Anti-Fascist Action Ireland (AFA Ireland), the main anti-fascist movement in Ireland, have described the AntiFa Ireland Facebook page “a fake page set up to try to confuse people” and have released a statement on their Facebook page.
This follows the AntiFa Ireland page organising a demonstration earlier this week in response to Nigel Farage’s visit to the College Historical Society (Hist) on Friday, February 2 at the incorrect time.
In a Facebook post, AFA Ireland stated: “A page pretending to be an Irish Anti-Fascist group has been promoting a protest this week at Trinity College.”
They further state that the page has “now linked itself with a fake Twitter account which we know is run by far right trolls.” This is in reference to a post in which the page advertised its purported Twitter page. This is a fake Twitter account imitating AFA Ireland.
The Twitter account in question recently advertised free anti-fascist stickers and told its followers to “DM for details”. This was followed by a clarification from the official AFA Ireland Facebook page. Their post stated: “We are not giving out free stickers on Twitter. That is a fake account set up to try and get addresses of antifascists. Do not engage with it, block it and report it.” The AntiFa Ireland page claims that they “didn’t know that wasn’t their Twitter”.
Shortly after the Hist began promoting the event online earlier this week, AntiFa Ireland created a Facebook event calling on people to picket outside the GMB. It states: “Mr. Farage is expected to arrive at the college GMB at 6pm, our picket is scheduled to coincide with his arrival.”
The page also advises “comrade AntiFascists to gather half an hour beforehand at 5:30pm to rehearse chanting”. The Hist’s event with Farage is scheduled to start at 3pm and end at 5pm.
AntiFa Ireland shared their event to the pages of left-wing groups such as the Socialist Party of Ireland, calling on Trinity students to “lend a hand”.
AntiFa Ireland also posted an edited screenshot of the Hist’s event page, stating that the event will begin at 6pm.
Speaking to Trinity News, AntiFa Ireland described itself as “an independent cell of the Anti-Fascist movement”. They said they learned that Farage was due to arrive in Trinity at 6pm from “an insider”.
When asked why they posted what appeared to be an edited screenshot of the Hist’s event photo with the incorrect time of 6pm, they commented: “We trust our source. But we will investigate.”
The AntiFa Ireland page’s most recent and only posts prior to the Farage protest were changes to the profile and cover photos. It has just over 20 likes.
Speaking to Trinity News, AFA Ireland, which organised protests such as the counter-demonstration against PEGIDA Ireland in Dublin in February 2016, said: “While we support people opposing Nigel Farage speaking we would recommend people ignore this event page and the page behind it.”
They further stated: “We cannot confirm the intentions of this page but given that they have failed to contact our group, taken graphics used by our group and shared things from pages we know to be run by far right trolls they are either incredibly naive or trolls also.”
AFA Ireland further commented on the trend of fake accounts purporting to be anti-fascist groups. “In recent years, especially since the rise of the alt right fascists in the US there has been a rash of attempts by the far right to create fake accounts pretending to be anti-fascists.
This is done in order to gather information, spread misinformation or promote ideas at odds with anti-fascism in order to damage our organisations.”
AntiFa Ireland have not yet responded to AFA Ireland’s statements.
At the time of publication, the College Historical Society have yet to respond for comment.
News outlets, such as Joe.ie, as well as political groups such as Trinity Labour and other online commentators originally promoted the event. Trinity Labour has since begun organising a separate protest at the correct time.
Additional reporting by Niamh Lynch