By Brian O’Sullivan
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Anti-fascists are all smiles in Birmingham

This article is over 7 years, 2 months old
Issue 2549
Anti-fascist protesters stand up to the EDL in Birmingham
Anti-fascist protesters stand up to the EDL in Birmingham (Pic: Julie Sherry)

The English Defence League (EDL) failed in its attempt to incite Islamophobia and hatred of Muslims last Saturday.

Around 80 Nazis turned up to the EDL’s national mobilisation in Birmingham.

They left the city drunk, miserable and humiliated—not the victory parade they had hoped for.

Up to 350 people attended a counter-protest In Birmingham’s Victoria Square organised by Unite Against Fascism (UAF).

Bob from UAF said, “No one wanted these fascists in the city. It was good to see the city reject their poisonous bile and scapegoating of Muslims.”

The counter-protest involved delegations from trade unions including the NUT, Unison, UCU and PCS.

Speakers also included local campaigners such as Sikhs Against the EDL.

Demonstrators were entertained by performances from musicians and poets under the banner of Love Music Hate Racism.

Many people were furious at the cops. Saira and Saleha were on the counter-protest.

“We wanted to take our placards round to where the EDL were,” they told Socialist Worker. “Seeing and hearing all this hate against us Muslims we couldn’t tolerate it. We couldn’t stand there silent. We felt like our voices were being taken away from us.

“The police said we couldn’t as it would provoke the EDL. So we put our placards down and went round. We shouted, ‘No to racism, no to Islamophobia’. EDL men fully surrounded us—some were all in black with masks on.

“The police didn’t stop the EDL, who touched us and verbally abused us. They verbally abused us saying, ‘Get back to your own country. This is a British country.’ Luckily two nice women took our hands.

“The police said we had provoked the EDL. How is saying, ‘No to racism’ provocative?

“Many Muslims are scared to come on these protests – people are being arrested all the time under Prevent. There should be more of us here to stop thsi happening.

“The EDL had placards saying, ‘Sharia law oppresses women’ but they were attacking us women.

“This shouldn’t happen to us in our own city.”

Thanks to Bridget Parsons

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