The first outing in London today for the newly minted right-wing alliance the United British Patriots does not bode well for their attempt to supplant the EDL as Britain’s premier right-wing street movement. The demo was called in the name of the English Volunteer Force (EVF), but was supposed to be a multi-organisational ‘unity’ march on Parliament of all the fascist splinter groups who make up the UBP. It was always very confused being a demo about everything and nothing with no clear agenda. As it turned out they pulled somewhere around 100 for their much-hyped big day.
Overall the day was a good one for anti-fascists. There was a noisy anti-fascist crowd that was quite up for it and tried to get close to the fascists. The EVF would likely have been lightly policed and able to do their full march route down Whitehall had it not been for anti-fascists mobilising. As it was, they were considerably more constrained by the police than they could have been. Rather than the racists parading their bigotry amongst the crowds of multi-racial families that populate central Westminster on a Saturday afternoon, they limped along largely unseen behind a wall of cops.
So kudos to North London Anti-Fascists for organising an opposition to the fascist rag-bag. There were somewhere in the region of 150 quite feisty anti-fascists on the counter-demonstration that formed up in Trafalgar Square, which is a decent turnout and outnumbered the fascists.
The regrouping under the United British Patriots banner is an attempt to bring together the nastiest elements of the British far-right and disaffected ex-EDLers, although when it came down to it, this new name was no more successful at getting the numbers out than any of the old ones. Look out for another name change in time for the next demo!
Trafalgar Square had been the fascists’ advertised meet up point, hence anti-fascists being there also, but on the day the EVF made Westminster tube their rendezvous point and then directed people to the nearby Red Lion pub. It appears that they then wanted to march away from Parliament towards Trafalgar Square in order to turn around and march back down Whitehall again, but after being confronted by a small group of anti-fascists the fash seemed at this point to have an argument amongst themselves about the wisdom of this course of action (possibly related to there being even more anti-fascists at the other end of the street). This led to half of them deciding to vote with their feet and head back to pub.
Anti-fascists headed down Whitehall in a bloc but were prevented from getting to the EVF by the police.
Abandoning any attempt to head to Trafalgar Square or march down Whitehall, the far right did eventually shuffle the very short distance to their protest pen outside the Houses of Parliament, hold their rally and head back to the pub again. For most of this time the mass of anti-fascists were unfortunately detained by the police somewhere halfway along Whitehall although there were successful attempts by some to escape the kettle and get to the fascists.
After the conclusion of the fascist ‘march’ many anti-fascists stayed to monitor remaining racists drinking in the area. Many EVF were at St Stephens Tavern next to Westminster tube which has become the far-right haunt of choice on these occasions.
There were reported to be 13 anti-fascist arrests of which one was de-arrested and an unknown number of EVF arrests. There was a call-out for arrest support at Charing Cross police station. It is likely people are still inside at time of writing, but precise details of arrests or releases are unknown at present. If you witnessed any arrests or police violence then call GBC legal on 07946 541511.
The next ‘mass’ outing for the UBP and their far-right chums is for their annual drubbing in Brighton on April 27th, which we can expect to have a similarly unimpressive turnout.
Wherever and whenever the far-right raise their heads, anti-fascists will organise and mobilise.