Brighton Anti-fascists statement on Saturday events
Statement by Brighton Anti-fascists In response to threats by far-right grouping Casuals United a couple of hundred anti-fascist activists assembled in Brighton’s main shopping area, Churchill Square. They had been gathered together quickly by call out from Stopmfe http://stopmfe.wordpress.com/, Brighton Anti-Fascists https://brightonantifascists.wordpress.com/, Brighton Unite Against Fascism http://uaf.org.uk/tag/brighton/. They waited the arrival of an EDL flash mob. The EDL’s football hooligan division, Casuals United, had been boasting on their blogs that they would be returning to Brighton in numbers and strength to take revenge on local people. Five weeks previously, hundreds of locals had stood side by side against right wing racists who had tried, and failed, to parade around the city under the banner of ‘March for England.’ The waiting anti-fascists supported the Great Brighton Street Party put on by Brighton and Hove UnCut http://brightonuncut.wordpress.com/ , which arrived in Churchill Square to set up an anti-cuts picnic with pretty bunting, pots of tea, cakes, poetry and plays. They celebrated community spirit instead the Jubilee. Apart from the odd EDL spotter who thought that wearing sunglasses and carrying a Primark bag was a good disguise, there was no sign of any approaching fascist flash mob. After three hours of holding the Church Square, anti-fascist set off for an impromptu march down North Street behind a hastily painted NO FASCISM banner. The fascists, who had arrived Brighton from places as far afield as Hull, Milton Keynes and Bournemouth, had not yet had the Dutch courage to leave their drinking holes. The anti-fascists thought they would demonstrate instead. They headed for St James Street. Of the rumours about where EDL actually were, one was important to act upon. There were reports of violence outside gay clubs. The nastiest tweetings from Casuals United in the run up to their revenge on Brighton had been homophobic. Anti-fascists confronted EDlers on the corner of St James Street and continued to confront them whenever they could be identified EDL helped with this by waving their arms and shouting abuse from behind police lines. Anti-fascists rushed around the police to hassle and harangue them. There were skirmishes along Old Steine and in Poole Valley bus depot. Anti-fascists risked arrest and four were held for public order offences and one (ridiculously) for assault on a police officer. Sussex Police say they acted to ‘prevent a major disorder’. As the afternoon wore on, more local people joined the mobile protests. Brighton Anti-fascists distributed a leaflet to explain their actions: “Fascism grows if we let. We are here to challenge the racism, Islamophobia and fascism of the EDL, Casuals United and the March for England. This has no place no place in our city or anywhere else.” Both BBC and The Argus report that as a result of protests the fascists were ‘escorted’ by police out of the city http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/9742009.Full_story__18_arrested_during_protests_in_Brighton/. Anti-fascists who had dodged kettles but were split up by police lines managed to regroup and confront the EDL one last time, forcing the escorts down side roads to be bussed out from behind Brighton station. Casuals United have put out some utter nonsense on their blog, exaggerated their numbers, underestimated that of people who opposed them and claimed they had a good day out. They can only lose more credibility. The fascists present in Brighton on 2 June will know these are lies and will begin to lose faith in their organisations and, hopefully, their politics.