Thetford has a troubled past, of violent antipathy to immigrants, casual xenophobia, and more recently, angry protests against its town council caused by wild conspiracy theories of being taken over by a ‘New World Order’, put about by a local group called the Thomas Paine Independents. One of their number has just been elected to the town council.
Last Saturday, 15-year-old Salvador Modke, son of a Portuguese family, was knocked over at a pedestrian crossing in the town centre. Ambulances and air ambulance attended the scene, but sadly, he was pronounced dead shortly after.
Salvador’s family came from Portugal and they lived in Thetford. He was a pupil at St Benedict’s Catholic School in Bury St Edmunds, and is described as having been a popular, funny, bright young man who was loved by his peers and teachers.
Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone that saw a white Hyundai Ioniq leaving the scene.
“Natural selection at its finest…”
However, immediately following the death, an entry appeared in the local Thetford Community Forum declaring that Salvador had a “Nice English name”, and went on to add:
“He should of looked left or right or at least used the crossing up the road, I have no sympathy it’s natural selection at it’s finest. Let’s hope the parents clear off back to their own country now”
There has been an outpouring of outrage both on Facebook and Twitter in response. But this kind of racial tension in the town is hardly new. Thetford is a small Norfolk town, with a high percentage of residents from Portugal and eastern Europe. It’s been described as one of the most deprived towns in England. Its council is Labour run, but the town has a long connection with UKIP.
Did Brexit influence these opinions?
In 2004, ten men were jailed for their part in an attack on a pub after England were knocked out of Euro 2004 by Portugal. Reportedly, 200 people were chanting “England” while smashing windows and shouting abuse at the Portuguese families inside the pub.
More recently it seems to have become more acceptable to air these opinions publicly. There are suggestions that Brexit has played a part, but the troubles started before 2016.
East Anglia Bylines recently reported on the Thomas Paine Independents (TPI), a group of residents who stood 13 candidates at the 2023 local elections. One of them, Kris Brooks, was elected. Their main aim appeared to be opposing the ’20-minute neighbourhood’ project which was the cause of an invasion of a town council meeting by 200 enraged residents.
The man who took a gallows to London for Sadiq Khan
Research by East Anglia Bylines has also revealed a recent meeting between TPI and the leader of the English Constitution Party, a far-right group. Its leader is Graham Moore, who is known for taking a gallows to London with the far right group, White Pendragons, to attempt a citizens’ arrest on the first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Moore is an outspoken Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist, who refers to Islam as a cult and calls for the religion to be banned. In the interview, Moore can be seen rubbing his hands together gleefully as he asks the elected member of TPI about winning his seat on the council.
Links to refugee protests
TPI members also have links to the organiser of the stop the boats protests at Ipswich Novotel, who as previously reported by East Anglia Bylines, was arrested for inciting racial hatred. He is currently on bail and awaiting his court date. The two factions can be seen on social media, previously protesting against ‘15-minute cities’ together.
During the past few weeks, TPI have posted extreme ideas about an “orchestrated migrant invasion”, that migrants are part of an “elite manipulation”, getting “ready for lockdown”, and that there will be a time when “the flag goes up for them to attack”.
All of this has echoes of the great replacement conspiracy theory, which claims that native English will be controlled and outnumbered by non-white immigrants. It is rooted in French colonialism and antisemitism. It claims a global elite is using ‘Agenda 2030’, 15-minute cities and genocidal vaccinations to push for perpetual lockdowns and the enslavement of humanity.
Back to Thetford
The Thetford TPI have been questioned publicly but have refused to answer any questions.
The comments on the ‘Thetford Forum’ were swiftly deleted, but they have been reported to the police and it is known they are investigating further. The local primary school has also forwarded the information to their safeguarding team. East Anglia Bylines has approached the person who posted the original social media comments but has yet to receive a reply.
Witnesses to the incident or anybody with other information should contact Norfolk Police on 101, or email [email protected] and ask to speak to the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, quoting incident reference 132 of 13 May.
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