A woman protesting with UAF, who had escaped Nazi Germany as a little girl, sole surviving member of her family, explaining why she thinks it’s important to stand up to the EDL, the BNP, and other far right organisations.
I’m posting (in a more collated manner) the content which I took from the Unite Against Fascism protest against the English Defence League march on the Houses of Parliament in support of the screening of Geert Wilder’s inflammatory and anti-Islam film. The protest clash was this Friday (5th March). You can read more about Geert Wilder’s politics here, and about the EDL here. I went to support UAF in protesting against the EDL, but I would like to say that I would never suggest the EDL shouldn’t have the right to protest. They certainly should get the opportunity to speak their views, so that they can be listened to and tackled. To dismiss a member of the EDL, or any other nationalist organisation as ‘Scum’, completely dehumanises them, and says that we are somehow fundamentally different and unreconcilable. Nor are they working class victims of an education system and cynical right wing tabloid press, they are individuals, who believe what they do because they have come to it by a reasoning process as valid as our own. In the same way as terrorism, race tension and unrest works in the favour of a police and media state, and against us, all of us, justifying stricter laws, guns on the streets, and an infinite loop of press coverage.
“The spectacle of terrorism provides a socially cohesive common enemy, legitimises needs for vigilance, security, and new forms of police repression, and encourages the opinion that even the faultiest of democracies is superieor to the reign of terror.” Gianfranco Sanguinetti in a 1978 text On Terrorism and the State.
50 people arrested according to the BBC, most of them were UAF, as the EDL had only announced their march two days before it went ahead the UAF were unable to officially sanction their counter protest as required by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 which states that:
6 days notice must be given to the Metropolitan Commissioner […] He must then allow the demonstration but may impose conditions upon it. The conditions can be changed without notice on the day by any senior police officer. One of the considerations is ‘disruption to the life of the community’ – a catch-all category that allows the police to stop almost any protest. Loudspeakers are banned except for use by those in various positions of authority. (Read More)
Because the UAF hadn’t had the time to have the counter-protest approved, anyone protesting was effectively breaking the law. I can see why it’s necessary for the police force to be informed about protests in order to provide for the safety of both the protesters and the public, but at the same time think that it was right that the UAF were opposing the EDL. It was necessary for the police to clear the protestors, but necessary isn’t always the same as right. Though the police, for the most part, were just doing a very difficult job, they were also, at times, poor at communicating what was happening, some people though people were being arrested when they were just being moved, kettles were set up to split the UAF protesters which people were unwittingly allowed into, and then refused the right to leave, and people were arrested without being told why. I will say that some of the UAF are just as guilty as thinking in black and white, however, and some of their shouts and behaviour went beyond the peaceful protest principles of hold on, sit down, make yourself difficult to move. The EDL were mostly pretty offensive and violent.
Here’s a selection of videos and audioboos – the audioboos as links and the twitvids followed by links that should work on iphones (damn flash/apple).