Racist thug | Former National Front chief arrested during protest against asylum seekers

Mark Brown (36) was jailed for two months in 2019 for a “vile” racially motivated assault on a taxi driver

A former leader of the National Front in Northern Ireland has been arrested during a protest against asylum seekers in Portrush.

Mark Brown (36) was arrested by police on Sunday after he began to approach a group of counter-protesters.

Protestors held a Union flag during the demonstration alongside a banner displaying the slogans ‘Keep our children safe’ and ‘Close the migrant hotels now’.

A National Front flag was also erected on the fence surrounding a war memorial on Kerr Street during the protest.

The PSNI confirmed Brown had been given a penalty notice for disorder (PND).

“A 36 year old man was arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour during protests in the Kerr Street area of Portrush on Sunday afternoon,” said a spokesperson.

“He was subsequently given a Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND).

“Officers were present in the area to ensure the safety of those participating in protest and counter-protest.”

Earlier this month, this newspaper revealed Brown was behind the protest as well as being the administrator of organising Facebook group ‘North Coast Concerned Collective’.

The group had organised the protest against the use of hotels in the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council area as accommodation for asylum seekers.

It followed comments from newly-elected TUV councillor Allister Kyle voicing concern that the former Magherabuoy House Hotel was to be used under new ownership to provide accommodation for asylum seekers.

“Naturally, nearby residents have many worries and concerns,” he said last month.

“Has the Council signed up to the government funding scheme to facilitate the housing of asylum seekers? If so, what thought was given to the concerns of local residents?”

A number of posts on the group’s page from an account operated by Brown under an assumed name contain racist, misogynistic and transphobic language.

Brown was jailed for two months in 2019 for a “vile” racially motivated assault on a taxi driver in Co Antrim.

A judge said Brown had gone “beyond the criminal pale” during the incident, for which he was handed a two-month prison sentence.

He punched the taxi driver, originally from the Middle East, on the head, got out without paying the £18.40 fare and then chased the man’s car as he tried to phone the police.

A court was told Brown had been convicted of offences against the taxi driver around a decade beforehand.

The victim said he received a call under a different name and at first was not aware who his passenger was. After he was arrested, Brown made remarks including “Muslim c***” and “low-rent Jihadi b******”.

Deputy District Judge Peter Magill said a suspended sentence dating back to 2015 had only expired when Brown committed the latest crime.

He added: “This was a racially aggravated offence. You did admit that you expressed quite abhorrent racist views in respect of this man while denying any assault and making off.

“There is no place in our society for this type of behaviour, no place in this society for racism”.

Sunday World

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