Socialist Worker

Miserable day for EDL in London and Leeds

Issue No. 2272

Supporters of the racist English Defence League (EDL) were humiliated in central London today, Saturday.

The EDL held a protest of its so-called “Angels women’s divisions” near Downing Street. EDL supporters came from across Britain sporting the names of their “divisions” on t-shirts and jumpers.

But they still only mustered around 100 – and most weren’t women.

Meanwhile a majority women anti-fascist protest, organised by Unite Against Fascism (UAF), took place yards away from the EDL gathering. Trade unionists from the PCS, RMT, Unison and UCU joined the 150-strong counter-protest, along with students.

After the EDL spent a while chanting bizarre slogans at the anti-fascists – including “We pay your benefits” and “Get some soap” – the EDL retreated.

As is usual for an EDL event they started scuffles among themselves out of frustration.

Anti-fascists cheered as the EDL shuffled off.

The EDL protest was pathetic. But huge numbers of police then escorted them along the road past parliament.

Anti-fascists were proud that they had come out to protest. Mary, a Unison union member, was on the UAF demo. She told Socialist Worker, “Groups like the EDL prosper in times of economic hardship. I love living in London which has lots of different cultures. We have to defend that.

“The EDL might look like a lunatic fringe now but it can grow. It’s important to stamp on them at every opportunity.”

At short notice and in torrential rain around 100 UAF supporters gathered in Leeds to oppose the violent Nazi organisation the 'Northern Infidels'.

Up to 70 members of the 'Northern Infidels', a breakaway group from the EDL, assembled in a square near Leeds' main train station.

Down the road UAF gathered in the main shopping centre. When the racists gathered in the square allocated to them, the UAF protest marched off to oppose them.

At the same time the Jarrow People's March for Jobs came to the city. At the end of their march they came down and joined the UAF counter-protest.

Despite the short notice, once again it was good to see anti-fascists outnumbering the Nazis.

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Article information

Sat 8 Oct 2011, 17:17 BST
Issue No. 2272
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