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Brighton hinted at it, Bristol seemed to continue the pattern but today's misguided outing to the London borough of Walthamstow showed the extent to which the English Defence League is now in a steep downward spiral.
This was intended to be a re-run of Tower Hamlets – a mission into darkest Muslamic country to liberate a corner of England. In the event around only two hundred fash made the trip down – to be confronted by a multi-racial crowd of over two thousand.
After getting pissed up and fighting amongst themselves at King's Cross station the EDL gathered at Blackhorse Rd tube station. They were then marched in a mobile kettle along Forest Rd, the initial stage of their intended route to the Town Hall. The UAF were behind police lines occupying half of Forest Rd. Autonomous anti-fascists waited just down from the crossroads. The EDL approached at a snail's pace entirely surrounded by cops.
As soon as the hapless leaguers came in sight the Anti-Fascist Network's banner was unfurled – triggering scuffles with the police and a couple of arrests. The cops soon realised that if a handful of anti-fascists were going to cause that much bother then getting the EDL past the UAF demo was going to be more trouble than it was it worth. The answer was to divert the EDL down the side-streets and try to smuggle them to their rally point.
Meanwhile, realising that the EDL march had been blocked anti-fascists started breaking away in small groups getting round police lines to the rally point. Soon hundreds had gathered in front of a gazebo decorated with England flags and staffed by the EDL's top boys. Unfortunately for them their minions were being held up by police a few streets away leaving leaders Tommy Robinson and Kev Carroll to have a rally/garden party behind police lines that barely got into double figures. The leaders attempted to string a few words together over their P.A. system, but were completely drowned out by anti-fascists. After they were bombarded with missiles and with the baying crowd threatening to break the police lines, the EDL's police liaison officers told them to leave the area. Rumours that Kev and Tommy later indulged in a bit of sulky mutual recrimination and even handbags at dawn have so far been confined to the socialist press.
Eventually the fash were herded to the relative safety of a side street where police allowed them 15 minutes of unplugged whining before slowly marching them back. The EDL were remarkably silent for this once vocal organisation and at time's it felt, appropriately enough, like a funeral cortège. Locals came out to disrupt the sombre mood and give them some abuse to send them on their way. One anti-fascist told SchNEWS “They recruited no-one, didn't seem to have a point to their demo and basically looked like thuggish idiots. They're not even frightening anymore”.
DON'T STAY ANOTHER DAY
Having been thoroughly humiliated by anti-fascists most EDL were probably looking forward to getting home, unfortunately for them though their day didn't end there. The MET seemed to decide to kick 'em while they're down and proceeded to kettle them for a few hours before finally nicking them all to 'prevent a breach of the peace'. They were then apparently bused into the centre of London and released minus their coaches which plod had already sent packing.
Unsurprisingly many of the EDLers took their frustrations out on each other, with numerous arrests for fighting amongst themselves, including EDL steward and March for England regular Dave Bolton getting a kicking. The infighting moved online in the aftermath, with members declaring they won't go on another demo (so much for 'No Surrender!') and openly calling for a change of leadership. The more loyal members have directed their anger at the police for not forcing the march through, which is pretty pathetic for an organisation that claims to 'go where we want, when we want'. Many of the same EDL members who threatened to arrive tooled up and hoping for it to 'kick off' are now moaning on Facebook about the lack of police protection when it did – be careful what you wish for.
For other accounts of the day check:
Russian anti-fascist unfairly imprisoned under Putin's new house rules.
Brighton turns out thousands to oppose the March for England's message of hate.
Oh Christ ..not again, about as welcome as Jimmy Saville at an orphanage, it's time for the outbreak of political venereal disease that is the March for England set to tarnish the streets of Brighton again on April 21st.
National Front demonstration has a poor turn out in Swansea, followed by a Blood & Honour gig in the valleys.
Dead cat bounce as EDL irritate the people of Manchester?
Over 10,000 anti-fascists gathered in Dresden, East Germany on Wednesday (13th) to oppose a neo-Nazi march.
Golden shower as British far-right turn in another piss-poor performance at the Greek Embassy
For 25 years Golden Dawn were a marginal group that for the most attacked small left-wing and anarchist groups and sometimes would also go for immigrants. Until a few years ago they never measured more than 200 members. Up until recently they had one office. Now? They have forty-eight.