View images of the demonstrations.

A tempestuous Saturday afternoon saw police claiming victory in the face of aggression from individuals in both the English Defence League (EDL) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF). Operation Birdcall, a large scale police action involving vehicles and personnel from nine constabularies, largely succeeded in keeping apart protesters and counter-protesters, preventing a major outbreak of violence.

The protest, the latest in a string of such events this year, always promised to excite significant controversy. A similar protest in Birmingham during August had resulted in a running battle between EDL members and counter-protesters, with police being pelted with bricks and over twenty arrests taking place. The police had attempted to ban a protest in Luton earlier this year, claiming that they could not guarantee public safety. Nottingham City Centre was also playing host to the return of the 2nd Battalion, Mercian Regiment, while Nottingham Forest’s City Ground was host to a local derby as Forest played Leicester City.

Over 10,000 turned out to see the parade by 2 Mercian, who had recently completed their third tour in Afghanistan. At around 11am, the troops received rapturous applause from the public as a crowd of UAF protestors grew, defying a request by the police to stay away from Market Square. The group – which included students from Nottingham University – made clear their intention to remain in the background for the duration of the proceedings, however. The EDL, who have been accused of links to the British National Party and were described as “a group of racist football hooligans” in UAF literature, had earlier accused them of planning to disrupt the parade.

The following few hours, however, saw a steady increase in police presence and UAF protest vehemence, with sporadic counter-chants emerging from individuals in the area outside ‘The Bank’, a pub on the edge of the square. Occasional scuffles broke out, but were swiftly quelled, as the police deployed dogs and mounted police to restore order. With Christmas shoppers hastily moving out of their way, the UAF marched towards Nottingham Castle, where approximately 300 EDL members had planned to meet at 2:30pm. While occasional sightings of the EDL prompted loud chanting, the crowd’s movement was impeded by the presence of police at each end of Friar Lane.

The situation changed, however, when the crowd was permitted to return to its previous position in Market Square. A gap in police lines was exploited by a group of youths, who had been protesting with the UAF during the day. It was unclear as to whether they were affiliated with the pressure group. Before the cordon could be fully reformed, the youths had bolted towards a large group of EDL members outside The Bank. Officers attempted to step in between the two factions, with verbal abuse flying between them. Numerous missiles were thrown at the EDL, including the protesters’ ‘Stop the Fascist EDL’ signs, and full cans and bottles. On the other side of the line, the EDL were arguing belligerently with police, chanting “English till I die” and “We want our country back” at the gathering crowd.

As more and more police arrived to encircle the two groups, more projectiles were thrown and the abuse became more vociferous, with one missile from the UAF side hitting a policeman. Batons were drawn and the police began to steadily force the two warring groups away from each other. Gradually the EDL protesters were pushed towards the station, where there was further conflict between the group and police officers. Eleven arrests have been made for minor public order offences, with one of those arrested going to QMC after reportedly being bitten by a police dog which he had kicked.

Ian Ackerley, the Nottinghamshire Assistant Chief Constable, thanked Nottingham for its cooperation, saying that “the contribution from the community cannot be overstated in the achievement of a successful outcome to a very challenging day.” Referring to the EDL march on Castle Boulevard earlier in the day, Superintendent Mick Luke had earlier stated that “We are disappointed with the behaviour of some protesters”, particularly commenting on those wearing clothing which covered their faces.

Despite some flashpoints, Nottingham City Centre did not see the same level of violence as that seen in the Birmingham protests earlier this year. The involvement of constabularies such as West Midlands and West Yorkshire – forces which had already policed EDL protests this year – doubtless assisted in the maintenance of a lawful right to protest whilst also ensuring public safety.

Dave Jackson



Images by Leon Ferri, Damien Clarke, Miguel Brito, and Charles Walker

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105 Comments

  1. Vincent Bate
    December 5, 2009 at 22:37 — Reply

    Well, from what I’ve read here all the violence was predictably on the UAF side again. Leftwingers and clueless Uni students doing what they’re best at again.

  2. Keith
    December 5, 2009 at 22:45 — Reply

    From where I was standing it seemed as though those throwing missile were a small minority of moronic troublemakers masquerading as the UAF. Both sides were equally confrontational it has to be said however, whether it be chanting “send ’em back” or flying Pakistan flags… Excellent article.

  3. Chris L
    December 5, 2009 at 22:47 — Reply

    Well maybe if the rozzers didn’t invade our civil liberties by filming and photographing us at peacefull protests we would not need to cover our faces. Anyway yet again the EDL have turned up in a proud multicultural city and been shown up by the thousands of locals black white asian who realise there is no place for thugs stirring up racial tensions. Oh and before you say it no i’m not UAF and im not a soap dodging commie. Just a proud englishman who doesnt see The EDL as having anything to do with that, especailly seeing as they do nazi salutes all the time, good way to respect the war dead ey boys?

  4. Nadia
    December 5, 2009 at 22:52 — Reply

    Hello i was standing near dorothy perkings it was a horrible experience i was petrified people were throwing stuff and everyone was shouting and people started running then dorthy perkins locked the doors and people were climbing on trees and chanting i was literally shaking

  5. Owen Pugh
    December 5, 2009 at 22:58 — Reply

    I feel that we are in need of a song, in a very Robin Hood-esque fashion to commemorate this conflicting day. The lyrics are my own but should be sung around camp-fires in Sherwood forest to the tune of ‘The Teddy Bear’s Picnic’:

    If you go into the city today, you’re sure of a big surprise. There’s lots of rascists and lefites about so watch for a knife in your side; They shout the words that nobody hears, they march and chant when fuelled by beers; Today’s the day the protestors come to Nottingham.

  6. Nick A
    December 5, 2009 at 23:00 — Reply

    Just a side note to add to the bank conflict, I was there when it kicked off. The confrontation started when a man (I don’t know if he was related to the EDL, so I won’t speculate) started shouting racial slurs at a couple of asian protestors. Scuffles erupted, before both groups grew larger, and police intervened. Unfortunatly, the non-EDL side began throwing missles, with a bit of retaliation from the EDL side. Despite that, it was a relatively peaceful despite. The police did very well at maintaining the peace.

  7. Lee
    December 5, 2009 at 23:45 — Reply

    Reply to Chris L:
    With regards to “nazi salutes” that you seem to have seen according to your comment above, well the only people there who would do those salutes are the UAF members who mix amongst the EDL members to try and smear them with the “racist” tag.
    The real fact is that we are genuinly loosing our own country, and every time anybody who is white and English stands up to fight for whats right then they get called racist because its the media`s power tool!
    The media as well as the UAF are all left wing and want us to become a part of a European superstate meaning we loose our identity and everything we have fought for during our past wars. Not to mention all our great arcitecture, sewerage systems and other achievments our ancestors have built and laid down their lives for us to enjoy today.
    I have Two young children and I genuinly fear for their future under a very realistic and very close Islamic Britain.
    I will fight with every last breath if need be to protect this country and be able to offer my children the same opportunities I was given as I grew up.
    Anybody who believes that an Islamic future here under Sharia law is the best way forward can (as far as I`m concerned) go to hell, or Alah if that best suits them.
    There is no stronger love than that towards our children, and I guarantee my feelings are mutual for a lot of people reading this. Therefor all those people should be standing up and fighting shoulder to shoulder with me for whats right.

  8. Elizabeth
    December 6, 2009 at 00:18 — Reply

    I have a friend who lives near Nottingham who became a muslim many years ago. Today she could not see her family because she did not want to get caught up in any protests. Under the human rights act British citizens have the right to go about their daily business without fear of intimidation by things like demonstrations. We cannot change or re write history which is how the United Kingdom became a diverse society in the first place. Every human deserves the right to live in peace.

  9. Harry
    December 6, 2009 at 00:20 — Reply

    I, for one, would defend our great sewerage systems from those evil Muslims. (What?!)

    The facts are that the EDL were chanting appalling racism, were threatening, disorderly, disrespectful, and generally an altogether unsavoury site. I also detest the way you (I assume you are a supporter judging by you defence of the group) adopt the Flag of St. George to represent yourselves. You are not a member of modern England. A harsh law system that would quickly and systematically eradicate the loud-mouthed, obnoxious EDL morons we saw today is perhaps needed – maybe a period of Sharia law is one system that would do this? I think most true Britons would savour the irony.

  10. Bobboly Baloxy
    December 6, 2009 at 00:24 — Reply

    After reading all of the online news stories, I have to say that this is by far the most accurate and unbiased reporting i have seen so far. What you read here is actually what happened, wow! well done Dave Jackson. I was there most of the afternoon as an interested observer. Cant really add much to this, except that the police seemed to be more accomodating to the uaf, allowing them to stay in the square, in spite of them throwing missiles ( i saw the policeman get hit with a full can of beer) fortunately it hit his helmet or he might have been injured. Also saw the gang of youths 20 asians and two blacks who had sneaked around the back, when one edl man charged them others followed and they ran for their lives.

  11. APS
    December 6, 2009 at 00:30 — Reply

    The violence was not predictably from the UAF. You can find video online of the EDL’s rushing the police line and getting in fights with the police. The kids who threw pop and sticks at the EDL racists at The Bank were angry, and rightfully so, after being called racist slurs. I was there and I heard them. I refuse to judge people for standing up for themselves against people who have clearly said that “every devout Muslim” is a threat to England (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTrXt0zNGUc).

    The fact is, if you think that Islam is taking over England you’re deluded and should consider speaking with your local GP about your mental health. What you don’t realize is that your mental health problem is creating a separation between non-White British people and White British people that fuels misunderstandings leading to racial violence.

  12. December 6, 2009 at 00:43 — Reply

    A reply to Lee:
    Your opinions genuinely scare me. I realise that there is no way to change opinions these so I thought I would pick a few holes in your argument to snap you out of your inferiority complex.
    – I admire what UAF are trying to achieve, they just go about it in the wrong way. However, there is no chance that UAF members would stand next to EDF members and give nazi salutes. I think the fact that the EDF were chanting racial slurs shows that they ARE racist.
    -“We are losing our own country”. This is bollocks and you know it. Just because you are white and English does not entitle you to say it is your country over anybody else.
    -“The media are all left wing”. Ever heard of News Corporation or the Daily Mail? Our country has some of the most balanced news organisations in the World. Imagine living in America, being force-fed Fox news 24/7. Most people from different countries are astounded at the fairness of the BBC, its something we should all be proud of.
    -“lose everything we have fought for during our past wars”. Britain fought against lunatics, sorry fascists like you in WW2.
    -“Our sewerage systems”. The Romans invented the sewerage system as we know it today.

    To echo your last statement, “no greater love than” …..
    I have no greater love than my love for the United Kingdom. I love the UK because it accepts people from different backgrounds and integrates them into society. I love the UK because small, inadequate, fascist people like you are kept in a tiny majority.

  13. Dave
    December 6, 2009 at 01:14 — Reply

    Two violent groups confront one another. The worrying thing is that one of them is supported by numerous MPs.

  14. Lucy Hayes
    December 6, 2009 at 01:19 — Reply

    Brilliant article Dave, really well covered.

  15. Albert Wallace
    December 6, 2009 at 01:24 — Reply

    I agree with Lucy Dave, very well written, great cover. The important thing to remember here though, is that this was a public event. People could come and go as the pleased, and as a result it wasn’t just the EDL and UAF stirring up trouble. There are reports emerging of many young people who appeared not to be affiliated with either group taking the opportunity to cause a bit of trouble, and used today’s events as a smokescreen. I think that is just important to bear in mind before too many fingers are pointed.

  16. alex
    December 6, 2009 at 01:27 — Reply

    I saw the whole thing from start to finish, and can’t work out why both sides are bothering? You protest against racism and it always bring out the crackpot (this is my country!) Shouting dinosaurs, or you protest for more segregation and tighter immigration laws and your a nazi??? Can anyone point me in the direction of the middle ground please

  17. Bobboly Baloxy
    December 6, 2009 at 02:02 — Reply

    APS whats dividing people is commies like you playing “blame the white man” for everything thats wrong with the world, ironically people like you are the biggest racists of the lot, ah i can imagine you saying “but white men deserve everything they get, that its not racist to blame white people, cos it would be racist to not blame him. i bet that if it was the BDL (black) you would be licking their b’hinds

  18. APS
    December 6, 2009 at 02:56 — Reply

    Bobboly,

    There are many aspects of racism. The part that worries me, as an immigrant in England (don’t worry, I’m not an ethnic minority taking away your identity of XFactor and Morris dancing), is the the racism that divides workers from one another and supports power structures. Would I prefer that the asian kids and the white kids were getting together and chucking bottles of coke at the bankers and the useless parliament? Yes. But am I going to sit back while the majority pick on the minority? No. When you have a group like the EDL claiming that all Muslims are extremists then I support those Muslims coming out and standing up to them, refusing to be intimidated by them. That’s what you had in the US with the Black Panthers and they were right to stand up against a racist power structure, so yeah, a bit different there BB.

    Are there sure to be prejudices formed in these kids minds against random English dudes with bald heads? Probably, I know I don’t trust them as an outsider here, but that’s what happens when you let people like this co-opt your identity and turn into an exclusionary position.

    I don’t blame the white man for everything. That would be stupid. For this violence I blame stupid people for acting like racist scum and applaud those who stood up to them. Hopefully some of these idiots can be educated, but I get the feeling England is going to be heading through some dark, nihilistic times.

  19. bobboly baloxy
    December 6, 2009 at 03:48 — Reply

    I blame the muslims, slavery for example, its almost a given that the white man is to blame right? wrong, muslims were the greatest slavers in history they still do it today, the only limit is that they cannot take another muslim as a slave, such nice people, your wonderful mussies, who stone to death rape victims, who want to kill us, (want proof? lok in the koran) “take the infidel into your home, feed him etc, convert him, if he wont convert, kill him”

  20. Mick
    December 6, 2009 at 10:37 — Reply

    As the Guardian reported, a few weeks ago “a mob of 30 white and black youths surrounded Asian students near City University in central London and attacked them with metal poles, bricks and sticks while shouting racist abuse. Three people – two students and a passerby who tried to intervene – were stabbed.” This attack was the culmination of a series of incidents over a few days in which a group of youths abused Muslim students going to and from a prayer room.

    This is the ‘logical outcome’ of the islamaphobic comments made here ‘logic’ bears the responsibility for justifying these appalling attacks. This is what happens when u have thugs like EDL and BNP in charge.

  21. Ali
    December 6, 2009 at 10:54 — Reply

    EDL are against all forms of Islam not just extremism. I would ask people to find out the facts about Islam before condemning it. If it’s such a violent religion why are 1-4 people in the world muslim? There’s no compulsion in Islam, No one is forced to accept Islam. They (EDL) were chanting insults against ALLAH yesterday. The silly thugs don’t even know that ALLAH is the Arabic name for GOD and in the bible in Middle East Christians use the name ALLAH.

    There’s so much nonsense talked about Islam here I would recommend people learn about it, it’s a religion of peace. Visit this website for more to infor http://www.thedeenshow.com/nonmuslims.php

  22. imaginarynumber
    December 6, 2009 at 11:16 — Reply

    I too will defend our glorious architecture such as the Platonic work by Inigo Jones- a true English man that bought us, err… renaissance architecture from Italy.

    I do feel sorry for the EDL- they were just meeting up for a mass banjo playing lesson when some educated toffs mocked them for having to shave their heads to ward off lice.

    Those weren’t Nazi salutes- they were trying to show everyone the new watches that they had just bought from Pound Land.

    The EDL are proud English boys- resplendent in their English Nike and ADIDAS outfits- purchased earlier that day on Saville Road.

    To prove their patriotism they have hosted their jolly website with 1 and 1 on a server in Germany- hither-to home of the Nazis.

  23. Joan Walters
    December 6, 2009 at 11:58 — Reply

    These riots are part of the wonderful “enrichment” of our society by the last 40 years of mass immigration. It will get worse.

  24. Toby Johnson
    December 6, 2009 at 12:41 — Reply

    The EDL were protesting against Islamic extremism.

    Therefore, anybody who was protesting against the EDL, is clearly in favour of Islamic extremism.

    Also, 11 people were arrested, but none of the reports have clearly stated which protest group the arrested people belong to. From this, we can only assume that it wasn’t the EDL, otherwise all the left-wing gutter rags would be very quick to point out that they were.

  25. Alex
    December 6, 2009 at 12:46 — Reply

    I want to just corroborate what both Nick A and APS have said, because I too was there. The EDL,had spent most of the afternoon holed up inside The Bank pub drinking. They then proceeded to shout racist abuse at an Asian guy (calling him p*ki). Understandably, a group of Asian guys who were with the protest didn’t take too kindly to this kind of language and defended themselves by shouting back and then physically confronting the EDL members (who were getting ready to fight). This, of course, hasn’t been reported in the mainstream press, as if those ‘group of students waving pakistani flag’ they vaguely allude to had suddenly appeared from nowhere to cause ‘trouble’. The EDL also put a couple of protesters in hospital, after leaping out of The Walkabout pub to attack groups of Asian people and protesters but this has also missed the mainstream press view. Similar things occurred around the train station. The EDL are drunken racist louts shouting abuse – football hooligans of the worst kind. Thankfully local people (and it wasn’t just UAF, who were actually incredibly useless – calling the demo over when a hundred yards away at Walkabout people were being beaten) either under their own steam or as part of non-UAF associated local organisation like Notts Stop The BNP made it quite clear they were not welcome. The crowd against them was wonderfully diverse (people of all ages, races, colour and religions) and showed just how worthless the EDL are.

  26. Angoora Begum
    December 6, 2009 at 12:50 — Reply

    The worrying thing is, are we as a country at war with one another?
    EDL, BNP and so on are not running the show it is indeed Gordon Brown and his party. Nothing takes place without Mr Gordon Brown knowing about it. What are the motives? Fear perhaps? I have nothing against antifascists if anything I am one but by choosing to protest in the way that they do are they not causing more fear amongst the public. We all know what fear eventually turns into hate!

    It almost feels like war in this country relating racism is inevitable. This is worrying

  27. Alex
    December 6, 2009 at 12:52 — Reply

    Just for the record, this is what the people holed up inside The Bank pub were waving about – http://thelinc.co.uk/2009/12/hooligans-and-anti-fascist-protesters-could-clash-at-edl-demonstration/

    See the top left corner. National Front, British National Party, Combat 18? And these aren’t racists?

  28. Dave R
    December 6, 2009 at 13:16 — Reply

    I have mixed feelings about what happened yesterday. In a democracy people are and should be allowed to air their views. Those who disagree with those views are and should be allowed to oppose them. However, what we are witnessing here are two polarised groups, both with their own prejudices, equally as obnoxious, equally as small-minded (see some of the stereotype bashing in above comments from people who would probably call themselves right-thinking individuals).
    I’m not sure what the solution is as there is always something to blame and someone who’ll have an extreme viewpoint.
    The EDL/UAF ‘roadshow’ has now sucked in scum on both sides who see their ‘events’ as opportunities to cause trouble. You can’t tell me that some of the youths on the UAF ‘side’ who were running around throwing missiles were doing so purely because they were politically incensed. They were hooligans, plain and simple, attracted by the media build up and the chance of a bit of excitement. Equally, the EDL has a core of people whose intention isn’t simply to put forward an opinion in a law abiding manner.
    Stalemate.
    Should these demonstrations be allowed to continue? I don’t think s0; they achieve very little, cost a huge amount to police, increase prejudice levels from all concerned, give the media a sensational story and added airtime for talking heads with dubious agendas.
    Time for all sides to review their tactics I’d say.

  29. James
    December 6, 2009 at 13:19 — Reply

    Interesting perspectives here with a clear clash between the EDF supports, who appear to be intent of revealing themselves as the racist muppets they are (in contrast with their offical propoganda about being soley against ‘Islamic Extremism’) and a few more radical UAF members.

    Now I’ll be honest, I asn’t at the protest today and I congratulate Dave in writing a fairly balanced artical but from reports I’ve heard it was the EDF who where the primary instignators of any violence and it was e EDF who attempted to assult a couple of Asian and black protestors.

    Just a few points; first off these sorts of protests (or as one poster calls them ‘riots’) are nothing new and are certainly not a recent symptom of multi-cultural government. Such clashes have taken place for hundreds of years in the UK; from the Bradford Riots, the Miners Strike, Polls tax riots, Hyde Park Riots, Tolpuddle, protests against workhouses, facist marches in the East End, General strike and so forth. Indeed, this appears to have been a largely peaceful protest.

    Toby, if only that where so, sadly the EDF’s own members on this site and their actions on the protest (as well as typically over-stated fears about ‘Sharia Law’ and Britian becoming Islamic) show that they are protesting against all forms of Islam and immigration in general. Not to mention the BS abour reclaiming their own country and that…

    bobboly baloxy, hate to say it but thats totally false about slavery. Slavery existed in pretty much all civilisations until the 18th Century, either in its guise of fudalism or as direct slavery and it certainly wasn’t limited to Islamic regimes. Rome, Britian, Germany, Russia (Until 1916), Byzantium, China, most African states and so on all practiced slavery. As for left wing papers; As our only genuinly left wing mainstream papers are The Guardian, The Mirror and The Inderpendent as compared with The Telegraph, Mail, Express, Times and so forth I doubt we have a left wing media. Lets consider the news channels as well; their are very few mainstream ones with anything close to a left wing agenda.

    Lee, wow. I’ve never seen a post which is quite such a mix of paranoia and sheer rubbish. You seriously think UAF members had tried to infiltrate the EDF march? You seriously think that the UAF is anything to do with Europe? Good grief…

  30. Alex
    December 6, 2009 at 13:20 — Reply

    Ignore “Angoora Begum”, I can’t help but think they have no experience of what happened? What do you mean by the “antifascists […] but by choosing to protest in the way that they do are they not causing more fear amongst the public”. What I saw is a group of local people peacefully standing (with a few scuffles, of self-defence started by the EDL) up for their city against people largely coming from outside.

    All I saw was the EDL shouting racist abuse, getting drunk and throwing stuff at people of other races and cops.

  31. December 6, 2009 at 13:26 — Reply

    Toby, the reason why the affiliation of the 11 arrested hasn’t been stated is because the police didn’t disclose that information when they made their statement. I can only assume that the national press, like Impact, doesn’t want to speculate.

    Alex, you may have been there but from your posts you’re evidently coming at it from one particular standpoint. There’s obviously nothing wrong with that, you’re entitled to your view, but I felt that emphasis in this article needed to be placed on the fact that both groups were provocative, belligerent and occasionally violent yesterday.

    The group to which you refer was one that I had been following earlier in the day, after I had noticed them shouting at and scuffling with police near Friar’s Lane. This, notably, was a large distance away from any EDL protesters at the time, prompting one of my colleagues to ask why they seemed to be getting aggressive with people on their own ‘side’ as it were. As pointed out in the article, this group then exploited a gap in police lines to run at the EDL members outside The Bank as soon as the opportunity presented itself. I myself heard the ‘Paki’ incident, but this came after they originally broke away from the police. You are presenting it essentially as if a group of previously inert protesters were then abused by the EDL and needed to defend themselves – it was quite clearly not as simple as that.

    It seemed important to note in this article that provocation was forthcoming from elements on both sides of the divide. While it hasn’t really been reported on in the national media, projectiles were thrown principally from the UAF’s side of the police cordon. I stood next to one young teenager who threw a sign which then took the wind, blew back and hit me in the face. One of my colleagues was also hit by a missile thrown from the UAF side. While objects were thrown from within the EDL ranks, nowhere near as many were thrown. Both sides were guilty of covering their faces, and so impeding the police’s work in identifying potential troublemakers.

    Besides the police, who behaved proportionally whenever I saw them (special mention to the officer who was hit square on the head by a full can of drink, I can’t say I would have retained my cool under those circumstances), very few people or groups came out with much credit from the incident outside The Bank.

  32. Daniel
    December 6, 2009 at 13:33 — Reply

    It’s important that these protests were allowed to go ahead, everyone is entitled to their own opinion under the human right of free speech.

    However I’m not really sure of what the EDL message really is, they claim to be peacefully protesting against “Militant Islam” and the threat of terrorism, yet yesterday (and this has been widely reported) they could be heard chanting “We want our country back!”

    Back from whom exactly?

    Surely Britain’s protest against “Militant Islam” started in 2001 and has continued ever since when we invaded Afghanistan. The war might be questionable in terms of why we are there but the reasons of being there were in reaction to terrorist plots and the threat of it from a very minor group of people who’ve taken a very misinterpreted view of the Koran.

    I’ve been viewing a few videos of yesterdays protest (from both UAF and EDL) on YouTube and the supporters of the EDL don’t really seem to understand the views of their own faction. I’ve seen videos that contain direct references to BNP campaign posters and slogans and this is coming from a group that say they have no affiliation with the BNP?

    I’m not defending the views of the EDL, I quite oppose them, however I can’t help but feel it is a group that has a confused identity. There are probably a few core members that align directly with the message they want to spread, but others who joined in yesterdays march were in no way towing the “party line” as it were.

  33. Vincent Bate
    December 6, 2009 at 13:35 — Reply

    APS- You sneerningly refer to Morris dancing, the traditional and unreasonably much maligned English dance and mention it alongside the very modern, multicultural and hollow “British” X-Factor. Isn’t that racist? Wouldn’t I an Englishman be pillioried for denigrating Asian dance forms? Pray tell-what’s the difference?

  34. Vincent Bate
    December 6, 2009 at 14:05 — Reply

    And just to mention the EDL; their apparent main crime in the eyes of the multiculturalists of the “UK” is to be English, white and working-class, to be fed-up with being treated as third-raters and sacrificial lambs to multiracialism in their native homeland, and not prepared to take it anymore. How awful!

  35. Alex
    December 6, 2009 at 14:20 — Reply

    I don’t think I gave the impression that the group were ‘inert’, but was describing the specifics of the ‘group of Asian students’ described in the national press. I clearly stated that they were protesting, and they weren’t a ‘splinter’ group. The flash point was the racial abuse, but the EDL had been assembled outside The Bank shouting and waving a flag (which had UVF – BNP/NF logos on it) all day. The police lines had not formed at the point they rushed towards the EDL. I know this because I was moving across the road towards them myself and got pushed back by the police and separated from my friends. At this risk of sounding harsh, it is you who believe the EDL are ‘inert’ and that they were quietly drinking in The Bank before those nasty ‘youths’ came along and broke police lines – whereas the reality is many of the people leaving the UAF kettle off Maid Marian way were going to confront the shouting flag wavers of the EDL. You seem to be giving the impression the EDL are ‘good lads’ minding their own business, but they weren’t at any point – they were loud, hooligans who had been drinking all day (unlike ANY member of the counter-protest) who were intent on trouble.

    You should look at the videos on Youtube which show how the EDL were acting away from market square. The Bank incident was not the whole of the day – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGx2HbDqWNY – I don’t think Impact were watching the main of the EDL shout “let’s have ourselves a riot”, attack police lines, hurl stuff around including glasses and bottles. Throughout the day, taken as a whole, it is not the case that “projectiles were thrown principally from the UAF’s side of the police cordon” as this video clearly shows.

    Check the police website. The affiliation of those arrested is quite clear from their statements – it was the EDL. Have you not read them? For example, one EDL member was arrested after kicking a police dog. Google ‘operation birdcall nottingham’. Also, the demonstration was largely Notts Against The BNP in it’s official organisation, not simply the UAF.

    Your article and subsequent comment gives the misleading impression that ‘both sides were in the wrong’, as if the situation were balanced. Of course there were scuffles on both sides, but, it is not the case that on the day there were two equally “provocative, belligerent and occasionally violent” ‘sides’. I am more than capable of suspending my own to see this, that, taken globally, it was the EDL who caused the most trouble and any trouble from the other side was the result of their own provocation. Maybe Impact should spread its reporters a little more throughout the city so it can witness the EDL shout “who the fuck is Allah”, “we want our country back” etc outside the pubs by the wharf outside The Company Inn then proceed to rush police lines, and throw stuff?

    You should also consult those who were sent to hospital as a result of the EDL attacking people outside Walkabout, which seems to actually be the most violent incident of the day. As well as EDL members attacking protesters on the road by Zara leading up to Goose Gate until the police had to drag them up the street.

  36. Alex
    December 6, 2009 at 14:26 — Reply

    All this said, so far, this is the best article about events I have seen. I am glad you mentioned the UAF on the square were respectful of the Mercian march past. A lot of the EDL propaganda depends on them not being, but they were. But to leave the whole wharf angle out of the story, where the main body of the EDL were throughout the day is a stunning omission (not unnoticed, by, say, Sky News).

  37. Daniel
    December 6, 2009 at 14:38 — Reply

    I was stopped going into town (I live just off Castle Boulevard) and had to find an alternative route in to do some festive shopping.

    The problem with the EDL and most probably the UAF is they’re effectively just umbrellas for other more extreme factions of opinion, it’s pretty obvious that the EDL is being used as a vehicle for football hooligans and extreme right wing organisations to get their views spread under the guise of “peaceful protest against militant islam.”

  38. Alex
    December 6, 2009 at 14:42 — Reply

    Another quick video of the EDL attacking the police – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8MR5kfoMLc

  39. Rosalia
    December 6, 2009 at 15:00 — Reply

    I was there, the UAF were entirely peaceful throughout, there was only one scuffle bred of confusion after the police kettled us all in and some people wanted to leave and get lunch. We marched as a counter to the EDL, our protest had nothing to do with the troops, the date was chosen by the EDL (no doubt to cooencide with the soldiers).
    And as for covering faces, well. Why should people be filmed and blacklisted as potential trouble makers for protesting their beliefs? It is our right to protest, and there is no law on covering your face… although if the EDL had their way there probably would be, because they are ultimately a bunch of drunken facist idiots who still fancy Britain some great global empire. They choose to use Muslims as a scapegoat for all the things that are going wrong in this country. That is why the UAF’s main point was ‘Jobs and homes, not racism’.

  40. bobboly baloxy
    December 6, 2009 at 15:09 — Reply

    Alex you are wrong about the edl being holed up in the bank before the event i saw them personally 400+ assembling outside the pub next to the canal, also the edl were asked not to assemble on market square but refused, the edl complied liar, also uaf disrespected war heroes on another occasion when edl had two minute silence, (see youtube edl)Its a good thing that commies like you arent writing the news ( oops i forgot, they are

  41. December 6, 2009 at 15:18 — Reply

    I don’t take kindly to being told what I do or do not believe, Alex. My article directly contradicts the claim that I have said that the EDL members were “quietly drinking in The Bank” – I specifically pointed out that there was in fact a large group of EDL congregating outside the pub. Scroll up and check, if you like. At no point have I referred to them as ‘good lads’.

    The reason why we focussed on the Bank incident was that it makes sense to tell the story which nobody else is telling – that’s what good journalism is. I could have given a play-by-play of the whole day, but I suspect it would have been rather too long for consumption. Just as I could have talked about the racist abuse coming from the EDL, I could have also reflected on some of the more tasteful chants coming from the counter-protesters. “Fascist Scum, Fuck Your Mum” was a particular highlight.

    You talk about ‘the wharf angle’ – it’s already pointed out in the article that the EDL conflicted with police. Maybe I could have been more vehement about it, but I think the point is clearly made that they aren’t exactly virtuous flowerchildren.

    On the subject of police statements, I’m not sure how you’ve managed to read ‘EDL’ from the following:

    “Eleven men were arrested on suspicion of minor public order offences. One of them was taken to hospital for treatment. He is believed to have kicked a police dog, who then bit him.”

    Whether an impression was given that those arrested were EDL or not, the police had not said officially who had been arrested at the time of the article publication (I’m not sure whether they have now. If they have, feel free to link me to it). We therefore have no right, in our informative capacity, to speculate on it.

    The situation was reported as my and my colleagues saw it. Nowhere has it been said that the scale of violence or provocation on either side was equal. I’m not sure you can have some kind of mathematical system of equality when it comes to this kind of thing.

    I take umbrage with the fact that you’re accusing me personally of sympathising with the EDL in this article. Is this argument polarised to such a degree that attempting merely to report the truth actually puts you in the EDL camp? As you yourself point out, I reported the fact that the UAF kept quiet during the army’s parade. I’m surprised, therefore, that you’re still saying that I have tried to bias the article against them. I refuse to accept that we are either with one particular side, or against it.

    Let’s make no bones about it. You’re accusing me of both biased and incompetent journalism in your comment, but in reality you’re criticising me for not reporting it from the angle that you want it reported. I faced a similar mentality when I reported at the Israeli Ambassador protest, where one of the older members of the protest group (I think I saw him again yesterday, looking back on it) said that I was either “one of the oppressed, or an oppressor”. Dealing in such moral absolutes, I’ve found, is the preserve of such protest groups – it’s not something I, as a reporter, subscribe to.

    Rosalia, a quick point of information – The main criticism for covering faces was from the police towards the EDL protestors, as pointed out in the article. That said, I did notice it among pretty much every group yesterday. The EDL have stated, if i remember correctly, that they did indeed choose the day of the march to coincide with the army parade.

  42. bobboly baloxy
    December 6, 2009 at 15:22 — Reply

    I wish i knew who the heroic edl man was who led the charge against the cowardly mussie and black gang who had sneaked around the back, it was an uplifting experience seeing them run for their lives i would buy him a pint every day til christmas. ps the edl were leaving the back way and were entirely not at fault

  43. Alex
    December 6, 2009 at 15:25 — Reply

    It took all of two seconds for me to bring you out as an EDL supporter bobboly baloxy, much to my complete and total lack of surprise. The UAF were entirely respectful to the Mercians marching past, as this article notes, indeed, many of them politely clapped. As I pointed out above, the EDL were all over the wharf, drinking and fighting the police.

    As for the supposedly ‘interrupted’ two minute silence in Manchester – a salacious piece of EDL propaganda – how precisely were the UAF supposed to know you were observing silence for the soldiers considering you were all gathered around in your little circle having your “speeches”? Regardless, even if they had known, why would they want to respect your “silence” in any case? I presume you don’t respect the Muslim soldiers who have died for the UK, since they are potential terrorists anyway.

  44. Angoora Begum
    December 6, 2009 at 15:26 — Reply

    Alex..ignor Angoora Begum? i am what some would call a paki…i dont want violence on my door step thank you very much. Its about time antifacists groups and government came up with alternative soloutions relating protests. How dare you make this personal, i am the only non white person who said what i did from a foriners point of view..are we at war?

  45. Angoora Begum
    December 6, 2009 at 15:33 — Reply

    To Alex what are you? somone who would most likely call me a paki perhaps?..So you dont want or respect a pakis point of view?

  46. bobboly baloxy
    December 6, 2009 at 15:45 — Reply

    Angoora and ali
    just wanted to say that i sympathise also with moderate muslims who are often more oppressed by the fundamentalists than infidels during the muslim inquisition

  47. Alex
    December 6, 2009 at 15:49 — Reply

    Dave Jackson

    First a word of apology. I apologise if my criticism was over the top, and I am not saying you are a bad journalist. As I said, and will repeat, this is the best article on the subject available. This is praise! This means you are better than The Mail, the Guardian, The Independent and the Telegraph! Let us take a step back, consider that I said this despite criticising it, and I hope therefore you will see that you do not need to take it so personally. I am not accusing you of tacitly supporting the EDL, but simply not giving the full range of facts, or emphasising where the most major flashpoint arose. Now onto what you are saying here.

    The overwhelming impression of the article and subsequent comments by yourself is that this is a clash between two rival and equally violent groups. I am glad you admit this was not the case. Yet I do think you have downplayed or omitted the wharf angle, as it is not mentioned in the main story above. This strikes me as odd, as it was in fact where the vast majority of EDL supporters were for most of the day. The 40 or so outside the bank was a side-show to the hundreds EDL members rushing police lines there.

    As for the police reports, I am talking about those earlier on in the day – http://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/newsandevents/news/2009/december/05/operation_birdcall_update_4/ I think the ‘side’ is fairly clear, and Sky News called it. I understand if you editorially might not want to, but I don’t think it is too big a leap of logic, considering there are photos of arrests of EDL members online.

    I would be glad to argue with you all day about journalistic objectivity, but I will make two quick points and I hope you will take them in the spirit they are intended, which is not antagonistic. Naturally, the attitude you encountered at the ambassador protest is absurd but in seeking journalistic objectivity, one should be aware that one’s own perspective is not without bias. Often such a perspective serves only to enforce the status quo.

  48. bobboly baloxy
    December 6, 2009 at 15:56 — Reply

    Dave uaf commie Alex would not be happy unless your article was along the lines of “EDL stage mass baby barbecue on market square”

  49. Alex
    December 6, 2009 at 15:58 — Reply

    Angoora Begum,

    I apologise if you think that I am disrespecting your perspective because of your colour. This was not my intention. But your post implied that the anti-fascists were making the situation worse and heightening racial tension, which from my experience of yesterday, was not the case, but it was far more the case that it among the protesters it brought more racial solidarity. I understand that you fear increased racial tension, we all do. Perhaps if you think you are on the side of the anti-fascists you should get involved in their organisation, to ensure that opposition to the likes of the EDL is not counterproductive as you fear?

  50. imaginarynumber
    December 6, 2009 at 15:59 — Reply

    zaksharin will you please not use the P word- it is rather offensive.

    Whilst I defend your right to your opinion you have to conceed that to many others it does fall into the realms of cloak and dagger.

  51. Alex
    December 6, 2009 at 16:01 — Reply

    bobboly baloxy

    “cowardly mussie and black gang”? Mussie? Really?

  52. Angoora Begum
    December 6, 2009 at 16:04 — Reply

    Alex this is what you said at 12;46; ‘Understandably, a group of Asian guys who were with the protest didn’t take too kindly to this kind of language and defended themselves by shouting back and then physically confronting the EDL members (who were getting ready to fight). This, of course, hasn’t been reported in the mainstream press,’ then you go onto say at 1;20; ‘ignor Angoora Begum’ ‘What I saw is a group of local people peacefully standing’ . My question stands what are you?

  53. December 6, 2009 at 16:07 — Reply

    I just want to point out that the first 50 comments haven’t been lost, the site has just moved onto page 2!

  54. Alex
    December 6, 2009 at 16:10 — Reply

    Local people can quite easily be Asian too. I don’t see your point. I can’t quite see your point.

  55. Angoora Begum
    December 6, 2009 at 16:32 — Reply

    Alex i dont know if the message at 4;10 was for me but as an Asian and a muslim it is now more than ever before worring times..our youngters dont know whether to hate white people or not..because of what they see on the news and what they read. The problems are violence on our streets relation to racism and religion, what would a child say about this protest? they are not focused on what really happened they scan and see and hear one word ‘racism’ they want to understand but are too young to understand. By allowing these types of protests children are being exposed to racism and naturally they only understand their own race. These protests may may have worked in the passed but sociaty has moved on and children are much smarter and clued up now than before. Any form of violence including verbal abuse is a violation and deemed as offensive that leads to fear and hate. All i am saying is it needs to stop, antifasist groups and government need to find other alternative.

  56. Alex
    December 6, 2009 at 16:45 — Reply

    Angoora Begum

    I understand your point and agree that the deeper roots of racism and Islamophobia need to be tackled. But what I was trying to point out was that those opposing the EDL were multi-racial.

  57. Mahsa
    December 6, 2009 at 16:56 — Reply

    Angoora, you seem to be assuming that because Alex is possibly white, he is automatically a racist – bit of a leap of logic there surely?!

    While street protests aren’t necessarily that effective, it is a legal right – and if the anti-fascist groups hadn’t been there then it would only have been the EDL – and that would have been much worse as it would show that no one cared enough to stand up to them! Yes the protests sparked some violence and verbal abuse but it’s important that the people of Nottingham show the EDL that their views will not be tolerated here!

    Plus I think the comment that children “only understand their own race” is ridiculous. Racism is imposed on children, not inherent – little kids notice race far less than adults!

  58. Angoora Begum
    December 6, 2009 at 16:57 — Reply

    Alex, this is another problem that no one is actually dealing with..people are far too busy focusing on BNP and so on. There are Asain racist, there are Black racist, there are many Black and Asain people who dont like Black and Asain people that concider themselves to be British. Yes it is confusing but these issues need to be addressed in an apropriate manner and government need to deal with it. I am not keen on antifascist groups for this reason.

  59. Angoora Begum
    December 6, 2009 at 17:07 — Reply

    Alex, How do you know those opposing EDL are not racists themselves? you, i will never know therefore it is best protests stay off our streets, all it take is one spark…and thats it!

  60. Alex
    December 6, 2009 at 17:14 — Reply

    Angoora Begum

    I’m assuming that the groups opposing EDL aren’t racist because they were a combination of many different races working together. Plus I was there, and saw no evidence to the contrary. I do understand what you are trying to say though, that racism must be dissolved regardless of its source, and I am sure no one on the antifascist side would disagree.

  61. Angoora Begum
    December 6, 2009 at 17:18 — Reply

    Marsh let me correct you the question ‘what are you?’ was because of Alex’s statement of witnessing violence then retracting after insulting me. i do not agree with violence or verbal abuse on our streets. Everyone is entitled to there own opinion. Have you had a child say why are they always saying bad things about muslims? after watching the news? then later make a funny statement oh thats what is rascim! I dont think you have and i hope you never do.

  62. Angoora Begum
    December 6, 2009 at 17:25 — Reply

    Sorry Marsha i miss spelt your name accept my apology

    let me correct you the question ‘what are you?’ was because of Alex’s statement of witnessing violence then retracting after insulting me. i do not agree with violence or verbal abuse on our streets. Everyone is entitled to there own opinion. Have you had a child say why are they always saying bad things about muslims? after watching the news? then later make a funny statement oh thats what is rascim! I dont think you have and i hope you never do

  63. APS
    December 6, 2009 at 17:35 — Reply

    Racism, like many complicated concepts, has a range of meanings and those meanings are tied to particular kinds of problems and power structures. There is certainly a kind of “reactive” racism that can be found in minority communities, and these need to be addressed but they need to be addressed primarily from within the community itself as an internal healing process (and, you do get these sorts of things going on in Hyson Green, before some EDL-knuckle dragger says something about Muslims not protesting against extremism). When you look at the roots of this kind of racism, however, you see that it is a response of those with less power against a structure that appears to hold power over their lives. It is, in that way, understandable while still requiring attention and internal community action to get rid of it. At heart, this sort of racism won’t result in mass violence against majority, in this case white people.

    Then there is the racism represented by the EDL, racism of the majority against a minority. In this case the violence is not reactive in the same sense as the racism of the minority, but is obscure racism. It clouds over the real problems facing the majority, in this case a lack of jobs and social security. Instead of turning that anger towards the real problem they obscure the problem by turning it towards a minority that they take to be the cause of the problem, when in reality the problem is shared by both the white majority and the minority they blame. The fact is you can’t call the hooligans of the EDL “working-class”, most aren’t workers, but they are an excluded class within the majority.

    One of these kinds of racism is more dangerous to the other, as it is the racism of the majority which can inflict further violence on the minority thereby enacting the racism of the minority. In terms of this relationship the problem begins in the racism of the majority (while its real cause is to be found at a deeper level that has so far not been talked about in this discussion).

  64. Angoora Begum
    December 6, 2009 at 17:42 — Reply

    Alex
    Maybe its the photographers fault! ‘combination of many different races working together’ I dont see that in the pictures.
    Its been interesting

  65. December 6, 2009 at 18:01 — Reply

    APS – I’m interested to know what you mean by ‘racism of the majority’. I assume you’re not trying to say that the EDL is a majority group (obviously not true), instead saying that it’s racism carried out by a group within the majority ethnicity.

    The problem with your argument is that it seems to be hinting at an inherent racism within the power structures of the nation. Whether Britain as a whole is or is not institutionally racist, this isn’t the same racism as that espoused by the EDL.

    If you’re saying that the EDL’s racism is more dangerous, then be sure to qualify that with an understanding that the EDL is a small minority group, not a majority. If you’re trying to say that the UK is institutionally racist, then I think that’s a different argument to the one being had over the EDL.

  66. Vincent Bate
    December 6, 2009 at 18:37 — Reply

    Another “democratic” site that deletes posts when they get too near the un-pc truth. No suprise there then!

  67. December 6, 2009 at 18:51 — Reply

    As far as I’m aware, Vincent, we haven’t been deleting any posts. To what do you refer?

  68. Angoora Begum
    December 6, 2009 at 19:02 — Reply

    Mahsa
    you stated ‘little kids notice race far less than adults’. I agree but who is talking about ‘Little kids’?
    You also stated ‘Angoora, you seem to be assuming that because Alex is possibly white, he is automatically a racist – bit of a leap of logic there surely?!’-Sorry Mahsa i couldnt resist but i had to inform you Alex has a picture of himself next to his messages!
    You also stated ‘it is a legal right – and if the anti-fascist groups hadn’t been there then it would only have been the EDL’ protests cannot take place without permission.
    This event only occured in Nottingham. What did the British public say about BNP Nick Griffin attending BBC Question time? Majority of the British public said Gordon Brown should not have allowd this event to take place..the public are sick and tired of seeing and hearing about negative racist groups putting fear into our lives. Perhaps the law needs to be changed, isnt there one where promoting hate crime is against the law? Why were EDL there in the first place? and why didnt antifascist groups takle this in a legal manner rather than a protest.

  69. Albert Wallace
    December 6, 2009 at 19:35 — Reply

    I believe that Vincent is referring to his and others comments disappearing. Unfortunately this website only 50 comments at a time to be displayed and when this cap is reached, the previous 50 are ‘lost’, whether they are deleted or just not shown, I am not certain of. One thing I can say with confidence, is that your comments, and those of others have not been intentionally removed.

  70. December 6, 2009 at 19:37 — Reply

    Ah, fair enough. Rest assured the comments all still exist. I’ll see whether there’s anything that can be done about showing them!

  71. imaginarynumber
    December 6, 2009 at 19:40 — Reply

    me thinks that Vincent is referring to the disappeared posts.

    If this is page 2, how does one get to page 1?

    I can see no links and the url doesn’t have any clues

  72. imaginarynumber
    December 6, 2009 at 20:08 — Reply

    Angoora Begum-“our youngters dont know whether to hate white people or not.”

    Whilst I sympathise with your points I find the above rather worrying.

    If the youngsters to whom you refer base their opinions solely on what they see on the news then this implies that they have very little experience of dealing with other peoples. Perhaps their parents should adopt a less insular approach- I accept that there are some areas with a higher proportion of red necks than others, I also accept that virtually all countries are institutionally racist to some degree. That said though the majority of Britons are decent people

  73. John F
    December 6, 2009 at 20:09 — Reply

    APS: Not sure I agree with the over-neat distiction between majority / minority racism. This assumes that minority identities are formed only in white majority societies. Rather there are both historical legacies and transnational influences too. Arabic racism towrads black Africans, Indian anti-Muslim communalism, Pakistani attitudes towards people of African-Caribbean heritage etc.

    But for sure, as a white person in a white majority society my responsibilities have to start from an understanding of the dominant power relations that prevail in that society.

    Not sure why you think the EDL are not really working class / are the excluded within the majority. My understanding is those involved in hooligan football firms are by ordinary standards not bad off, ‘casual’ gear isn’t cheap. I think we need to do some thinking work here. The standard line that the EDL comprise a clever core and a manipulated, thick majority is premature, as well in a sense patronising. Certainly the left find it difficult to accept that reasonably well-off [by ordinary standards] and reasonably intelligent working class blokes could be violent right wingers by choice. This contradicts the theology of the left.

    Again not sure the issue is simply jobs and security. Globlisation and its associated transformations have eroded white working class culture in the UK as much as traditional cultures in the under-developed world. Interestingly. cosmopolitan liberals welcome the former [too close to home], whilst agonise over the [exotic, distant] other. Warts and all, I think there is an issue of cultural recognition here. The global-orientated elite love the spice of m-culturalism but despise the flesh and blood working person; the left often follow suit.

    Somehow we need to revive a working class politics in which a pragmatic jobs and security platform enable practical solidarities which in turn allow for new cross-cultural dialogues to go on. I’m not sure that black and white unity will happen if we think that crap attitudes in minority communities are simply an expression of their relatively marginal status in white majority societies or that groups like the EDL represent the economically excluded.

    One of the things that interests me is the difference [if any] if any between the EDL and the BNP. There’s lots of speculation going on. I wonder whether there is a sense in which the EDL are ~ if not representative, at least more attuned to majority racism than the BNP ~ EDL’s singular obsession with Islam contrasts with the broader, more ideological obsession with whiteness by the BNP. Notwithstanding anti-black racism from the Race Riots to Stpehen Lawrence, there is more acceptance today that people of A-Carbn heritage can be genuinely ‘British’ than Muslims. A-c culture from reggae to homophobia has status amongst working class youngsters, 1:10 babies are brn into mixed race relationships etc, There are certainly black and mixed race youths amongst the football firms and EDL.

  74. John F
    December 6, 2009 at 20:12 — Reply

    APS: Not sure I agree with the over-neat distiction between majority / minority racism. This assumes that minority identities are formed only in white majority societies. Rather there are both historical legacies and transnational influences too. Arabic racism towrads black Africans, Indian anti-Muslim communalism, Pakistani attitudes towards people of African-Caribbean heritage etc.

    But for sure, as a white person in a white majority society my responsibilities have to start from an understanding of the dominant power relations that prevail in that society.

    Not sure why you think the EDL are not really working class / are the excluded within the majority. My understanding is those involved in hooligan football firms are by ordinary standards not bad off, ‘casual’ gear isn’t cheap. I think we need to do some thinking work here. The standard line that the EDL comprise a clever core and a manipulated, thick majority is premature, as well in a sense patronising. Certainly the left find it difficult to accept that reasonably well-off [by ordinary standards] and reasonably intelligent working class blokes could be violent right wingers by choice. This contradicts the theology of the left.

    Again not sure the issue is simply jobs and security. Globlisation and its associated transformations have eroded white working class culture in the UK as much as traditional cultures in the under-developed world. Interestingly. cosmopolitan liberals welcome the former [too close to home], whilst agonise over the [exotic, distant] other. Warts and all, I think there is an issue of cultural recognition here. The global-orientated elite love the spice of m-culturalism but despise the flesh and blood working person; the left often follow suit.

    Somehow we need to revive a working class politics in which a pragmatic jobs and security platform enable practical solidarities which in turn allow for new cross-cultural dialogues to go on. I’m not sure that black and white unity will happen if we think that crap attitudes in minority communities are simply an expression of their relatively marginal status in white majority societies or that groups like the EDL represent the economically excluded.

    One of the things that interests me is the difference [if any] if any between the EDL and the BNP. There’s lots of speculation going on. I wonder whether there is a sense in which the EDL are ~ if not representative, at least more attuned to majority racism than the BNP ~ EDL’s singular obsession with Islam contrasts with the broader, more ideological obsession with whiteness by the BNP. Notwithstanding anti-black racism from the Race Riots to Stpehen Lawrence, there is more acceptance today that people of A-Carbn heritage can be genuinely ‘British’ than Muslims. A-c culture from reggae to homophobia has status amongst working class youngsters, 1:10 babies are brn into mixed race relationships etc, There are certainly black and mixed race youths amongst the football firms and EDL etc.

  75. John F
    December 6, 2009 at 20:13 — Reply

    APS: Not sure I agree with the over-neat distiction between majority / minority racism. This assumes that minority identities are formed only in white majority societies. Rather there are both historical legacies and transnational influences too. Arabic racism towrads black Africans, Indian anti-Muslim communalism, Pakistani attitudes towards people of African-Caribbean heritage .

    But for sure, as a white person in a white majority society my responsibilities have to start from an understanding of the dominant power relations that prevail in that society.

    Not sure why you think the EDL are not really working class / are the excluded within the majority. My understanding is those involved in hooligan football firms are by ordinary standards not bad off, ‘casual’ gear isn’t cheap. I think we need to do some thinking work here. The standard line that the EDL comprise a clever core and a manipulated, thick majority is premature, as well in a sense patronising. Certainly the left find it difficult to accept that reasonably well-off [by ordinary standards] and reasonably intelligent working class blokes could be violent right wingers by choice. This contradicts the theology of the left.

    Again not sure the issue is simply jobs and security. Globlisation and its associated transformations have eroded white working class culture in the UK as much as traditional cultures in the under-developed world. Interestingly. cosmopolitan liberals welcome the former [too close to home], whilst agonise over the [exotic, distant] other. Warts and all, I think there is an issue of cultural recognition here. The global-orientated elite love the spice of m-culturalism but despise the flesh and blood working person; the left often follow suit.

    Somehow we need to revive a working class politics in which a pragmatic jobs and security platform enable practical solidarities which in turn allow for new cross-cultural dialogues to go on. I’m not sure that black and white unity will happen if we think that crap attitudes in minority communities are simply an expression of their relatively marginal status in white majority societies or that groups like the EDL represent the economically excluded.

    One of the things that interests me is the difference [if any] if any between the EDL and the BNP. There’s lots of speculation going on. I wonder whether there is a sense in which the EDL are ~ if not representative, at least more attuned to majority racism than the BNP ~ EDL’s singular obsession with Islam contrasts with the broader, more ideological obsession with whiteness by the BNP. Notwithstanding anti-black racism from the Race Riots to Stpehen Lawrence, there is more acceptance today that people of A-Carbn heritage can be genuinely ‘British’ than Muslims. A-c culture from reggae to homophobia has status amongst working class youngsters, 1:10 babies are brn into mixed race relationships etc. There are certainly black and mixed race youths amongst the football firms and EDL etc.

  76. Angoora Begum
    December 6, 2009 at 19:23 — Reply

    I dont know who sent the message not to use the P word but there is no diffrence whether one spells the word out or or not. The ‘p’ or p*** even the the term you used as the ‘p word’ it all means the same to us what makes it offencive is who said it and in what context it was said. this is somthing eles this country needs to address. Thank you for the warning! as i am a ***** myself.

  77. December 6, 2009 at 19:35 — Reply

    few more pics

  78. Alex
    December 6, 2009 at 20:15 — Reply

    Viz. the relation between the BNP, I think the EDL are actually in quite a complex relationship with them that is difficult to discern. Certainly there are elements of the far-right in the structure of the EDL (NF and BNP) and in their rank and file (just look at their facebook events to see them awash with BNP candidates and supporters), but I’d want to see a great deal more analysis before saying either way.

    Nice video of the EDL peacefully trying to tear down lampposts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzvj06Ngt98

  79. Angoora Begum
    December 6, 2009 at 20:34 — Reply

    imaginarynumber

    Exactly which is why i am worried about the future. Will probably be the only asain person to say it as it really is.

    Thank you for you comment, parents are partially to blame, but society and communities as a whole need to change. Everyone goes on about how we live in a multi cultural society when in fact a white family will have no Asian friends or even consider getting involved and enjoy community activities together. I worked in a school for a while, I heard a 6 year old girl say she didn’t want to be friends with another girl because she thought she was racist. Where is all that coming from? Instead of fighting and protesting why not encourage and implement community gatherings for all and engage racial groups with simple mucking around and fun to break these barriers.

  80. Angoora Begum
    December 6, 2009 at 20:35 — Reply

    imaginarynumber

    My reply to your comment at 8;08 has moved to 7;34. Im saying good night. I dont know about anyone eles but i am all for positivity! and will not aknowlege the negative or its actions anymore!
    Im going to continue celebrating all faiths and cultures, it means i can party at every occation. If the world wants to go crazy over constant negativity thats up to them.

  81. December 6, 2009 at 20:36 — Reply

    Times seem to have gone a bit squiffy. I’ve bumped your comment up to where it should be Angoora.

  82. APS
    December 6, 2009 at 20:37 — Reply

    Dave,

    I realize now you’re the author of the article. Wanted to say this is the most balanced account I’ve seen and the one that realizes objectivity does not mean reporting the many sides of a story as if they all had equal claim to being true. You appear to have done far more work than any of the major papers or news organizations.

    Thanks also for your question. Yes, I’m talking about the racism of the majority (ethnic group), but that racism finds more support in the power structure of the British state than the reactive racism of the minority. A good example can be seen in the Question Time where Nick Griffin appeared. While everyone else on the panel congratulated themselves for not being cretins like Griffin and the BNP, they nevertheless took up a racist discourse towards immigration. Because racism is itself an ‘obscure’ action, covering over the real economic and social problems, you will still get people of other races, but in different classes, participating in this structural aspect.

    I agree that the EDL is a minority, but it is a minority that appears to have some sympathy from your average middle-class English person. If you look at the rhetoric or self-presentation of the EDL (which is completely dismantedl by their actions which are completely racist) it mirrors most centre-right political positions (‘support the troops’, unilaterally pro-Israel, unilaterally pro-America, pro-immigration control, woman’s rights of a particular kind, etc.). These are complex issues, and I don’t want to distract us by trying to discuss each one individually, but each one allows a “reasonable” person to think they “have a point”, whereas if you suggest that asian kids “have a point” throwing cans of soda at people who have come to town specifically to intimidate them you have people from the majority try to talk to you about how there is racism on both sides. We can call this the meta-obscure politics of race in Britian.

    Finally, because some of that is dense, a good example of this was seen recently on Channel 4’s “The Event: How Racist are You?” where none of the white people could accept that modern day England was in any way racist. It was amazing, as someone from outside English culture (I’m not an ethnic minority though), to watch people who hold obviously racist positions, as manifest in what they said during the program, argue that there is no problem of racism to the point of derailing the entire project.

  83. Anti-fascist
    December 6, 2009 at 20:39 — Reply

    I’m afraid this report is inaccurate. All the drinks/bottles were thrown by EDL emerging from a heavy drinking bout in canalside pubs! I was there and saw them so I know this is a biased lie! Doubt, you’ll publish this comment in that case…

  84. Matthew Butcher
    December 6, 2009 at 20:43 — Reply

    After reading the mainstream press, and the Impact article, I thought it might be wise to make a few additional comments. As one of those protesting against the EDL, though thankfully not as part of the UAF, I managed to get a pretty good insight into what actually happened on the day.

    I have no doubt that a small bunch of EDL and UAF clowns did indeed throw bottles at each other, and i dearsay, the Police and i certainly don’t condone this. What I must point out is that any report which claims that the event went off peacefully, or ‘not that badly’ is indeed mistaken. I say at least two people get knocked out cold my member of the EDL, wrapped in England flags, coming out of pubs and attacking groups of protestors and young muslim boys. The Police, though happily encircling the larger groups, did not even seem to notice while a full blown street fight was taking place just outside Cookie Club round corner and then straight afterwards outside round the other corner. Young, angry asian boys were getting beating up after, rather foolishly approaching the EDL and chanting ‘Nazi Scum’ and other rather nonsensical things.

    I support these young asians who came out, though do not like their choice of words, as they are the ones the EDL are targeting. On a number of occasions I heard ‘fuck off paki scum’ and the like from the EDL, and it is not that suprising that these lads got riled up.

    I just wanted to make it quite clear that, despite the view from market square, the EDL were all over the city simply beating people up.

  85. marc
    December 6, 2009 at 20:50 — Reply

    i was there with the edl! we r not racist i am not racist!!! my wife is thai national.. how can i be racist.? just fed up with the crap we get in this country

  86. APS
    December 6, 2009 at 21:31 — Reply

    John,

    You raise a number of fair points. I am mostly talking about racism and social pressure between a majority group and a minority group, and what you’re describing requires its own analysis (though I’ll note some of it is simply a hold-over from this kind of structure in a different situation, i.e. tensions between British Pakistanis and British Indians). By all means, I say we better understand the structures of the EDL, BNP, and other new racist nationalism in order to better dismantle them!

    I admit that I was speculating on the class status of the EDL members. I get the sense though that many of them, especially the ones we confronted at The Bank, were not workers. I just don’t understand where people really work anymore in England, but that could be a failing on my part. More analysis is certainly required here. You think they’ll let me perform some surveys?

    Finally, I agree with you about the need for a cross-cultural working-class politics, but I’m not sure that disrespecting white British working class culture is the problem. I just don’t see what parts of their culture is missing now, except that there are more minority cultures they must interact with. I also am not a multicultural liberal. My own background is very working class, first generation to attend university (and many of my family have not even graduated from high school), and from that perspective I see many aspects of that culture that are highly destructive. I’m sure aspects of minority culture can see similar aspects within their own culture, but it seems important to recognize what we would like to see changed in the future and what change we can bring about in the present situation. No?

    Marc,

    What exactly are you fed up with that is the fault of Islam? Keeping in mind the founder of the EDL has said, on the radio, that every Muslim is essentially a terrorist. Or, wait, sorry let me translate that. And, sorry to say, if you support racist groups like the EDL it doesn’t matter who your wife is. I know a guy from my home town who is a black neo-Nazi. Weird things happen.

  87. Dave R
    December 6, 2009 at 21:50 — Reply

    Does questioning Islam make one a racist? How does that work?

  88. Protester
    December 6, 2009 at 22:34 — Reply

    Firstly Marc, my mother could be a chinese national throught a sheer fluke of birth when her father was stationed there with his family. So that could mean nothing.

    I was there in the market square protesting, with the UAF (clowns) although i was there as a member of Hope Not Hate and my Union (not all of us were “communists”). Where i was, which was next to the fountain surrounded by police, i couldn’t see any violence commited by the Anti-EDL protesters, however when reviewing the videos of the events on youtube i saw the people closer to the action be deliberately provocotive with chants such as “BNP Scum F*** Your Mum” and similar chants coming from the EDL. I have no doubt that both sides commited acts of violence against each other.

    The actual protest by UAF and friends were the ones surrounded by a ring of police and as far as i saw were non violent (in fact when we were on Friar Lane LMHR brought a sound system and we had a party). However fear of us turning violent meant that there were fewer police to seperate the EDL and the impromptu protests closer to them.

    I also saw UAF members cover their faces with scarves because of fear of ending up on websites such as Redwatch. If the EDL want the “Democract not theocracy” that they were chanting about why do they target and victimise those who are exercising their democratic rights to free speech and free protest?

    “Well, from what I’ve read here all the violence was predictably on the UAF side again. Leftwingers and clueless Uni students doing what they’re best at again.”

    Well i was one of those clueless Uni students refered to, I study politics and am politically active and I saw a few of my coursemates also out protesting. However does youth mean that we are clueless? Because that is what is implied by your comments.

    “Maybe its the photographers fault! ‘combination of many different races working together’ I dont see that in the pictures.”

    I can assure you that there were people of many races and ages working together. Infact when we were starting the march towards The Castle i had to reassure two young Asian girls (around 9 years old) that were marching with us and were afraid that they would get attacked if the EDL kicked off that they would be the ones most protected and gotten out of danger. They were not afraid of us causing violence, but that the EDL would attack us. The police were also very nice and friendly towards us and i very much respect their efforts to keep things calm and orderly.

  89. Angoora Begum
    December 7, 2009 at 00:08 — Reply

    Protester in responce to your message at 10;34

    I dont know why my comment about pictures was used to respond to marc? but, hay people are free to do what they want, right?

    You said; ‘i had to reassure two young Asian girls (around 9 years old) that were marching with us and were afraid that they would get attacked if the EDL kicked off ‘

    You do know the whole Asian community would have kicked off if these girls were hurt regardless whether they were being reasured by you or not. The question where were the parents would arrise? what were 9 year olds doing at an event that could possibly turn out to be a violent one? would you have taken reponsability if they were hurt?

    Do you think then we should encourage all children thoughout the country to get envolved in this type of aggression?

    Like i said before i have nothing against protesters or antifacist groups but there must be a better way of dealing with issues like this other than to demontrate and protest on the streets as in many cases has lead to some sort of abuse and violence.

    Even a little bit of abuse will turn into much more..there is already far too much hate in this country. Hate needs to stop, the causes and groups who trigger hate need to be stoped the government need to find another way.

  90. Libby
    December 7, 2009 at 00:36 — Reply

    I was at the Market Square/The Bank altercation and in that instance it certainly was mainly the anti-fascism side throwing things – Dave is right.

    I have a feeling that most of the Impact team were involved in the protest in this region, rather than seeing much of the events at the canalside – perhaps this explains the lack of coverage on the EDL’s behaviour there?

  91. Libby
    December 7, 2009 at 00:39 — Reply

    Having said that, I’ve just looked at the photos and there are plenty from the canalside EDL demonstration.

  92. Rob
    December 7, 2009 at 18:54 — Reply

    Anyone fancy protesting against the biggest racist of them all? The british state with their border controls, treatment of asylum seekers, police stop and searches, anti-terror laws and so on. EDL are small fry, its certainly not the NF of the 1970s.

  93. Dave R
    December 7, 2009 at 21:59 — Reply

    Rob, you really are naive. Have you travelled at all? Try living somewhere else, pretty much anywhere in these times of heightened tension and you’ll find that higher levels of security and other measures such as increased border monitoring are fairly standard.
    If you feel that all this is too oppressive stay at home and keep banging out the theory.

  94. Protester
    December 8, 2009 at 00:06 — Reply

    Angoora Begum
    Only the first bit was in response to Marc.

    Do you think then we should encourage all children thoughout the country to get envolved in this type of aggression?

    As I previously said I was with the non-violent group and we remained so, so those girls were not in any danger. The fear of danger was worse than the threat. However yes I believe that if someone feels strongly about an issue they should be allowed to take part regardless of their age. These girls were some of the people the EDL believe don’t belong in this country. Where their parents were I do not know, I assumed they were around as a peaceful demo tends to take on a family like atmosphere of unity.

    I myself was told to go back to where i came from, which mightily amused me as i am Nottingham born and bred. Before that my fathers side of the family have lived in yorkshire beyond records. So where was I supposed to go?

    And another thing that has been irritating me, all this stuff about imposing Sharia Law, due to the laws of Britain any changes to the law would have to go through both houses of parliament. And however strong the prosharia lobby became i doubt they could manage a majority in the House of Commons let alone manage to get it through the House of Lords.

  95. Mark
    December 8, 2009 at 00:34 — Reply

    I will no doubt be branded one but I am not a racist. I don’t hate people based on race, religion colour etc but I do believe that this country has allowed to many immigrants to settle and conflicts such as this are a result of that.

    In no way do I condone the actions of an extremist group like the EDL but being from a white working class background I can understand where they come from. I think part of the problem is a lack of understanding between the two sides. The majority of people in favour of immigration come from comfortable middle class backgrounds. Resultantly they don’t know what its like to lose your job due to being undercut by an immigrant, or to live in an area where ethnic minorities cause the crime rate to increase and are all to quick to cast people as racists.

    Most ethnic minorities live in poor areas and have limited opportunities, this isn’t because of their race it’s because our country simply has no opportunities to offer them. Thus we must introduce a cap on immigration so that the people who come in have clear roles to fill. Once that is done we can concentrate on easing the racial tensions which currently exist.

  96. Alex
    December 8, 2009 at 00:47 — Reply

    Dave R,

    I’ve travelled pretty widely in Europe and trust me, UK Border Controls are by far the most stringent.

    This needs to go to the nationals I think:

    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2009/12/442958.html

    The defenders of the UK relieve themselves on the wall of our castle. Louts.

  97. APS
    December 8, 2009 at 01:45 — Reply

    The sharia law thing is ridiculous and it needs to be highlighted more. Protesting Sharia law is about as useful as protesting Polish becoming the official language of England. It simply isn’t going to happen. Only a paranoid schizophrenic would think that there is a civil war going on where the unEnglish hordes were going to take political power.

    If you want to have a real impact on issues like honour killings then join with already existing organizations in the community, rather than getting together a group of 99% white men to get drunk and wander around the city centre looking for a fight. I’m forced to conclude by the very actions of the EDL that they aren’t really that concerned with anything of this sort.

  98. Angoora Begum
    December 9, 2009 at 11:08 — Reply

    A bit confused EDL are they anti Islamic or are they racist or both? I know a lot of muslims that do not want Sharia Law in this country including myself, it will be abused. You only need to take a look at the laws in this country and the latest MP Scandals. Law is always abused.

  99. December 9, 2009 at 14:10 — Reply

    You’re asking a very important question there Angoora, and it is one which applies to a variety of groups, such as the EDL and the BNP – just how much of what they say actually tallies with what they believe, and what they do? Doubtless there’s a mixture of views within the organisations themselves; indeed one of the criticisms of these groups has been a lack of ideological cohesion.

  100. paul
    December 9, 2009 at 15:16 — Reply

    I would like to comment on the above article and agree that it is extremely true and unbiased towards the events that happend on Saturday. I attended the demonstration on the edl side. The points i would like to make are

    1 i m a decendant of polish jews and not once at the demonstration did i hear any pro Nazi Views or chants

    2 The edl boys thought that some combat 18 lads had infiltrated the group and were promptly asked to leave the demonstration

    3 There was insulting chants made about the bnp and Nick Griffin. ( so not really sure where people are gettin the bnp link from)

    I attended the demonstration in protest to the treatment our boys received by the muslim extremists after there tour.
    If anybody making comments above feel that this was just and not absolutely disgusting then they obviously are not British

  101. Cardiff Jon
    December 9, 2009 at 15:34 — Reply

    I literally moved to Nottingham on the day of these “riots”, which, whilst being fairly low key thanks to a massive police presence, certainly gave the local news anchors something to report, other than speculation over Charlotte Church’s waist-size, which I’m used to in Wales.

    The point is, I’ve never seen race issues like this in Wales. Not that I’m suggesting it wouldn’t happen under different circumstances, I’m merely pointing out that it’s alien to me, even though there’s a lot of black and asian people in the capital.

    My main beef, however, isn’t with either side’s attempts to voice their respective opinions, it’s the fact that I feel completely left out of the ENGLISH Defence League’s entry policy.

    I’m a working class white man and I wish to pollute the streets and the blogosphere with my very own brand of disgusting, irrational, vile hatred of all things foreign. But alas, I am Welsh.

    How will I ever get my voice heard now?

    Who will protect the sewer system?

    Looks like I’m stuck with you lefties, where do I sign up?

  102. Alex
    December 10, 2009 at 19:34 — Reply

    I very much doubt people from Combat 18 had infiltrated the EDL march recognisably, though individual members might have been there. This is because C18 and the EDL don’t get along – apparently they had a meeting to discuss some kind of common basis for protest (which tells you a lot about EDL’s politics that they even considered and alliance) and a fight kicked off with one side of louts being beaten up. There are, however, members of the EDL involved with the National Front and and football hooliganism – http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/features/Businessman-bankrolls-street-army.php . There are all sorts of intricate political manoeuvres going on inside the EDL, the leadership being largely career fascists and racists and the membership being a motley crew of the same, football hooligans who are ‘patriotic’ (ie Casuals United, hooligan ‘firms’ united by the ‘casuals truce’) and people with average views to the right (ie Daily Mail type immigration stuff) to those opposed to extremist Islam to those who think extremist Islam is what all Muslims essentially believe. It’s a diverse bunch. It is most interesting when some EDL supporters suggest either joining with moderate Muslims or formerly rejecting the BNP and these suggestions are swiftly rejected by the leadership in a variety of ways under the rubric of remaining ‘apolitical’. Overall, their leadership is overtly or crypto-racist all the way down…

    PS If you want to protest Sharia law, there are, as Angoora Begum points out, plenty of Muslim and other groups who already do this…why not join one of them instead of braving the EDL who you don’t know are not dodgy?

  103. Alex
    December 10, 2009 at 19:40 — Reply

    I very much doubt people from Combat 18 had infiltrated the EDL march recognisably, though individual members might have been there. This is because C18 and the EDL don’t get along – apparently they had a meeting to discuss some kind of common basis for protest (which tells you a lot about EDL’s politics that they even considered and alliance) and a fight kicked off with one side of louts being beaten up. There are, however, members of the EDL involved with the National Front and and football hooliganism – http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/features/Businessman-bankrolls-street-army.php . There are all sorts of intricate political manoeuvres going on inside the EDL, the leadership being largely career fascists and racists and the membership being a motley crew of the same, football hooligans who are ‘patriotic’ (ie Casuals United, hooligan ‘firms’ united by the ‘casuals truce’ – firms being a recruiting ground for fascism for some time) and people with average views to the right (ie Daily Mail type immigration stuff) to those opposed to extremist Islam to those who think extremist Islam is what all Muslims essentially believe. It’s a diverse bunch but the real tell is that any formal negotiation with other groups is rejected by the leadership in a variety of ways under the rubric of remaining ‘apolitical’ – obscuring the real politics in an ideology of common-sense. Overall, I think a fair analysis shows their leadership is overtly or crypto-racist all the way down…but there membership is all over the place.

    If you want to protest Sharia law, there are, as Angoora Begum points out, plenty of Muslim and other groups who already do this…why not join one of them instead of braving the EDL who you don’t know are not dodgy?

  104. Roundthe Mountain
    January 1, 2010 at 17:47 — Reply

    Oh you won’t enjoy Sharia when it comes
    No you won’t enjoy Sharia when it comes
    Oh you’ll always live in fear and you’d better not be queer
    No you won’t enjoy Sharia when it comes.

    Oh you won’t enjoy Sharia when it comes
    No you won’t enjoy Sharia when it comes
    They’ll cut you in nasty places and they’ll cover up your faces
    No you won’t enjoy Sharia when it comes.

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