Posted by: Rich | July 17, 2011

Rain Pisses On Parade

Here’s a quick write-up of what we saw yesterday when the racist scumbags rolled into town.

We assembled at 11.00 on the Palmerston Road. Nothing really happened, the EDL sent one guy down on a bike, you could tell he was edl as he gave a nazi salute before running off, those silly nazi’s! The cops also sent a guy down on a bike but he must have been satisfied that we were all super cool and he just left.

Once everyone was assembled we set off to the Guildhall, apparently there were 2 lads following but from very far away, not that they would have tried anything on as the mob was just over 20 at this point. On arriving at Guildhall Square at about 11.40 there was a small crowd of about 100 anti edl peeps consisting of UAF, trade unions, and concerned citizens. The rain at this point was really coming down & scouts from viccy park reported that there was only coppers in there, the edl were still getting drunk in 2 pubs nearby.

The Anti EDL crowd had grown to about 200 at its peak around 12.30 & everyone was cold & wet & wishing they were inside. There were a load of speeches, some better than others and after a while the crowd finally found its voice, maybe as a response to the cold. The war memorial was sealed off and cops were all over the square.

Police reports at the time put the EDL numbers at 150-200 as the racist march moved off and quickly turned into chaos with the police having to get physical with them and 2 arrested straight away. The Portsmouth News at this point puts EDL numbers at 200 also. Some way off the 150o the EDL organisers were claiming they would get! Once again it seems the EDL have no real support in the towns where they hold the regional demo’s, they rely on at least 60% fanatics being bussed in.

The News this morning has run another story on the protest putting EDL numbers at 500, still someway short of the 1500 they wanted, but I genuinely think this figure is far too high, it makes it more of a news story. Police figures are also always too low, looking at the pictures i would say a sensible number would be 300, bearing in mind that a lot of them take up the space of 2 or 3 ordinary people. A fairly senior copper said that they had drafted in enough bodies to cope with 500 EDL and there was no way near that amount so the city would be super safe!

The EDL marched chanting racist slogans and declaring the streets muslim free, another 5 were arrested, one for racially aggravated assault. After the EDL march finished they started trying to get onto the Guildhall Square to have ago at the lefties (not that they are fascist, or violent of course). Police stopped a group trying to raid a scaffolds truck to get weapons.

At this point there was really not a lot to do,  someone spotted a Brighton EDL member who they noticed and told him to fuck off home (and he did) & one nazi got chased out of the square. Most people sat around & chatted, when a nazi did show up the crowd chanted “follow your leader, shoot yourself like Adolf Hitler” . At one point what was left of the EDL crowd showed up outside the Guildhall entrance close to Portsmouth & Southsea station, but were quickly blocked by police on horseback and riot vans so we really didn’t get to see any action at all.

There was a lot of speculation that the EDL were planning to attack the Jami Mosque around 5.00pm after the football so at 4.00 we decided to head into Southsea for a drink and to wait & see what happened. As we moved off to go to Southsea through Somerstown the pockets of EDL who were hanging around waiting to pick off lefties suddenly lost their bottle, avoided eye contact, and quickly turned round. One group of about 6 fairly big skinheads quickly shuffled down to the police station as we watched them. ha ha ha! At this point we picked up a couple of coppers who were walking a small distance behind us.

As we walked a really drunk woman along with 3 or 4 blokes, all probably in their 40’s started shouting down the road that this was their country, they looked like they needed to get indoors for their crack pipe but our group decided to go and say hello anyway. “I hate it when people call me racist” she shouted before yelling at our Polish comrade that he had no right to be ‘here’. Confused just aint the word! At this point the 2 coppers had run in followed by 2 police horses, a riot van, and about 10 more on foot. obviously cars stopped to watch and local residents came out to see what was going on, they seemed to find it all quite amusing. The confused crackheads backed down and were allowed to go by the cops. We proceeded to walk to Southsea flanked by the cops . One anti-fascist mentioned that he felt like the queen with such a big police presence.

They let us go on unharrassed and we piled into a pub to dry off and have a drink. Two people went out for a drive to keep tabs on the footy crowd and the mosque. All in the end was good though, I would expect due to a heavy police presence at the mosque, which we have to say is clearly a good thing, no one wanted a repeat of last November.

Although the EDL are obviously still claiming a victory (didn’t even get in the square, never mind to the memorial that they wanted) we’ve still got a lot to learn.  Tower Hamlets Is next for the EDL, that might just be the event that finishes off their pathetic travelling freak show. At some point a meeting of southern anti-fascist groups will be held, we need to build more  links with other groups, something that started a month or so ago and is already working well.

Just one last thing that sums up the naivety of the EDL membership: Before getting tucked up in bed on friday night little Jake ‘chubzy’ Hyland wrote on his facebook wall “Can’t wait for the EDL demo tomorrow, finally in my home town, I’ve got a feeling that this could be the best march this country has ever seen”. I just can’t work out if that makes me want to laugh or cry!

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