Socialist Worker

United protest humiliates the racist EDL in Dudley

by Viv Smith
Issue No. 2200

Defending the mosque in Dudley from the English Defence League  (Pic: Geoff Dexter)

Defending the mosque in Dudley from the English Defence League (Pic: Geoff Dexter)


Anti-racists and local Asian people humiliated supporters of the English Defence League (EDL) as they ran them out of Dudley on Monday.

The EDL had promised to return to the town after their attempted riot there last month—and they did.

They occupied the site of a proposed new mosque on Sunday evening, flying a St George’s Cross and an Israeli flag. Two banners read “No surrender” and “Ban the burqa”.

Within an hour, Asian people had begun to assemble to oppose the EDL, and anti‑racists from across the Midlands joined them.

“We surrounded the site soon after they occupied—they threw bricks at us but we didn’t give in,” said Assed Baig, president of Staffordshire university student union.

Protesters stormed into the building to get the EDL out. The police beat them back, and many suffered injuries. But a group of EDL thugs were evicted.

“That left just two of them on the roof playing the Muslim call to prayer followed by heavy metal music,” said Sadia Jabeen.

“People were furious that their religious practices and beliefs were being caricatured.”

Activists stayed on the streets until 4am on Monday morning, regrouping at 11am.

Magnificent

“There were around 300 of us,” said Martin Lynch, a Unite Against Fascism (UAF) member and the branch secretary of the Dudley NUT union.

“We were determined to get the EDL out of Dudley. Trade unionists joined with the Asian community—it was magnificent.”

The turning point came when the EDL attacked the existing mosque, throwing bricks.

A young man was arrested for throwing a brick back at them.

“Everyone marched to the mosque where we stood our ground and refused to move,” said Sadia

They demanded that police release the arrested person and remove the EDL from the roof. The police were forced to concede on both issues.

“The EDL wanted their stunt to be a Nazi beacon of hate in the run up to the election—and we stopped them,” declared Geoff Dexter, a trade unionist.

“The unity that was forged when the EDL came to town last month was crucial,” said Martin Lynch. “Our victory will make that stronger.”

lThe EDL’s attempted invasion of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire failed last Saturday. Around 200 anti-EDL demonstrators gathered at a Love Aylesbury Hate Racism event.

Meanwhile, around 800 EDL supporters were penned in by the police. Hurling bottles and insults they fought with stewards. Some made an attempt to break out towards the mosque but were beaten back.


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Tue 4 May 2010, 18:46 BST
Issue No. 2200
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