Eleven men were arrested in the UK on Wednesday, September 27 as part of a national investigation into the right-wing extremist terrorist group National Action, police said.
Six men from the north west of England, two from the north east, one from the south, and two from south Wales were detained on terrorism-related charges, a statement from Greater Manchester police said.
All eleven are suspected to be members of National Action, an extreme right wing anti-Semitic, homophobic, white supremacist terrorist group that was proscribed in December 2016. Six are also suspected of preparing acts of terrorism and five are suspected of funding terrorism.
Membership of or inviting support for a proscribed organisation carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Eleven properties in England and Wales are being searched across England and Wales as part of the investigation.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police, who is the Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing said the arrests resulted from two separate investigations and were coordinated across a number of police forces. “Investigations relating to alleged extreme right wing activity are pursued with the same level or resource and vigour as other ideologies, in order to bring suspected offenders before the courts,” Basu said.
In February, a 17-year-old member of National Action from Bradford who made a pipe bomb was sentenced to a three-year youth rehabilitation order and ordered to attend counseling from a deradicalisation expert.
National Action outlawed
When National Action was outlawed in December 2016, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “National Action is a racist, antisemitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology.”
Rudd added that proscription of the group would “protect vulnerable young people at risk of radicalisation from its toxic views.”
In December, Professor Matthew Feldman, the co-director for the Centre for Fascist, Anti-Fascist and Post-Fascist Studies at Teesside University said National Action had a core of between 100 and 200 activists, the BBC reported.
“There’s a growing appreciation that the far-right has not had the same attention that jihadi Islamist groups have had in the last 10 years,” Feldman said, adding that there now is more acceptance that “the extreme right poses a threat.”
In its list of Proscribed Terrorist Organisations, the Home Office says National Action is a virulently racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic neo-Nazi group established in 2013 that has a a number of branches across the UK.
According to the Home Office, National Action rejects democracy and promotes the idea that there will be an inevitable violent ‘race war’ in the UK that the group will be an active part of.
It implicitly endorses violence against ethnic minorities and ‘race traitors’, and its propaganda, which frequently features extremely violent imagery and language, is particularly aimed at young people.
National Action “condones and glorifies those who have used extreme violence for political or ideological ends,” including the murder of Jo Cox MP, and the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in which 49 people were killed.
This amounts to the unlawful glorification of terrorism, the Home Office says.