The English Defence League is a fairly new organization set up just six years ago in
Luton in a response to an
incident in which a military street parade was heckled by a small group of
people dressed in traditional Muslim garb hurling abuse at the marching troops.
Since then the group has expanded into a nationwide movement geared towards
stopping the rise of Islam in the UK.
The EDL says that it's non-racist and doesn't consider itself a part of the far
right; its membership includes black people, Jews and Asians of Hindu and Sikh
backgrounds. It's become renowned for its noisy and disruptive street protests,
and today it brought its presence to Oxford
in response to the local Muslim grooming scandal, see background links at the
bottom for details. The EDL were opposed by a counter protest organized by
Unite Against Fascism, an umbrella front of Muslim pressure groups and
leftists; it is also affiliated to the authorities and politicians, and senior
figures in the trade unions are involved. Some local councillors have made
statements supporting the UAF in their demonstration against the EDL. The UAF
regard the EDL as a far right racist and "islamophobic" organization
no matter what the EDL themselves profess. I received an invitation on Facebook
to attend the UAF event and clicked "maybe" before looking at it more
carefully. The person inviting me was a friend from the hospital who himself is
involved with UNISON, our trade union. When I looked closer I changed my status
to "not going". If you recall, I myself have been labelled a
"fascist!"; I was reported to the Birmingham UAF for the talk I gave
at BUFOG. A person wrote to the UAF to say that I was a racist, far right
anti-Semite, see: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/ben-emlyn-jones-live-at-bufog.html.
Luckily the UAF did not turn up and protest my event; this person has been
leading a hate campaign against me for years and he tried to use the UAF as a
lynch mob. These so called "anti-fascists" have targeted innocent
people before, see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/david-icke-loses-lawsuit.html.
Are the EDL innocent?
I made my way into
city centre. What is often called " Oxford"
by students and tourists alike, as if the rest of the place just doesn't exist.
Immediately I could see something was going on.
There were a row of police vans on and several officers wearing
luminous jackets already patrolling the pavements. According to my declined invite, Unite
Against Fascism were assembling the for their anti-English Defence League
protest at Magdalen
Bridge Bonn Square.
More police were waiting there as I arrived and took a seat inconspicuously on
a bench. Some were clad in sky-blue waistcoats designating them as police liaison
officers, like the ones I met at Bilderberg fringe, see: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/bilderberg-2013.html.
A light rain started to fall. I went into Marks and Spencer to use the toilet
and when I came back a group of people had set up a stall with fliers and
pamphlets on it. A man appeared from Unison with a handcart carrying a Unison
banner and set it up; he was somebody whom I did not recognize or remember, and
that was mutual. A man in a mobility
scooter had a loud speaker with him and began to play a song by Billy Bragg
that is about the battle of Cable Street,
this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWBeGK96pVQ.
Two policemen came over and told him to turn down the volume. A pair of blonde
women turned up and began selling copies of Socialist
Worker. They walked up and down the street with the ream of newspapers in
their arms like Big Issue sellers. People joined the event with their faces
masked by hoods and scarves; it reminded me of the protests outside the Oxford
union when Marine Le Pen spoke there, http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/marine-le-pen-at-oxford-union.html.
Things began to look very tense, a column of riot police marched through the
square; among them were medics, and then with a clopping of hooves a drove of
police horses trotted past. Not long afterwards the first skirmish broke out, a
cluster of young men in dark English Defence League dress came around the
corner raising their fists in the air and grunting "Eeh! Eeh! EDL!... Eeh!
Eeh! EDL!" The protesters in Bonn Square
ran over and began hurling abuse at them. Fists flew and the police intervened
to arrest several people. I left Bonn Square
and headed for the railway station where I knew the EDL would be gathering
soon. The English Defence League contingent were very different to the UAF.
They were distinctly working class whereas the UAF looked like students and Bohemians.
The EDL were about 80% men and all white whereas the UAF were much more mixed.
The EDL were also far more cheery; they greeted each other warmly, laughed and
shared jokes; there was almost a party atmosphere in the station forecourt. The
UAF looked very grave and sombre, frightened and desperate almost. Another difference
from the UAF was that most of the EDL wore regulation clothing with their
motifs on, in particular a hooded jersey that so many of them wore that it was
almost a uniform. A few of them had on novelty masks and one was dressed as a
pig; this is presumably because the pig is considered an unholy animal by
Muslims. One man wore a balaclava like a bank robber or terrorist. Two more
coaches turned up and the contingent grew to about a hundred and fifty people.
They had no fliers or other literature to distribute; they just draped their
banners on the railings and sung a series of chants like: "We're the
famous EDL!" "Let's go fuckin' mental! Let's go fuckin' mental! La la
la la!" and: "Allah, Allah, who the fuck is Allah!?" The melodies
were all from popular tunes. Then I noticed that they were passing round six-packs
of beer and some of them started drinking heavily; they were doing this quite openly,
but police didn't seem to mind. The march began and the chanting cheering EDL
were guided away from the station, surrounded by a cordon of armoured police
with the horses escorting them front and back. To avoid the roadworks in Frideswide
Square the protesters were directed down the
narrow residential area of Becket Street
and Osney Lane; a few
people came out of their front doors to watch as the EDL's strident chanting
echoed off the overhanging stone walls. I tagged along behind along with
several other onlookers who were not involved and just curious like me. As we
turned the corner into Oxpens Road
a commotion broke out. Some UAF members were standing at the side of the road
waving placards and yelling epithets like: "Nazi scum! Off our streets!
Fuckin' fascist bastards!" The EDL responded by hurling abuse back and
chanting "You're not English! You're not English! You're not English any
more!" which goes to the tune of Bread
of Heaven. The police horses galloped round like sheepdogs to get between
the two sides and the EDL were herded off to the left. On Park
End Street another anti-fascist tried to break
into the cordon and another punch-up erupted. I was quite close this time and
had to press myself against a wall to avoid being knocked down by one of the
police horses. One of the policemen was injured and had to be attended by a
medic. As we walked up the hill at New Road
somebody was standing on top of the old castle mound shouting something down at
the marchers. This was a futile effort because he had no megaphone and so his
words were inaudible from that distance; however the EDL assumed it was
something antagonistic and shouted their "You're not English..."
chant at him. For the EDL that must be the worst imaginable insult. The most
dangerous part of the march was where we reached the crossroads by the county
council offices for two reasons; firstly the council is considered guilty of
culpable neglect by the EDL for supposedly allowing the Muslim groomers to
commit their crimes unhindered. Also the crossroads is adjacent to Bonn
Square where the UAF were holding their rally. A
double line of police vans with a demilitarized zone in between kept the two
sides apart, but their voices could be heard and a broadside of verbal
artillery was exchanged. Through the gaps in the barricade I could see the UAF
activists waving their placards in a menacing way. Halfway down Castle
Street the pavement was closed so I got separated
from the marchers. I strode down Old Greyfriars Street
and headed them off at the magistrates court at Thames
Street. The police stopped the march at the public
toilets so the protesters could relieve themselves. There were so many of them
that the men just urinated against the walls and let the women use the
cubicles. I imagine they will have needed to go after all they had been
drinking; a trail of beer cans clattered in their wake. The cordon at the top
of the hill must have been broken because we looked back to see UAF protesters
behind a new police blockade at the bottom of Albion
Place. Eventually we reached the site of the rally
at the bottom of St Aldates between the police station and crown court. I was surprised
to see that the speakers included Albert Burgess who had been at the Critical
Mass Radio conference, see: http://hpanwo-radio.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/ben-emlyn-jones-live-at-critical-mass.html.
By now the UAF had managed to regroup a few hundred yards away by Christchurch
and Albert's voice was mixed with their angry jeers.
The English Defence League didn't come across to me as badly as they've been portrayed by the media. They are noisy and boisterous; some of them were drunk, but they were reasonably well behaved when not being harangued by their opponents. One of the curious onlookers was an old lady who was holding a hand-written placard which said: "ONE RACE- HUMAN RACE" and a few of the protesters came over and debated politely with her. One young woman in particular, near the back of the march, regularly stopped to talk to passers-by; she was diplomatic and courteous. Also I saw no symptoms of the EDL being racists; quite the opposite in fact. The young woman who was talking to people outside the protest at one point walked over and affectionately embraced a black woman on the pavement. To call the EDL "Nazi scum!" is slanderous in my view. There was also an incident at the station when I was in the toilets. I was alone in there with an Asian man and a crowd of EDL blokes walked in; I was afraid they were going to give the Asian some trouble, but they were fine with him, even though they were clearly a bit tipsy and very excited. They even held the door open for him with a smile. What they are is very much against militant Islam. This is why they fly the flags of
and India as
well as the Union Jack and St George's
Cross. I've even seen the rainbow LGBT flag on films of their demos too. Their
concerns about militant Islam are perfectly legitimate, but their concerns are
without awareness. How many EDL supporters ever ask themselves a crucial
question: Why has this happened? Why is it, in just two decades or so, we're
suddenly beset by millions of Wabbahist radicals? I've spoken to EDL supporters
online and the answer you'll usually get is something like: "Because there
is so much immigration today from Muslim countries and the government are too
lily-livered to do anything about it! And it helps Labour win votes!" But
the truth is very different. A lot of Muslim immigrants are being radicalized
in British mosques after they arrive
in this country, and the government is not just passively allowing radical
Wahhabism to grow here, they're deliberately
making it happen, as I explain in the background links below. The street
mob of angry Muslims in Luton in 2009 which triggered
the formation of the EDL was itself almost certainly a government intelligence
operation. The leader of it is known to be a UK
secret service asset. The EDL themselves are being controlled by many people
with strong links to Mossad. They are themselves a controlled opposition. I
think they mean well and are sincere people; they're definitely not
"fascists!" any more than I am; but they need to become aware of the
real rules of the game they're involved in.
See here for background: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/oxford-muslim-grooming-scandal.html.