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, Brighton Anti-Fascists, Brighton Unite Against Fascism

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 , 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
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.

About Brighton Antifascists

Opposing fascism in Brighton and further afield.

Posted on June 5, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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