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Organisation tricks far right demonstrators into wearing diversity T-shirts

The T-shirts explained that St George was of Syrian heritage.

An anti-hate organisation used heat-reactive T-shirts to educate far right demonstrators about the heritage of England’s patron saint on St George’s Day.

Tell MAMA, a group that aims to tackle religious hate crime, handed out 100 T-shirts that champion diversity at a far right demonstration.

In a video, demonstrators who had their identities protected explained what St George’s Day means to them, with one man saying: “St George’s Cross, that means England, born and bred.”

Tell MAMA then handed out heat-reactive T-shirts, which at first appear simply with the St George’s Cross, then bear the phrase: “St George was Syrian #DefendDiversity” when worn.

Iman Atta, director of Tell MAMA, told the Press Association: “It is important to highlight that St George’s Day needs to be taken back from any association with the far right.

“The history of St George means many things to many people and we should not be frightened to take it back from extreme groups and ideologies when they try to co-opt them.”

The group explained that St George had Syrian, Greek, Turkish and Palestinian heritage.

As well as England, St George is also the patron saint of Portugal, Venice, Beirut, Malta, Ethiopia, Georgia, the Palestinian territories, Serbia and Lithuania.

The prank was executed by the organisation at St George’s Day gatherings across London.

Tell MAMA said: “In light of the recent surge in division and hate crime, we wanted to reclaim the St George’s Cross from those who spread division, and celebrate it as a symbol of diversity.

“Migrants have shaped our country, from St George to present day heroes like Mo Farah, Rita Ora, Malala Yousafzai and Dame Zaha Hadid.”

According to a Home Office report, in the years 2017 to 2018 there were 94,098 hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales, an increase of 17% compared with the previous year.

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