.
Bernard Holmes, 28, was arrested after members of far right group converged on the property of Mr Karim whilst his wife and two young children were at home.
Claiming they wanted to deliver a letter, invaded the politician’s driveway and were said to have behaving in an ‘intimidating, threatening manner’ and shouting abuse whilst holding up placards from the EDL.
Police were called to the house in Burnley but were too late as the mob had already moved on to carry out a string of ‘flash demonstrations’ in Blackburn and nearby towns led by Holmes.
This is not the first time Mr Karim has experienced harassment from far-right groups like the EDL: In 2010, Mr Karim said he was forced to hire a private security firm for round the clock protection due to threats.
Mr Karim, MEP for North West, said he believed he was targeted for religious reasons because the EDL have an ‘anti-Islamic agenda’.
Mr Holmes, who goes under the nickname ‘Mr B’ is the EDL Blackburn division’s ‘commander’ and led the operation on July 2 last year.
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Holmes, from Blackburn pleaded guilty to racially aggravated public order offences and was also given a five year CRASBO on top of his 18 month prison sentence at Preston Crown Court today.
The court heard how the group gathered outside 41-year old Mr Karim’s house at lunchtime in July last year to stage an anti-Islamic protest allegedly regarding EU proposals on the labelling of Halal meat.
[Oddly, the EU proposal I have found would be a giant leap forward from what we all suffer from today]