The racist English Defence League suffered a humiliating defeat in its efforts to mobilise 5,000 of its members for a national rally in Bradford last week.
Earlier this year the EDL had promised to launch a series of huge demonstrations in prominent Muslim communities throughout the UK. The dismal reality was that less than 700 of their members turned up from across the country and in Bradford the level of local support was non-existent.
The EDL who seek to promote racism by using the flag of convenience of opposing “Islamic extremism” could not disguise the poisonous racism on show from its members.
EDL banners and placards proclaimed, ‘We love the floods’ in a sickening reference to the global catastrophe that ravaged Pakistan. In addition and for the avoidance of doubt there were also placards that proclaimed ‘No Black
in the Union Jack’.
The EDL small demonstration was largely contained by the police, however when it was clear they would not be allowed to march, they began to violently attack a small spontaneous counter demonstration and the police. Thirteen
of their members were arrested for a variety of offences.
In total contrast a Unite Against Fascism rally attracted over 1500.
Reports from Sunday were united in condemnation for the EDL and celebratory for those who gathered peacefully to show solidarity:
Ashiq Hussain, We Are Bradford Chair said:
“Today we had a peaceful, united, multicultural event attended by Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu communities, trade unions and antifascists. We said we would organise a peaceful celebration and that is what we did.”
In a message of solidarity with We Are Bradford and Unite Against Fascism, Chris Howsen, local Vicar and peace activist said:
“You have played your part in keeping Bradford a peaceful and multicultural city.”
Mukhtar Ali, former Bradford councillor said:
“Today has been a great day for We Are Bradford and UAF. I am sad that the police have not controlled
EDL better and 200 EDL were attempting to run riot in Bradford.”
UAF joint secretary Sabby Dhalu said: “All those that wanted to peacefully voice opposition to the EDL today have been vindicated. The EDL have once again exposed itself as a fascist, violent and criminal conspiracy against Britain’s Muslims and other communities. Allowing the EDL to come to Bradford, while telling those that oppose them to stay at home is wrong.
“The EDL’s sole intention of coming to Bradford was to cause violence
and mayhem. Trouble did occur in Bradford only at the hands of the EDL, not
because of events opposing them.
“The majority of British people abhor the EDL and the fascism, racism,
Islamophobia and hatred they peddle, and will always turn up to oppose the EDL,
as they did in Bradford today. That is why it is crucial to have organised and
peaceful events opposing them and this is precisely what we achieved today.
“We are the majority; the EDL is a tiny minority. We have the right and
freedom to peacefully voice our opposition to the EDL and other fascist organisations.”
UAF joint secretary Weyman Bennett said:
“The EDL attempted to break police lines and behaved like racist hooligans. Our protest was brilliant.
“The people who led ‘We are Bradford’ should be congratulated for not only overcoming the EDL but also exposing the lies and smears used against them which claimed they wanted to divide Bradford instead of uniting it.”