Protests expected as controversial Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Wembley
- Credit: PA WIRE
Police will step up security around Wembley stadium on Thursday as protest groups converge on a mass rally to welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UK.
More than 55,000 people are expected to join political and cultural leaders for the ‘UK Welcomes Modi’ reception, set to be the largest reception a foreign head of government has ever received in the UK.
The invitation-only event, named ‘Two Great Nations, One Glorious Future’ will kick off with a specially produced cultural show to honour a landmark visit aimed at forging business links and diplomatic ties worth billions to both countries.
But police and council officers are bracing for a tide of protest from campaigners who accuse the Indian PM and his BJP party of human rights abuses against religious and ethnic minorities in India.
Activist and protestor Sujata Aurora said: “Narendra Modi and his party pursue a very aggressive form of communalist politics in India based on Hindu supremacy and the persecution of minority Muslim and other communities.
“He is regarded by many as an authoritarian leader with links to the RSS party, which is home to openly fascist and violent thugs known to admire Hitler.”
Critics of Mr Modi also claim he is responsible for the deaths of more than 1,000 Muslims and Hindus in violent sectarian riots that broke out in the state of Gujarat while he was Chief Minister in 2002.
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Protest groups have announced they are planning to march on Downing Street for the Indian PM’s meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday and many have warned Police they will mount demonstrations outside Wembley Stadium.
Last week Ms Aurora supported campaign group Avaaz as they projected the slogan ‘Modi not welcome’ onto the Houses of Parliament, alongside an image of Mr Modi with a Nazi swastika flag.
Speaking ahead of concerns about the scale of protests, a spokesman for Metropolitan police said: “An appropriate policing plan is in place. We are in dialogue with various protest groups to facilitate their requests.”
Brent Council Leader Muhammed Butt is expected to join crowds of thousands to welcome the Indian leader on Thursday.
He said: “The council has received a formal application for a safety certificate for an event due to take place at Wembley Stadium on 13 November 2015.
“As is usual for such an event, the council is now working with the FA, event organisers and the police to ensure a safe event.”