Socialist Worker

Policing of anti-fascist protest in Preston raises questions for council

by Micheal Lavallette
Issue No. 2475

Around  450 people joined an anti-Nazis demonstration in Preston on Saturday.

The demonstration was called by Lancashire trades council (LTUC) and Unite Against fascism to counter a national mobilisation by the  North West Infidels, the NF and the EDL.

It was overwhelmingly drawn from Preston. Local students, trade unionists and community activists gathered to defend the town’s multicultural heritage. They made it clear that refugees are welcome in our city - and Nazis are not.

Shoppers joined protestors throughout the afternoon and stopped to vent their anger at the Nazis.

The Nazi's “national mobilisation” amounted to 60 thugs.

The policing of the demonstration raises questions that need answering.

In the days before the demonstrations the police had told LTUC that we would have access to the central Flagmarket. On the day this agreement was not kept to and the police tried, unsuccessfully, to kettle protestors in a side street.

From the moment the Nazi thugs entered the square they launched marbles, cans, firecrackers and rockets at the counter demo. One lit fire cracker landed beneath a child's pram.

Two flags of the Nazi C18 group were displayed. These are the flags of what the Met police call a “proscribed terrorist organisation”, yet the flags were not removed.

After an unsuccessful “break out” the Nazis launched a further hail of rockets.

Yet the police didn't attempt to arrest any of the thugs. They seemed more intent on policing the peaceful counter demonstration.

This raises important issues for Labour-controlled Preston City Council. A number of councillors on the counter demonstration were clearly shocked by what they witnessed.

Giving a small minority of Nazis access to the central Flagmarket, while trying to cage and push back a much larger protest of anti-racist locals, can never be allowed to happen again. 


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Article information

News
Tue 13 Oct 2015, 16:15 BST
Issue No. 2475
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