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On Saturday 22nd March the far-right protest group, English Defence League, are planning to hold a ‘national demonstration’ in Worcester.
They have randomly chosen the city to be the next host of their vile politics of racism and bigotry, only seeking to further divide communities in a time of brutal austerity measures by the Tories and their economic class.
We are calling for as many people as possible to come out and let them know that their politics of hatred and division are not welcome!
Keep the date in your diary, check back on this site for details and updates.
“The EDL kicked off their year with a poorly attended short walk from Slough train station to the High Street and back again, on Saturday. They had very visible and vocal opposition all the way as locals and antifascists let them know that they were not welcome and attempted to block their march route.
The Worcester & Bromsgrove EDL divisions were spotted arriving in Slough in a coach hired from the Bromsgrove Bus & Coach Co. These divisions are to host the next EDL ‘national demo’ which is due to be held in Worcester on 22nd March 2014. Antifascists are organising to oppose them.
For anybody wanting to ask this company why they are happy to take a bunch of far-right racists to another town to attempt to stir up division and racial tension, you can contact them in the following ways:-
Bromsgrove Bus & Coach Co.
7 Sherwood Rd
Pics to follow…
Today’s protests against the EDL in Slough were a pretty good start to 2014. Slough showed loud and clear that no one at all in the town had any sympathy with the EDL. The universal message was “you’re not wanted – go home”
The down-on-their-luck EDL only managed less than 200 for a ‘national’ demo following large numbers of splits, defections and internal arguments. This is looking like the ‘new normal’ for them – the die-hards who haven’t figured out yet the EDL is dying on its feet.
The EDL were worried about numbers for Slough and it looks like they were right to be worried…
And here we see for ourselves…
The anti-fascist presence from AFN, UAF and others numbered about 200+ mixed in with a feisty crowd of local Slough folks who didn’t take to kindly to a racist march down the High Street on a Saturday afternoon.
Anti-fascists mixing freely with up-for-it locals was one of the best features of the day – made a few new friends on the streets. Slough kids don’t like the cops much either!
The EDL were harassed all the way from the train station into town and all the way back with a barrage of abuse from locals. They took the expected route from the train station to the town centre rally on the High Street and then back again the same way. But as they turned the corner onto the High Street anti-fascists surged forward to try and block the road.
The police had to fight and shove their way all along the High Street including using batons and horse charges against anti-fascists to get the EDL to their rally, facing some determined resistance from anti-fascists trying to block the route of the march.
So although the march did take place, by the EDL were corralled by the police at all times, marched in and then shipped straight back out again. This is due to the actions of anti-fascists – when there is a determined opposition the police are more likely to make the decision to bus the EDL straight out. When there is only limited opposition, as we have seen many times before, the EDL are often free to roam the city in groups and to mob up and go off drinking in groups after the demo – this is when the most trouble occurs as boozed-up gangs of EDL pick on locals or anyone they don’t like the look of. The more people there are up for making a determined show of resistance to the fascists, the safer everyone is.
For their part anti-fascists stayed mobile and were not kettled or constrained by the police.
The police reported 4 arrests in total. We know of 3 anti-fascists arrested and one anti-fascist with a head injury from a bottle chucked by the EDL, who is now OK, been patched up and on their way home.
If you have any information or witnessed any anti-fascist arrests or police violence contact GBC Legal.
And please be careful with what footage/pictures you post online. Don’t give the police evidence to prosecute anti-fascists with.
The EDL’s next outing is Worcester on March 22nd. Stick the date in your diary and watch this space!
From Anti-Fascist Network
Hungarian far-right group Jobbik were chased across London by anti-fascists on Sunday as their leader Gábor Vona visited the UK to try and drum up votes from ex-pat Hungarians living in London ahead of elections. Despite calls from MEPs and other politicians to ban Vona’s entry in to the UK and a 14,000 signature petition sent to the Home Secretary by Hope not Hate, Theresa May was strangely relaxed about this particular immigrant and Vona was not denied entry. Thus it was left to anti-fascists on the streets to oppose the arrival of “the most successful fascist in Europe”.
Jobbik is the most openly anti-Semitic party in Europe and is the third largest party in the country. Their rally was scheduled for the evening before Holocaust Memorial Day, which one imagines was probably not a coincidence, given that they have previously protested against the World Jewish Congress being held in Budapest.
There are an estimated 50,000 Hungarians living in London. Jobbik hoped these ex-pats would come to the rally, instead they found them protesting against them: “I’m a Hungarian Jew: you murdered my family”, one man shouted at them, as the police dragged him away. The mere 60-70 fascist Jobbik supporters gathered at Holborn shows that their support does not go as deep as they would like to believe.
Holborn tube was being used as a re-direction point by the far-right group but they were trapped inside the tube station and prevented from leaving by the crowd of about 150 anti-fascists, including members of the Anti-Fascist Network, Unite Against Fascism and Brixton Black Revolutionary Socialists, who then chased them back and forth across the city.
According to Gábor Vona himself: “The venue that the organizers booked cancelled the contract half an hour before the beginning of the event”. Three venues cancelled bookings for the far-right group under pressure from anti-fascists and the large amount of negative publicity Vona’s visit generated.
Under police protection the Jobbik supporters scuttled down into the tube. While Unite Against Fascism activists decamped for refreshments, autonomous anti-fascists chased the fascists to their destination at Marble Arch. Unable to find another venue, the fascists had ultimately been forced to congregate in the rain in Hyde Park. The bedraggled mob of about sixty or seventy people and a couple of Hungarian flags was a far cry from the triumphal rally predicted. There was no sign of any British or other fascist support, despite some online bravado before the event.
In advance of Vona’s arrival in London there were rumours that he was here to meet with representatives of the BNP and the Greek Golden Dawn to talk about building a Euro-fascist alliance for the European elections in May.
According to Brixton Black Revolutionary Socialists: “organisers of Jobbik and Golden Dawn were known to have been attempting to have the meeting in central London during the rally” and “Antifascists intercepted 15 Jobbik organisers who pulled knives and screwdrivers… they were forced to flee by local youth and antifascists.”
Well done to all who attended and showed Europe’s some of Europe’s most dangerous fascists that they will be opposed wherever they raise their heads.
from Anti-Fascist Network
A international campaign of solidarity from anti-fascists has been in action to raise awareness of the detention of Joel Almgren, a Swedish anti-fascist who has been remanded in custody since mid-December, when he helped to defend an anti-racist demonstration from attack by armed neo-Nazis.
A report from RevFront, a Swedish hard-left and anti-fascist group involved in the clash, said this about the events on December 15th:
“From within the Swedish Nazi-movement Svenska Motståndsrörelsen (SMR) are concidered the hardest and most violent. They thrive on their self made myth that they are the hardest aryan supermen the north has ever seen. Yesterday this myth was busted once again. Armed to the teeth, with knifes, shields and pyrotechnics 30 nazis attacked a peaceful demonstration filled with elderly and children. Unfortunately for them, we and our comrades from AFA Sthlm were there. After their initial progress throwing everything they had at us we pushed them back together with the local people from the area. Bleeding they ran, leaving their comrades behind to be treated the way we treat nazis. The end result was clear, 28 arrested nazis, 1 stabbed, several bleading – no arrested socialists.
Joel was arrested after defending a peaceful local community anti-racist demonstration from a brutal attack by neo-Nazis on 15th December in the Stockholm suburb of Kärrtorp. Locals of all sorts, including parents with their children, elderly people and youth, gathered in their neighbourhood to show strength against a Nazi organisation that had been attacking local anti-racists and spreading Nazi propaganda in schools in the area. They gathered in a peaceful protest when they were attacked by the most militant Nazi group in Sweden with knives, sticks and glass bottles. People from the demonstration defended themselves against the Nazis and some were injured themselves.
A week later, on the 22nd of December, the largest manifestation in modern history in Sweden against racism and Nazism took place in the same area. Around 20,000 people gathered with a clear message: Nazis are not welcome in our society!
For more information and updates on Joel’s case and to view solidarity actions from around the world, go to Free Joel.
Looking like the state may be turning on its very own bootboys - The English Defence League.
From the Birmingham Mail (Jan 19).
“Smoke bombs, cobble stones, bottles and coins were hurled at police as the EDL and their opponents descended on Birmingham city centre for simultaneous demonstrations
Police are to make a fresh appeal to identify up to 100 demonstrators involved in bloody clashes at an English Defence League march last year.
Smoke bombs, cobble stones, bottles and coins were hurled at police as the English Defence League and their opponents descended on Birmingham city centre for simultaneous demonstrations.
An estimated 2,000 EDL supporters poured into Centenary Square last July, chanting hate-filled anti-Islam slogans.
More than 1,300 officers from 12 forces were drafted in for a £1 million pound operation designed to guarantee public safety. It was West Midlands Police’s most expensive ever policing bill.
Set against the backdrop of soldier Lee Rigby’s murder, and three bomb attacks on Midland mosques, the demos were held at a time of heightened tensions.
Around 20 arrests were made at the time with 16 further suspects from across the country being detained and bailed since the incident.
But police have spent the last six months scouring CCTV footage of the rally and say it has given them access “to a wealth of exceptional quality footage” likely to provide “significant investigative opportunities to bring a large number of offenders to justice”.
It is understood that officers have managed to collate images of up to 100 suspects and an appeal will be made to identify them on BBC’s Crimewatch programme on Wednesday.
A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “A team of detectives continue to investigate disorder which broke out at Birmingham’s EDL demonstration in July 2013, and to date 16 people have been arrested post incident.
“Those detained have been arrested from across the country – from Newcastle to Exeter – and they remain on police bail pending further enquiries.
“Efforts continue to identify others involved in the violence in Centenary Square and a fresh appeal will be made on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme January 22.”
Last night online EDL chat forums were buzzing with activity as members discussed impending arrests and the upcoming Crimewatch appeal.
A spokesman for fascist monitoring site EDL News said: “Some EDL who were there have gone on social media sites, saying they are planning to hand themselves in to the police in an effort to pre-empt ‘a knock on the door by Old Bill’.
“It’s really got them worried, especially after 30 or so EDL members were sentenced recently for violence at their Walsall demonstration.”
The EDL and its splinter groups have held five demonstrations in Birmingham. The first two, in 2009 and 2010, resulted in serious disorder while others in 2011 and last January passed peacefully.
But the July 20 demo last year marked a return to violence.
In a move criticised by some, EDL supporters had gathered from late morning at Broad Street’s Bar Risa as agreed beforehand with the police, who were keen to keep them in one place before the official rally.
Anti-Islam chants were soon echoing as attendees queued at the bar for their pre-demo drinks. Outside, flags of St George boasting EDL divisions from as far afield as Grimsby were unfurled as members chanted “England Til I Die”.
As the crowd gathered, more police riot vans lined up along the street, forming a barricade between the demonstrators on one side and onlookers on the other. At one point about 20 climbed on top of a small fast food van, prompting fears that the roof would collapse under their weight.
Eventually, the EDL were escorted by a heavy police presence down Broad Street, at which point the first of a series of scuffles took place.
Opponents to the group became more vocal as they marched, yelling “Scum!” and “Not in my name!”
Progressing towards Centenary Square, where the main demonstration with speeches took place, EDL leader Tommy Robinson, flanked by watchers, was quickly ushered to the staging area.
But even as the speeches began, many of the EDL supporters clashed with police.
One group clambered on top of a bus shelter while fellow EDL members held up the roof to stop its collapse. Others attacked the construction fence around the new Library Of Birmingham, only to find riot police waiting on the other side as they broke through.
And as speeches from Robinson and others, speaking out against Islam, continued, flashpoints erupted from one end of Centenary Square to another.
One EDL member said: “These are our streets we can be here if we want. It’s nothing to do with the police – they shouldn’t be here.”
In the shadow of the ICC and Symphony Hall red smoke bombs were hurled at riot gear-clad police while fences surrounding the REP Theatre were also attacked. On the other side of the square plastic bottles, gravel and coins were thrown at a line of police.
While cheers rang out every time a missile found its mark, one man pulled up a cobble stone, smashed it in two, before covering his face and hurling it at the line of police. During the disturbances some suffered head injuries and were seen wandering around with bleeding wounds.
One appeared to be hurt when fencing around the library was pulled down on top of him.
Robinson told the gathered crowd that the EDL wanted CCTV cameras returned to Washwood Heath and Sparkbrook. Around 200 cameras – costing £3 million – were removed in 2011 after an outcry from local communities concerned about civil liberties.
Robinson also said the jailing of six Birmingham men, who planned to attack an EDL rally in Dewsbury, was behind the protest.
As the EDL were gradually ushered to waiting coaches along Broad Street, some broke through lines at Regency Wharf.
A window at the Blue Mango Indian Restaurant was smashed as a small group ran along the canal towpath and plant pots were strewn around. But with coaches waiting and the afternoon heat taking its toll, the earlier anger of the group faded as they waited to be released by police.
Broad Street re-opened at about 6pm and council clean-up crews arrived to tidy litter and debris before the crowds of regular Saturday night revellers arrived.
As the clean-up continued West Midlands Police Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe hailed the operation a success.
“A great deal of time, effort and thought has gone into today’s events and it is reassuring to see that both demonstrations have largely passed off without serious incident,” she said.
“We are aware of some instances of criminal damage and a number of assaults have been reported, which will be the subject of our ongoing inquiries as we move forward from today’s operation.
“Most people who came to Birmingham to go about their daily business in the shopping areas would have done so without having been greatly affected by the protests, which is pleasing.
“Arrests were made where necessary and further inquiries will be made to determine if any other offences were committed.
“That said, this has been a successful operation, due in no small part to the excellent work between police, our partner agencies and representatives of our communities. She added: “We recognise that the people of Birmingham have been both concerned and inconvenienced and we would like to thank them for their tolerance, co-operation and patience.”
“On Friday 10th of January Basmanniy district court of Moscow ceased criminal case against Alexey Olesinov, Alexey Sutuga, Alyon Volikov and Babken Guskasyan.
All four were accused of “hooliganism”, a criminal offense which is included in the amnesty bill, approved as a PR stunt on initiative of Vladimir Putin himself in advent of the Sochi Winter Olympics – most known amnestied political prisoners being 30 detainees of the Arctic Sunrise ship of Greenpeace, and two imprisoned members of Pussy Riot. Four anti-fascists had also other, less severe charges which fall under statutes of limitations.
Olesinov and Sutuga were released under traveling restrictions last summer, after more than a year in a custody. They, and Volikov who was only released last Friday were accused for having clashed with the far-right security of “Vozdukh”-club in Moscow in December of 2011 during a concert.
Guards claimed that guests of the concert had vandalized club property, they expelled audience and took some of the organizers as hostages, where waiting for their associates “to arrive in order to collect compensation for damages”. Organizers attempted to leave the venue, and guards opened fire with rubber bullets. In the resulting clash, guests of the concert prevailed.
Russian political police force “Center of counteraction against extremism”, exploited this case in order to have two known anti-fascists, Sutuga and Olesinov detained. Originally they were also accused of another case, where a 16-year fascist was beaten up having made a Nazi salute, but eventually only Volikov and Gukasyan were charged for this incident.
Young Nazi gave testimony against Olesinov and Sutuga, although both had an unquestionable Alibi. This is not the only case, in which a Nazi victim has given false testimony against known anti-fascists when it is unclear who has committed actions. Volikov and Gukasyan were also amnestied for these charges.
Goals of the process which has now finished were much wider than investigation two fights. For example Alina Kosolovskaya, who was interrogated as a witness of the case, was mostly asked questions about known anti-fascist Alexey Gaskarov, who was arrested last April for completely unrelated case of inauguration riot of Vladimir Putin 6th of May 2012.
Of those accused of the inauguration riots, only 4 were released under the amnesty bill, whereas 13 are still in custody (Gaskarov amongst them), two in home arrest, five under travelling restrictions and two have been sentenced. Two members of the “Left front” party are facing the most serious charges of “organising a riot”, although video footage and plenty of witnesses have provided testimony that clash had been prepared by the police.
Another Moscow anti-fascist Irina Lipskaya was also amnestied 27th of December. She was accused of two assaults against far-right concerts in years 2011 and 2012. In the same week three anti-fascists from Nizhni Novgorod were amnestied, criminal process against them proceeded for almost three years.
However, two activists from Nizhni Novgorod were forced to flee the city and hide from officials, and thus they still face charges and are not amnestied. Also, anti-fascist Igor Hartchenko, who was given a three and half years prison sentence in August in Moscow for having defended a concert against far-right attack in July of 2011 remains in prison.
Of course, not only anti-authoritarians are being amnestied. There are no overall statistics on how many people are being amnestied, estimates vary from thousands to tens of thousands. Many political prisoners of the far right have been amnestied as well.
For example 16 Nazis who attacked anti-nuclear protest camp in Angarsk in summer 2007 and beat anarchist Ilya Borodaenko till death were also charged with “hooliganism”, and thus they are now amnestied. Russian officials tend to define far-right political violence as “hooliganism”, which is why even serious crimes of Nazis are often sentenced with hooliganism charges.
But besides all faults, amnesty bill is a proof that the current Russian regime is not immune to a political protest. Due to terrorist threat, Sotchi Olympics will take place in atmosphere of military occupation and economically they are a disaster. But Olympic games and other such international projects are also a reason why Russian government is still worried for its public image, and reacts to political pressure.”
Reposted from Anti-Fascist Network
Yesterday evening’s demonstration against the EDL in Bristol seems to have gone well despite short notice.
The local Bristol EDL had called a demonstration outside a meeting that was to be discussing an application to convert the empty Jesters comedy club in Stokes Croft into an Islamic religious and cultural centre. The event was to be for members of the Assahaba Centre group proposing the development to “discuss the objectors’ concerns and provide a better insight into the Islamic faith”. Funnily enough no one objecting to the development was interested in this and the meeting was cancelled due to lack of interest from objectors. The EDL not interested in actually hearing about the Muslim faith from some actual Muslims? Who’d have thought?
The council made the decision to approve the mosque application the day before the EDL protest.
So the EDL held a barely half hour long protest outside a meeting that wasn’t happening because they refused to go to it, before they headed back to the pubs they came from.
Bristol UAF, Bristol Anti-Fascist Co-operative and Bristol Anti-Fascists mobilised against the EDL. There were about 100 anti-fascists opposing about 30 EDL, from most accounts. Outnumbering the fascists 3 to 1 is not bad for short notice.
There was a frank exchange of views and some minor skirmishing.
For more background on the Stokes Croft Islamic centre and the EDL’s campaign against it, including multiple threats to “burn it down”, see our previous post.
This particular local struggle in Bristol may not be over yet, but this was a positive moment, showing that the EDL will be opposed wherever they raise their heads.