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Woolwich tribute page attracts EDL controversy

Posted on Friday, 24 May by

RIP Woolwich Soldier

The owner of a Facebook page which was founded in the memory of Lee Rigby, the soldier killed in Woolwich earlier this week, has defended themselves after a reporter from the Daily Telegraph presented evidence that the page may be linked to the fascist English Defence League (EDL).

‘RIP Woolwich Soldier’ was set up in the aftermath of Wednesday afternoon’s attack and has thus far attracted over 1.4m likes. The owner of the page, unidentified at this stage, has linked it to a JustGiving account, which is looking to raise money for Help For Heroes. As it stands, donations from ‘likers’ have totalled £66,000.

However, Telegraph blogger Jake Wallis Simmons has identified a handful of factors that give strong evidence the page being linked with, or owned by, the EDL, a far-right pressure group looking to eradicate muslim culture from the UK. Simmons says that the page’s imagery matches that of the EDL, while their first post, arguing for the UK to stand against “those who want to destroy us” seems to resonate “with your average typical EDL call to arms, both in tone and in substance.”

RIP Woolwich Soldier Tweets

Most significantly, the article mentions that “the first organisation that the ‘RIP Woolwich Soldier’ page ‘liked’ was the official page of the English Defence League.” Should the tribute page be a “covert” EDL page as Simmons suggests, more than 1.4m people have made their names available to an EDL member and opened their account to their messages.

RIP Woolwich Soldier Facebook Page Screenshot

Since the Telegraph column was published online last night, the page owner has unliked the official EDL page, while ‘likers’ of ‘RIP Woolwich Solder’ have defended their actions and proclaimed the page’s political independence.

The page owner has also posted: “Trying to simply wish someone RIP and raise money for charity has led to being accused of being affiliated to far right groups. We liked many pages to get this page in front of the masses. Unfortunately one of these pages has been singled out to try and taint our purpose.”

Most recently, administrators have altered the page’s bio section to reject the notion of having any political affiliation.

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Corey Pellatt
22-year-old editor of SQ Magazine and Media Studies student at the University of Sussex. Freelance writer for clients including BHAFC.

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