Red Oktober: Reports from Birmingham and Portsmouth

Posted below is the AFN report of the EDL National demonstration in Birmingham yesterday. Various sources reported that the EDL numbered between 300-500,  UKAktion can corroborate this with  reports from the ground, which also put the counter-demonstration at between 200-300. Well done to everyone who came out to oppose them, especially in the miserable rain, and those that made it up from the South.

Gathering from 11 onwards on Broad Street in Birmingham, at Bar Risa, who explicitly told their workers that only white staff should work the day (which it now denies), the bar packed out in the run up to the small march to their speeches.

Unfortunately the EDL carried off their speeches without interruption and concluded their demonstration without much interference. This year’s demo didn’t see the levels of violence like the last appearance of the EDL in Birmingham, however it has been confirmed that both fascist and anti-fascist demonstrations had several arrests.

Photo from last year’s EDL Birmingham demonstration.

At one point in the day a few EDL cavemen managed to slink into the opposition crowd, tried to steal a banner and interrupted the UAF speeches, but were escorted away by police accompanied by angry shouts (as seen in the video below).

Luckily, the EDL did not pull the numbers it expected to in the wake of the Rotherham abuse scandal, and its effect on the group hasn’t been as significant as the ‘Lee Rigby effect’ we saw last year. They certainly didn’t match the numbers from their demo in Birmingham last year. After their speeches the demonstration seemed to take on a strange atmosphere, with costumes and flags and copious drink, like a really, really shit carnival.

Note: The ongoing game of capture-the-flag saw a new development as anti-fascists stole a large England EDL flag: a point to our team.

Meanwhile on the South coast anti-fascists gathered and outnumbered a small gathering of fascists demonstration against ‘Islamic schools’. Portsmouth Anti Nazi Watch (@NaziWATCHPompey) reported that counter-protesters outnumbered the 20 or so fascists, mostly EDL dregs that couldn’t make it up North, and made sure that they certainly had a shit day.

Anti-Fascist Network

AFN groups hooked up with Birmingham UAF, Birmingham Strong Justice4ALL, unions, community groups and many others under the ‘We Are Birmingham’ banner this Saturday 11th. People came out despite the rain to demonstrate in Victoria Square together, making clear we reject the EDL’s vile and divisive message. Everyone seemed to enjoy the live music and a chance meet new people. One topic that came up a lot was the Nobel Peace Prize awarded yesterday to Malala, a Pakistani schoolgirl and activist now living in Birmingham.

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