Crivvens! Jings! And Help Ma Boab! The cheeky wee monkeys of the EDL staged a chimps tea-party in Manchester and behaved exactly the way their audience expects: they got drunk, got rowdy and made a mess whilst achieving nothing. At 11am a bunch of EDL turned up at Victoria Station and immediately started fighting with each other which set the tempo of the day, i.e., a protracted drunken brawl. The EDL were marshalled in the Walkabout pub where it kicked off, with themselves and with plod. One group broke away to ‘take the streets back,’ i.e., went to a different pub then staggered about a bit before being taken back to the march. Our cameraman told us he ‘had just had a run in with some clowns at Brannigans. Camera took a dent but old bill lifted three of them… watch out there are random little gangs in search of soft targets.’
A few hundred counter-demonstrators gathered in Piccadilly Gardens for the usual tedious speechifying so we went for a mooch around. We arrived in Albert Square where the 2 demos were going to rally and found loads of bored cops standing in the sun. Both groups were to be shunted to the quiet end of town where they were positioned opposite each other with nothing but a no man’s land full of riot cops between them to inhibit the customary haranguing. The numbers seemed about even although an aerial shot shows a not great EDL turnout.
The counter- demo was jolly but nowhere near big enough to oppose an EDL ‘national.’ That the UAF held their conference on the same day was absurd: discussing what to do about fascism on the streets whilst several hundred fascists are marching on the streets is pointless. The counter-demo was multi-coloured and lively with union banners, sound-system and a drum group. It was like a party without a bar (but, luckily, toilets!). Trade union banners, community groups, local politicians and anti-fascists were representing a broad section of the North West. Just who do the EDL represent? The silent majority? How do they know if they are silent? Twerps. We clocked a trampy looking ‘chav scrote’ spotter, with obligatory bad teeth and poor dress sense, who was taking photos with his phone, mainly of policemen’s backs it seemed. What he will do with the ‘Intel’ now is moot given Redwatch’s current problemettes.
Bye Bye Redwatch! Hello Prison!
Shortly after the counter-demo arrived, a large group of anarchists and anti-fascists were shepherded into the square which swelled numbers. One plod told us that there had been ‘an engagement’ earlier between anti-fascists and orangu-patriots. Tiny groups of EDL were either wandering about lost or mingling in the counter-demo offering their usual abuse, devoid of wit or sense, clutching Sainsbo‘s bags of lager. The EDL arrived just before 2 in their usual simian phalanx, wrapped in flags, soaked in lager, penned in and protected by the riot squad.
Anti-fascists had gathered in the south-east corner winding up the EDL until the chimps started rattling their bars and throwing their own poo around. They were an unimpressive herd of scrotes, pissed and angry, and a few missiles were thrown when anti-fascists goaded them then plod moved us out of view. Oddest banner of the day was ‘UAF are totally disturbed to defend peeedos.’ Jings! The counter-demo music totally drowned the EDL’s shouts and speeches out and then they tried to burn a Pakistan flag but failed embarrassingly. They had been chucking smoke bombs about previously.
EDL Angels: up for the crack!
We were getting some nice info all day via mobile and text, the best being the following. Sheffield hooly mob, the Blades Business Crew, were on their way to a ‘pre-arranged’ with Oldham’s Fine Young Cagoules but stopped off in the MCR. Plod boarded their coach and refused to believe that they were actually off to football as they ‘had no hats, scarves or rattles!’ Crivvens! There were also rumours that 2 factions of the EDL were going to have a sort out but they both bottled it.
It all seemed a bit pointless and plod had stage-managed it well: both sides could hurl abuse out of the earshot of shoppers. There were almost as many sight-seers as cops and plod seemed remarkably relaxed on our side. For the EDL, it was the same routine: get kettled in a pub, start infighting, move to demo site and back again. Some had set off from a Leeds pub at 8am so no doubt were in a bad way by 2. The baboons of the EDL are now a leaderless body but, unlike intentionally leaderless anarchists, they need leader to give instructions on how to eat their bananas correctly. It was not a remarkable day for the EDL, there was no coup, no coordination, not much publicity and they just looked as clueless and daft as ever. We met friends old and new which was great and thanks to all of them for a cracker of a weekend. And at £2.10 a pint who can complain?