Socialist Worker will be providing news and pictures of the protests against the racist English Defence League (EDL) in Bradford today (see below). Please check regularly for the latest from our team of reporters and photographers.
If you are in Bradford or traveling to the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) event, you are welcome to send your own reports and pictures to reports@ socialistworker.co.uk
Report: 4.45pm It’s been a bad day for the EDL. They had far fewer than they hoped for on their protest of hate—fewer than 1,000. They were reduced to fighting one another.
One EDL racist is being treated for head injuries by police medics. Apparently he was hit by a brick thrown by his own side. Some members of Leeds EDL never made it to the demo after getting into a fight on the way there and getting arrested.
The We Are Bradford anti-EDL event, initiated by UAF but backed much more widely, saw over 1,500 anti-fascists gather despite intimidation from the police. The protesters correctly stood up against a sustained criticism from groups such as Hope Not Hate – which was against any opposition to the EDL on the day.
We Are Bradford was a successful show of anti-racism. We congratulate all those who turned out for the protest or supported it in other ways.
And over 200 other people, including local Asian youth, also spontaneously opposed the EDL at their gathering place. When a group of the EDL broke out of their pen, they were met by instant opposition from bystanders and local people.
It is now 4.45pm, and we cannot be sure whether some of those who broke away from the EDL protest will attempt to cause mayhem in Bradford. Nor can we be certain how EDL supporters will act when they are bussed away.
As always, anti-racists cannot be complacent about how these thugs will act.
We hope that all those who demonstrated in Bradford against the EDL, or oppose racism, fascism and Islamophobia, will now be part of two forthcoming events:
The 6 November demonstration against racism and Islamophobia, backed by the TUC and many others http://uaf.org.uk/2010/07/national-uaf-demo-saturday-6-november/
The solidarity event when Martin Smith, UAF national officer, goes on trial on 7 September http://uaf.org.uk/2010/08/leaflet-support-martin-smith-tues-7-september/
Report: 3.30pm After journalists were removed from the area, some 100 EDL got out of their pen despite a large number of police present.
Report: 2.06pm Mubasher Ghafoor, who works at Primark in Bradford, came to the We Are Bradford event. he says, 'I'm here to show support for the anti-fascists. I object to the argument that we should stay away. If we ignore the EDL they will be back. We can't let the EDL have our city.'
Report: 2.03pm Latest banners at the anti-EDL We Are Bradford protest include: NUJ national banner, CWU Eastern No4, Cambridge health Unison, Kirklees Unison, plus RMT and Unite flags. Up to 150 people have joined the council-backed Be Bradford event.
Among the crowd, Richa from Brighton, who has just finished at Sussex University said, 'The EDL have all these different divisions from everywhere, so why shouldn't we mobilise nationally? Despite the fact they were banned from marching, the EDL are still here and we have to stand up to them. This will show Muslims in Bradford they're not alone.'
Sabeen, a college student from Leeds, said, 'The EDL came to Leeds last year and created a horrible atmosphere and made people scared. We have to make sure city centres are not scary for anyone – except for those idiots who want to come and cause violence.'�
Report: 1.35pm Around 1,500 on anti-fascist protest in Exchange Square now. Ashiq Hussain, chair of We Are Bradford, told the crowd, 'Racism happens every day in our streets, schools and workplaces. The key is unity between those who want to act against it. It's fantastic to see so many people here to day to celebrate that Bradford is a multicultural and diverse city.'
Report: 12.47pm Around 1,000 on anti-fascist protest now. Martin Smith, UAF national officer, spoke to the crowd: 'This is a very important demonstration. It seems to me that we have a duty to answer why we are here.
'Many of us are not from Bradford, but it's right that everyone should be here, wherever you are from. If there is injustice somewhere, there is injustice everywhere. I think it's right that everyone stands united against racism whether you're from Bradford, Birmingham or Basildon.
'When racism comes to any city, we stand united. It's everyone's problem if racists come on to our streets. Nobody must be forced to hide. When racists come to town, we come out. Wherever the EDL go, we are not going to stay in our homes and rely on others to stop them.
'I don't believe you can rely on bans. I don't believe that you can rely on the police or the Tory government to stop the EDL. But we have a problem. We've had 29 demonstrations against the EDL but we haven't had big enough demonstrations to stop them.
'We need to stand in the tradition of Cable Street, Lewisham and Brick Lane. We need mass mobilisations.
'We need to redouble our efforts. That's why I want to invite all of you to the London demonstration against racism on 6 November. We need to build our forces up. I want to see the biggest anti-racist demonstration for 30 years.'�
Report: 12.03pm Anti-fascists report that there are now around 400 in Exchange Square.
Leslie, a UCU union member from Bradford, says, 'The media and the police have tried to make out that anti-racists are the same as the EDL.
'But despite this, we've done our best to organise a celebration of Bradford and multiculturalism.
'Today we can prove that anti-racists are the majority.'
Report: 11:30am Banners at the anti-EDL We Are Bradford protest include PCS Midlands Region, Leeds University UCU, Barnsley NUT, Nottinghamshire trades council, Bradford Respect, South Yorkshire NUJ, Sheffield Northern General Hospital Unison, Yorkshire CND.
EDL members are complaining their police-supplied buses have not turned up in Halifax!
Report: 11:10am Katan, a Phd student from Bradford, counters those who want us to ignore the EDL: 'Tell that to Stephen Lawrence and his family. They don't go away if you ignore them, they get stronger. We can't have ghettos where non-whites are scared to leave their homes. If the EDL are victorious here they'll come to Manchester and other cities next. That's why it's important to come here and to defend the people of Bradford.'
Report: 11am Denis White a teacher in Bradford told Socialist Worker, 'There has been a lot of nervousness abut today in the city, but the people I've talked to have really responded to a peaceful multicultural event. The people who just talked about a ban knew all along that it would just apply to a march. We need to sustain We Are Bradford and UAF after today. It's brought lots of people together. Its built a good vibrant ant-racist movement here.'
Report: 10.40am Small groups of anti-fascists began gathering in Bradford from before 9am. A group of young Muslim men were among them. 'Some people say we should ignore the EDL, but if we just sit at home they'll get more confident. The EDL say they're against extremists. How can you be against extremists if you're extremist? They want to cause a riot. We've got to keep protesting. We just want to live peacefully with everyone else.'
For 6 November demonstration against racism and Islamophobia go to http://uaf.org.uk/2010/07/national-uaf-demo-saturday-6-november/