Tag Archive: fascist

afnPress Release: Anti-Fascist Network statement on Saturday 7th September EDL demonstration

The Metropolitan Police arrested over 280 anti-fascist activists, local community members, and passersby in East London on 7 September,  as up to 700 English Defence League supporters were allowed to march  over Tower Bridge and rally at Aldgate without encountering any mass  opposition.

A large community demonstration was restricted to Altab Ali Park,  well out of sight of the EDL’s march route and rally point. A bloc of  around 600 within the demonstration, coordinated by the Anti-Fascist  Network (AFN), attempted to hold a march to get within sight of the  EDL’s route and present a visible opposition, which was then blocked and kettled by police. Despite police attacks the front of the AFN bloc did manage to get within sight of the EDL march, meaning the only political opposition the racists saw on the day was a direct result of the AFN  mobilisation.

Sarah Smith from London Anti-Fascists said: “The number of people who joined the Anti-Fascist Network  bloc on the day shows that there is a real mood for forms of  anti-fascism that go beyond static rallies where mainstream politicians  and religious leaders spout liberal platitudes. The 600 people who  attempted to march with AFN on Saturday shows that a moderate, ‘respectable’ anti-fascism based on deference to the state and the  political status quo is no longer the only show in town.”

Anti-fascists, independent legal observers, and people who were just  passing by were detained on the street for over six hours before the  police announced their intention to make mass arrests. Arrestees were  taken to police stations on the outer extremities of London — including  Colindale, Sutton, and elsewhere — mostly under the pretext that they  had committed an offence under the Public Order Act. Their alleged ‘crime’ was to march down a street the police didn’t want them to march  down.

Some arrestees were held for up to 15 hours in total. Were it not for the work of arrestee support groups, many of those detained would have  been thrown out of police stations in the middle of the night on the  outskirts of London with little way of getting home. Most have now been  released with highly restrictive bail conditions preventing them from  opposing the EDL and other racist groups.

Tony Dixon from the Anti-Fascist Network said: “These mass arrests, following a similar operation at an  anti-BNP demonstration in May, show how the state is using political  policing to criminalise protest and intimidate people out of taking  political action. Only the tamest, most moderate forms of protest are  sanctioned; anything else is met with police violence, kettling, and  mass arrests.”

Val Swain of the Network for Police Monitoring (NetPol), added: “Carrying out mass arrests on any demonstration is an  excessive and draconian measure. In this case it was clearly not  necessary to prevent disorder – many, if not most of the arrests were  carried out after the EDL had left the area.”In this case the police have taken 286 sets of names, addresses,  fingerprints and dna. It has been a highly effective data gathering  exercise. They have also imposed bail conditions preventing all of those arrested from participating in future protests – even though they have  not been charged, let alone convicted of any offence. The police have  had a successful operation to disrupt, deter and prevent anti-fascist  protest.”

Notes The Anti-Fascist Network is a network of independent anti-fascists  and anti-racist groups from across Britain, fighting the far right on  the basis of direct action and working-class politics. http://antifascistnetwork.wordpress.com/AFN-Banner

English Defence League (EDL) Not Welcome In Kingston

The Voice Of Anti-capitalism in Guildford (The VOAG), joined around 30 people for a counter demonstration and leafleting session against the English Defence League (EDL) in Kingston Town Centre on Saturday 20th August.

The fascist and racist EDL were due to hold a “meet and greet” in Kingston, South London, for 1.30 in the afternoon, their first formal event in the borough.

The VOAG, together with activists from local unions, Kingston Green Party, Kingston Anti-Cuts Group, Workers Power and anti fascist groups decided to “meet and greet” the EDL and make it clear: The EDL are not welcome in Kingston.

We set up an anti-racist stool on the main shopping street, spoke to shoppers and  distributed leaflets making the case against the EDL and promoting the Anti EDL National Demonstration, due to be held in Tower Hamlets on September 3rd.

The Tower Hamlets demonstration coincides with a planned march by the EDL in Tower Hamlets, and our message to Kingston  was “We will not accept attempts to create fear and instability in our communities; not in Kingston, and not in Tower Hamlets.

Whilst we made our presence felt on the street, with the support from the local community, the rain poured down. Mathew of  Kingston GMB told reporters: “We made the effort to make sure that those who could be susceptible to the EDL’s propaganda knows why the EDL are wrong.”

At around 1.30pm, News reached us that the EDL were starting to gather in a near-by pub. The EDL boasted 35 attendees on their Facebook page. Several “known faces” were seen carrying boxes of flyers into the pub. As the afternoon progressed and the rain continued, reports indicated that they had only attracted eight – not quite the promised mass demonstration.

Perhaps they got stuck to the pub table, perhaps their customary fifteen pints weighed them down, or may-be it was the rain. Whatever the reason, the EDL (all eight of them) didn’t attempt to pedal their rubbish on the high street, and skulked off after a few hours. They were well aware of our presence on the high street and that our numbers far exceeded their own.

Martin George from the Surrey Comet reported that there was a “heavy police presence in the town centre and outside Kingston Mosque, in response to last November, when a small group of EDL members marched from Hampton Wick to Kingston and went on to attack Kingston mosque”.

The EDL failed in their crass attempt to capitalise on the public unease following the riots that took place throughout England recently. The miss-information circulated in the media regarding the riots and the fear it has engendered plays into the right wing fascist agenda of the EDL, however the people of Kingston were not fooled.

National Demo: Racist EDL not welcome in East London. 3rd September. Assemble 11am Weavers Fields, London. E2 6HW

Time for an Anti-Fascist Defence League!