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I have memories, clouded by sorrow

Of a time in life when blood ran through my veins

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UAF and EDL protests in Nottingham
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thedarkproject
Well, I figure that if you're going to have strong opinions on something, it's your duty to observe relevant things first hand. So that's what I did today, where the English Defence League were holding a rally in Nottingham, ostensibly to protest against Islamic extremists, and the 'Unite Against Fascism' group with their various affiliates were holding a counter-rally to "stop the fascist EDL marching in Nottingham".

I could say a lot but I'll keep it to bullet points. I didn't get to see the main EDL rally as that part was mostly off-limits and kept well away from the centre of town or the UAF gathering, but I did see the clashes in the city centre in the Market Square.

Apologies to anybody annoyed by my observations; you can comment below. However, I just say what I see. Also note that when I say UAF or EDL I am talking more about the 2 broad divisions since it's impossible to know if anybody is officially affiliated or not.
  • The UAF, instead of gathering at a time similar to the EDL's planned rally at 1pm, instead gathered in Market Square (against police request) at 10am, to coincide in both time and location with the homecoming parade for the 2nd Battalion of the Mercian Regiment from Afghanistan. Why?
  • The UAF and their associated groups was mostly the typical Socialist Worker and student group, but there were actually what seemed to be a fair few Communists there also.
  • The UAF didn't make much attempt to addess any stated EDL policies or aims, just tried very hard to portray them as Nazis or fascists or as being associated with the BNP.
  • Although both sides were provocative, the ones being verbally aggressive and offensive were the UAF side. The EDF were mostly chanting "Eng-er-lund, Eng-er-lund, Eng-er-lund" as you'd expect from an organisation formed by football supporters.
  • Missiles were thrown from the area of young Asian men towards the EDL. These were mostly sticks from holding up flags and placards, but also included plastic bottles and cans. Missiles going the other direction were much fewer in quantity.
  • I didn't see a single 'Seig Heil' gesture. The people I saw in the square do have a penchant for putting both hands in the air, the significance of which is lost on me. I did see one EDL guy with a raised fist though (1:05 in the last video below, on the far right - no pun intended), which bizarrely is a symbol with left-wing connotations. And one of the EDL people seemed to have a Northern Ireland Unionist flag. He might have just mistaken it for an England flag...
  • I only saw one non-white person on the EDL side; a black girl, who was with her white boyfriend.
  • At least 4 police forces were in attendance: Nottingham, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, and West Yorkshire. Policing seemed very even-handed to me, and even when I was kettled for just over an hour they were very polite and apologetic about it. The police horses were well-behaved, although the police dogs went mental whenever anybody else walked a dog past (which was quite often among the ranks of the socialist types).
Videos I filmed, for the interested:

UAF people up by the Castle
Me and Allan rather ominously positioned between 2 police lines
The UAF supporters march back down along Friar Lane towards the Market Square
Trouble starts to flare as young Asian males face off against the EDL skinhead types
Cheering, taunting, missiles being thrown, etc (and more of that)

I have pictures too, but I'm bored of this for now. I'll put them up later.

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A similar dynamic seemed to occur way back during the Bradford Riots. There was a planned BNP or otherwise right-wing demo planned, which either didn't occur or fizzled out - anyway, the AFL had planned a demo of their own, which quickly got out of hand and ended up lumped in with an increasing number of 'anti fascists' i.e. a large number of Asian yoofs. Obviously what happened then was a far cry away from what you witnessed in terms of aggression, but my opinion is that the anti-fascist lot are very prone to being exploited by aggrieved parties, and because it's 'anti-right wing' it seems to legitimate any ensuing trouble.

all i'll add for now is that a friend of mine (relatively unbiased, as far as i'm aware) claimed to have seen 'lots of nazi salutes'. The EDL would automatically claim anyone doing so 'not one of them' and plants by the UAF or media to discredit them.

If your friend got to the main EDL rally, it's possible his or her observation was correct. There were none among the group in the Square, though. I didn't spend 20 minutes filming them for nothing. :)

It is interesting the way you word it however; the implication is that if someone among the EDL was seen to be making those gestures, you wouldn't believe the non-participants who said they didn't speak for everybody. But would you assume the aggressive young Asian boys speak for all Muslims when they physically attacked the guys outside of the pub?

I had much the same from Mike on Facebook a week or two back, which you may or may not have noticed; when discussing the EDL he was pretty adamant that the entire organisation were guilty by association with the more extreme element, yet when talking about the Muslim community his opinion was that nobody could have a complaint against them in general, only against very specific extremists. You can't have it both ways, demanding exceptions for your favourites and making generalisation about your enemies; either you're biased, or you've extra information that you're not sharing. :)

i was outside the pub at that time with the EDL and i didnt see any nazi salutes or gestures,The EDL were well behaved singing football like chants whilst the UAF were racially and physicaly abusive to every white non muslim.

Or a third option: you're reading in implication where there is none. If you've seen the right one of my status updates, I'm perfectly happy to believe that not all the EDL are fascist, or even racist. All they're guilty of is stupidity in thinking there *aren't* racist elements in their organisation.

The aggressive young Asian boys may not have been Muslims, I had no way of telling. I didn't see them attach anyone either for that matter. As far as I'm concerned, any organised religious group is the same as the EDL. There are a few hardliners, a few willing to resort to violence, and an awful lot of sheep. I don't have 'favourites' in this particular conflict, and just because I file myself under 'anti-Nazi' doesn't mean I'm automatically pro-anything else. If I was, maybe I'd have been marching.

Well no, I wasn't really suggesting you had a favourite, but the way you put it was drawing attention to the fact that some people would deny association with the more extreme acts of others, which surely doesn't need pointing out unless you think there's something suspect with it, right?

If the young Asian lads weren't Muslims, they were doing a decent job of pretending to be, by waving their Pakistan flags around a lot. Hindu infiltators trying to sow dissent? Possible, but unlikely. :)

Heh, I'd guess they were Muslims, but what's all that about assumption being the mother of all fuckups? I could tell it was a Pakistani flag, I could tell they were Asian, I could only *guess* they were Muslim.

I like that you went down to document it, I'd have been tempted to do the same if it wasn't for the cost of my gear. Tempted to go down and watch the fun as well, but my days of doing that are behind me.

Ah, given the police presence, yobs and generally drunken retards when I left the office etc, I assumed that there was a football match ;)

There was one of those as well, Nottingham Forest vs Leicester City. Busy day for the police!

(Deleted comment)
its quite obvious you don't care about the country the edl are only trying to make it a safer place unless you would rather extremists ruin it and all our past relatives have died in previous wars and present losses to this and other countries for nothing. personally if i was you i would just lock yourself in your house curl up and die. and there isn't 62billion in the uk

I have to say that I find it amusing when pedantic corrections contain mistakes.

(Deleted comment)
Some better videos, including more of the main EDL grouping, here: http://www.youtube.com/user/wwwdotlucypeeldotcom

Fresh air

(Anonymous)
It is nice to see an account of proceedings with a lack of bias. Just the facts. Although statistics can be a pain, they can normally be extrapolated to give a general account of the whole event.

However, there may also be 'outliers' that can mess up the whole generalisation. For example, if you have, say, 500 members of any group and 1 sieg-heiler, for whatever their reason, does that brand the 499 as Nazis?
This is the logic being exploited by UAF and the likes - even the media.

One of your commenters also mentions one of his friends was there and saw sieg-heiling. I had friends who were there and saw no sieg-heiling. But which looks 'more juicy' ?
My guess is that the arm gestures were what you saw and were mis-interpreted.

About your other commenter who suggests the invalidity of both groups due to their low percentage of representation of the public, while himself advancing the fact that his views are even further to the right than EDL (although I'd suggest that EDL do not sit on the political spectrum, being a single issue group). His extremist views are even more invalid in the context of the British population, so shold be ingnored even more than EDL or UAF.

I'll continue to check out the rest of your blog.

Thanks for the clear reporting!

Assay, right-minded a test

(Anonymous)
Hello. And Bye.

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