Friday, 5 March 2010

Today in London - All Kinds of Crazy Part 1

Welcome readers of Small Dead Animals, Moose and Squirrel, Lumpy Grumpy and Frumpy, Covenant Zone, and Blazing Cat Fur,

As most of you probably know, today Geert Wilders was in London to screen Fitna in the House of Lords and to give a brief speech (of which you can find the text on a number of other sites). In response to this event there were 2 groups gathering outside of parliament - one being the English Defense League (EDL) and the other being a group 'united against fascism' (basically anti EDL). SMW spent the better part of today tracking these two groups, quite a few pictures to follow so I will try to keep my commentary as brief as possible, however I also want to give you a clear picture of today's events. Before I go any further let me say that the scale of both gatherings was small, despite anything you might read to the contrary. SMW has covered numerous events of this nature and I would estimate that both 'sides' combined did not total 500 people (compared to tens of thousands I have seen at other events). There was a massive security presence for obvious reasons, and also because just around the corner Gordon Brown was testifying today at the Chilcot Inquiry. OK moving on...

The EDL crowd was supposed to meet at 1pm at a specified location to have their signs checked and meet with their organizers and police officials. I was not there when this happened. Instead I was at parliament where the anti-EDL crowd began to gather. This was a typical left-wing crowd, however there were a large number of people just standing around on the sidewalk away from this group, taking everything in. As there was some concern that people were using a nearby park to sneak around and cause trouble police closed the park and would not let people leave or enter it. According to one officer the anti-EDL group applied too late for a permit to protest - however the police agreed to accomodate them anyway within a specified time frame, which of course they did not stick to. The group was blocking traffic and refused to disband when ordered to by police (they wanted them to disband in order to avoid a major confrontation with the EDL - b/c they were refusing the police at a separate location were holding back the EDL from starting their march, which they had a permit for). This is when the trouble began - although I would not consider this 'major.' Essentially there was a bunch of pushing, shoving, being general jackasses towards the police, refusing to leave, sitting down on the road, etc. Police did their best to control and contain the situation, amidst screams of 'you can't touch me,' 'you are protecting nazis,' 'f*ck the police,' 'shame on you,' etc. A reporter who was closer to the kerfuffle (hey I don't get paid to do this so I try to go home injury free) told me that one protestor had been injured and while police medics were trying to help the individual, others started pushing and shoving the police. The end result of this was police hauling certain trouble making individuals away, one by one, and loading them onto a bus (one cop per detained individual on the bus, what a nice buddy system), which was filled and then driven away. The remaining protestors were pushed on the sidewalk where they were held back by police - they were eventually ordered to disperse with many leaving and a few heading up closer to parliament. During the scuffles with police (who were not even wearing riot gear) the a good portion of the crowd was chanting "No justice, no peace, f*ck the police." However, once the individuals were loaded on the bus with the police, a small crowd gathered at the bus clapping, cheering ,and shouting "Unite and fight." What happened to peace?
This crowd was typical left wing, Socialist Worker was for sale, trade unions were there with flags, people of all ages but mainly young communist types.
Alright now we pause for some pictures...

The Buddy System.

Get on the bus, all the cool kids are doing it. (Shortly after this the more people gathered round and cheered 'f*ck the police' and 'unite and fight'.)

Yeah because that's not a totalitarian ideology or anything...

The busload of detained protestors drives away, the others are moved, and this mess is left behind.

Police making sure no funny business is going on in the park. There were definitely a number of individuals in this crowd (as there were with the EDL which I will get to shortly) who were just looking for a fight, but the police seemed to keep everything under control.

Meanwhile just around the corner outside the Chilcot Inquiry these people were hanging out. There was a huge police presense (Gordon Brown was inside), but only a few protestors - maybe 10-15 people, but what they lacked in numbers they certainly made up for with signage.

Part Two will be up shortly...