Quote of the day – “Well who thought it was a good idea to organise these two demonstrations on the same day? Surely it was obvious there would be problems” – random Brighton theatre-goer/by-stander
Yesterday’s counter-protest against the March for England exceeded all expectations. Although the fascists did march they did so inside a mobile police kettle continuously surrounded and occasionally bombarded by counter-protestors. Their march route was cut short and for once the chant “Police protect the fascists” was 100% accurate.
Last year the police successfully kettled most of the anti-fascists, allowing the MfE free rein through the city. They took full advantage of the opportunity to hand out racist abuse and attack alternative looking types. Brighton anti-fascists were determined to avoid a repeat.
Aware that the cops plan was to push the march straight down the road from the railway station to the sea front, the anti-crowd was encouraged to spread themselves thinly along the route. This prevented a pre-emptive kettle.
The MfE were due to start their procession at midday, but due to the geography of the area no-one in the counter-demo had a direct view of their meet-up point at the station. A strange High-Noon quiet settled over the town centre as the counter-protest shuffled and waited, watching police movements for a clue as to what might happen. Numbers gradually built up, serenaded by the bizarrely soothing tones of dub from a punk- soundsytem.
For a while it looked as if the cops were going to throw the towel in and refuse to allow the MfE out of the station. At half-twelve jogging lines of cops and the arrival of horses let everyone know that the fash were on the move.
One eyewitness at the station told SchNEWS “From where they were mustered, they could only see a tiny part of the counter-demo, mainly the UAF contingent. They were very cocky. As soon as they turned the corner and saw the opposition their faces fell”. By this point there were around 500 anti-fascists on the streets.
The nationalists had only mustered around 100, a third of what they had predicted. Yesterday SchNEWS reported that “there was little if any English Defence League insignia actually on display”. Since then we’ve been told that EDL banners and an Essex Infidels flag were unfurled at the station. In reality this was a moot point as the main body of march consisted of known EDL faces, including virtually all of Brighton and Portsmouth EDL with the addition of various unsavoury characters such as Jeff Marsh of Casuals United. Despite the presence of a few token women and kids the march was overwhelmingly male, bald and fat.
It didn’t take long after the march set off before the first few antis were in the road behind a banner. From then on the march became a rugby scrum as the cops used horses, truncheons and pepper spray to force the MfE through. Every time the cops broke through an anti-fascist line, another would form ten or twenty metres down the road.
BATTLE OF CHURCH ST
The pressure only intensified as the police decided to abandon the planned high-profile route and try to smuggle the nationalists down the back-streets. Anti-fascists got ahead of the game and running around the side got in front of the march on Church St to build barricades. Fascists and police came under attack with bottles. It was at this point that some-one set a bin on fire, irritating everyone, right and left, with the acrid smoke.
What was totally remarkable was the level of solidarity for the counter-demo by folk from all walks of life in Brighton. There was no support for the MfE. Pensioners and kids shouted abuse at the fash. The UAF stood shoulder to shoulder with Antifa punks.
Eventually the MfE, numbering around a hundred ended up in their pre-prepared pen, – unfortunately for them so did almost the entire counter-demo. They then had to put up with two hours of being jeered at by the surrounding mob before cops rushed them back to the station to be dispersed.
Their march was dogged every step of the way but as they were leaving the crowd was happy to let the cops rush them along. Anti fascists went on to enjoy a pint in the sunshine.
Despite the usual online japery the few EDL who tried to make a stand outside the cordon were quickly seen off. Joel Titus, self proclaimed leader of the EDLs youth wing was spotted skulking with a crew of half-wits in the Marlborough pub, one of the few bars that would serve them on the day. A handful of anti-fascists were able to send them packing. Virtually no other pubs would serve the MfE and they failed to maintain a presence in town after they were dispersed.
Is this the end of the March for England in Brighton? Watch this space!
Final word to Brighton Anti-fascists “Brighton showed the racists today that their brand of hatred isn’t welcome in our city. Brighton has always historically seen off the fascists, in the the thirties , the seventies and now today. Big thanks to all who turned out! – Up the punks!”
As far as SchNEWS knows no-one on our team got nicked- If you were arrested and require support then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Five men believed to be linked to the far-right English Defence League have been arrested on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred.
Police said that officers working with the North East Counter Terrorism Unit swooped to arrest the men, who are members of the North West Infidels – a splinter group of the EDL. The arrests are in connection to a series of alleged racist comments posted on social networking sites, including Facebook.
After news of the arrests spread, rumours surfaced online suggesting that John “Snowy” Shaw, who is thought to be the leader of the group and live in Knaresborough in North Yorkshire, was among those arrested as part of the operation. Police, however, denied he was one of the five detained today.
Officers confirmed that a 43-year-old man from Northumbria; a 46-year-old man from County Durham and an 18-year-old man from Merseyside were arrested, along with a 21-year-old man from Barnsley and a 56-year-old man from north London. All five were taken to local police stations to be interviewed.
A spokesman for the North East Counter Terrorism Unit added that searches are being carried out at the men’s addresses, together with a further probe at an address in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire and one in Leeds.
A WORCESTER City Football Club player who likened killing illegal immigrants to a popular video game will now appear in a criminal court in a U-turn decision by prosecutors and police.
City midfielder Lee Smith, aged 28, will appear at Gloucester Magistrates Court on Friday, May 18, charged with writing racially aggravated words likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to the public say police.
It leaves the player’s future at St George’s Lane in doubt, with his contract up at the end of the season.
Smith has always denied any wrong-doing since posting the comments on Armistice Day last year, and apologised for any offence given at the time as we reported.
He made the comments on his now deleted Twitter social media account sparking an online row, with some branding him a racist – a claim he denied.
On November 11, he posted: “Respect to all the heroes 11/11/11 now to all the illegal *****, **** off out of are country all call of duty could become a reality – kill um.”
Smith later said he had “not meant to offend anyone”.
At the time, police gave Smith a stern talking to but said there would be “no further action against him”.
It has since emerged over the weekend that Gloucestershire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have decided to issue Smith a summons to court over his comments following what the police force had said was “a joint review of the circumstances of the case”. When asked what had prompted the review, a spokeswoman for the force said “where a decision has been made for no further action [to be taken] that decision can then be reviewed. That is why he was issued a court summons, rather than being charged,” she said.
Asked if the review had taken place because of pressure from the public, the force spokeswoman said it was not the case.
“We weren’t getting calls about it – the review was carried out jointly by police and the CPS.”
Colin Layland, city’s vice-chairman, said the club had only become aware Smith had been summonsed to court at the weekend.
He said Smith’s contract ran until the end of the season and “any decisions on the football side will be taken by the manager”.
Carl Heeley, club manager, said “everything had already been said” on the matter and declined to comment further.
Aspirations of a unified pan-European Defence League collapsed and died on Saturday in the Danish city of Aarhus, as a rather meagre selection of euro-nationalists were sent running by anti-fascist rioters. This was the English Defence League’s second attempt at a European counter-jihad knees up. The first one ended with them getting a spanking in Amsterdam by Ajax fans and local antifa, and this meeting went pretty much the same way.
Despite the organisers’ hopes that thousands of participators would show up at the Defence League rally (dubbed the “Counter Jihad Meeting”) this Saturday, even optimistic numbers estimate that, at most, 200 were present. Meanwhile, nearby, up to 4,000 anti-fascists held a rally condemning the meeting and vowing to disrupt it at all costs.
What kept the nationalists away? Well, there were rumours going round that the head of the Danish chapter had tried to enlist local nazis, and since the Defence Leaguers are not that big on nazi comparisons and drape themselves in Israeli flags every chance they get, that was a sizable spanner in the works. Subsequently quite a few international speakers cancelled. Even early on, the signs indicated that this would be a pretty lame hate party.
In a last ditch effort to amass a decent turnout, the Danish Defence League announced that Freja Lindgren would be spearheading the rally. Here is a picture from her Facebook profile:
OK, so Danish fascist babes might not be quite as alluring as British fascist babes, but Imma declare a fatwa on any pure-blooded male who can look at this without getting sweaty in his pants.
Here is another photo of Freja taken – from the front – during her opening speech:
Photo: Magnus Holm/Politiken
Depressingly, on the evidence of her patter, racists sound the same wherever they are in the world. (I’d hoped at least for a little regional variation, but there was absolutely no sign that free thought had played a part at any point in the writing of this speech.) Freja moaned a lot about benefits and “Islaminism”, and cast the Defence Leaguers in the role of “freedom fighters” and “patriots”, without ever coming close to defining what that freedom might be or entail. If you have a hankering to hear the speech in its entirety, go here.
Photo: Anthon Unger/Ekstra Bladet
While the Defence League meeting was unfolding, left-wing and immigrant rioters attempted to cross police barriers to square off with the right-wingers. This prompted the police to prematurely shut down the rally and escort the Defence Leaguers to safety.
Photo: Claus Bonnerup/Ekstra Bladet
photo: Claus Bonnerup/Ekstra Bladet
They mainly ended up fighting it out with the cops until the Defence Leaguers received a police escort out of the city. Here’s a video shot from inside the Defence League bus. The language is mainly Danish, some English and a little German. Watch till at least 2:36.
Humiliated and dejected, the respective Defence Leagues made their way home, but for the EDL and their leader Tommy Robinson, the humiliation didn’t end there. The next day Robinson was booked in for an appearance on the Sunday morning BBC debate show The Big Questions. Sporting a comb-over and suit jacket, Tommy looked well out of his depth and frequently stuttered. Highlights included him admitting to assaulting one of his own members, frequently confusing extremist Islamists with Muslims in general and mis-quoting EDL “Legend” Winston Churchill. Watch the depressing hilarity in full here:
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