Tuesday, 23 July 2013

EDL Protests Cost Police Over £10m In Four Years

From EDL Review:

The BBC and various other news sources have reported that the cost of policing English Defence League (EDL) demonstrations is causing “considerable concern”, West Midland Police’s commissioner said recently.

And the BBC learned through a Freedom of Information request that policing EDLmarches in England has cost more than £10m over four years.

West Midlands Police has spent more than £500,000 on multiple protests, whilst Mr Jones said was putting a strain on the force’s budget.

“We find it grossly unhelpful that this group is coming to demonstrate here again. They are extremely unwelcome and it is likely to blow a very significant hole in the police budget,” Mr Jones said.

“We’ve had significant reductions in our budget and policing these demonstrations is a significant cost and strain on our already stretched budgets,” he said.

The remaining forces said they did not have to police any EDL demonstrations or could not provide a cost.

Bedfordshire Police recorded the highest cost of £2,447,172, followed by West Yorkshire Police at £1,911,088. This included the cost of officers’ overtime and of mutual aid - borrowing officers from other forces.

Now add on the costs to Birmingham -

More damage from the EDL

And what point was made exactly?


From Vice by By Simon Childs, Photos: Lee Harper:

You might have thought that the English Defence League had already sufficiently exploited Lee Rigby's murder for their own Islamophobic ends. But Tommy Robinson and his merry band of blinkered patriots have never been too bothered with decency, preferring instead to make Rigby a martyr in their fight against every Muslim man, woman and child currently raping and murdering their way through the UK.

On Saturday, a bunch of EDL trekked up to Birmingham to continue dancing on Rigby's grave. I went along to see if their dancing was as awkward and ungainly as it usually is.

EDL leader Tommy Robinson being escorted by security goons.

I arrived to find the EDL pouring out of a nightclub, spilling beer everywhere. This was presumably to the chagrin of the English Disco Lovers, a group that protests against the EDL by subverting their acronym and sending up their macho aggression by blasting the Village People at them.

Here, the vision of a genuine EDL disco was realised, and – shockingly – it wasn’t particularly pretty. In many ways it was probably familiar territory for the club, which looked like a regular stomping ground for any stag night making its way through Birmingham city centre. Only instead of groaning the lyrics to "Get Lucky" at anything resembling a skirt, this baying troop of Becks-fuelled bruisers were shouting, "Allah! Allah! Who the fuck is Allah?" at a group of Muslims milling about on the other side of the road. Judging by their response, it's likely that only one of those songs will ever be regarded as the feel good hit of any summer.

Someone also hurled a beer can at the assembled group of observers, prompting a round of, "Stick your fucking Islam up your arse!" The can missed its target and the EDL members were escorted away from the area by the police.

As you'd expect at an event staged by a large number of drunken bigots, the police presence was heavy. The EDL had been prevented from holding a proper march and instead allowed a static demonstration in a square located about 100 metres down the road from the club. Which was convenient, because – as is the case at any legitimate political rally – the location of the pre-lash venue dictates some very important details, like how many traveller tinnies you need to buy to keep you topped up for the walk.

On the way, a small number of people carrying Unite Against Fascism (UAF) banners managed to get within jeering distance and the usual insults were thrown. One EDL guy was also excitedly shouting "UAF UFO!", prompting sideways looks from antifa, his fellow racists, the police, myself, the other amassed journalists, passing children, passing dogs and anyone else who lacks the brainpower to make the link between opposing fascism and life on other planets.

Overall, the anti-fascist response was pretty muted, so the EDL decided to brawl with the police instead. This caped crusader slurred his anger at the cops like a race-hate superhero – Koranic verses his kryptonite, Stella pint cans and a rudimentary understanding of Islam his fighting fuel.

Upon entering the square, half of the crowd walked towards the stage, where the leadership were about to make their speeches. The other half rampaged towards the line of police and started larging it up while trying to push past the police line for no discernible reason, other than the fact that they love a bloody good dust up.

The police brought out the dogs in response, then the EDL started throwing missiles in the form of plastic cups of lager. The problem with them, though, is that they do absolutely no harm to your enemies, often while making you some new ones as you cover everyone around you in sticky Carling. A few people realised this and started to throw glass bottles or bricks instead.

What with the cops having truncheons and shields and combat training, a lot of the EDL members ended up battered and bleeding – like this gentleman, for example.

He wasn't happy.

When all the shouting and bottle throwing had died down a little, EDL leaders started to make their speeches. I didn’t hear them because I was on the other side of the square watching a large number of people who'd decided to keep confronting the cops. I also spent a large amount of that time being told to fuck off for being a journalist.

Those who were willing to have a chat with me seemed pretty confused. A 47-year-old solicitor called “Viking” told me that he objected to the fact that Kingsmill bread is halal; he was convinced that, as a Christian, this meant that he couldn’t eat it.

Another man told me, "I'm not racist, but I hate Muslims – horrible."

Simon, 30, a tanker driver, told me he came to express his concern about "what’s going on with Islam, terrorism and that kind of stuff”. I asked him whether a particular event had coloured his opinion on Islam, and he said, “Obviously 9/11 and that, but it’s getting closer to home now – stuff going on in Tipton, Wolverhampton, Walsall, the London bombings.”

I pointed out that Tipton, Wolverhampton and Walsall were examples of mosques being attacked. He said, “Terrorism is terrorism – it doesn’t matter which side it’s coming from,” while attending a demo specifically and aggressively targeting one side.

The rally was soon over and the EDL were marched back to the nightclub, where they boarded their minibuses and drove off their separate ways.

A total of 20 arrests were made and three people were charged – one with violent disorder and two with possession of offensive weapons. Overall the EDL turnout was pretty high, coming in at around 2,000.

So I guess their resurgence following Lee Rigby's murder isn’t quite the flash in the pan I'd been hoping for. That said, the EDL are still far from a coherent organisation, and the only thing they seem capable of doing is organising these pointless, heavily policed street brawls that ultimately go absolutely nowhere. The scary thing is that people are still turning up to them.

Follow Simon (@SimonChilds13) and Lee (@LeeHarperPics) on Twitter.

More stories about the EDL:

Is the EDL's New Resident Poet Too Shit to Be Real?

The EDL and Anti-Fascists Fought Over Lee Rigby's Memory in Manchester

Moronic English Fascists Marched On Parliament in London

I Watched the EDL Bring Chaos to Newcastle

Monday, 22 July 2013

Police charge some protestors following city EDL demonstrations

From Crime & Justice:

Police investigating incidents of disorder following demonstrations in Birmingham City Centre yesterday, have charged a 20 year old woman with violent disorder to appear before Birmingham Magistrates Court tomorrow (Monday).

Police made a total of 20 arrests yesterday, with 13 supporters of both events being detained for public order offences. Three men remain in custody and the remaining nine men have been bailed while enquiries are ongoing.

Two men aged 26 and 22 have been charged with possessing offensive weapons and have been bailed to appear before Walsall Magistrates Court on August 9. Another two men are still in custody for the same offence.

Two men were cautioned for assaulting police officers and one man was cautioned for theft. One man was arrested for possession of drugs and released on police bail.

Police arrested a woman for breach of the peace and she was later released without charge.

A further arrest was made prior to the protest on Friday 19 July for threats on Facebook. The man was bailed with a curfew put in place so that he was unable to attend Saturday’s protest.

Police enquiries are today ongoing to see whether any other offences were committed during the demonstrations. The wealth of exceptional quality CCTV within the area is likely to provide significant investigative opportunities to bring a large number of offenders to justice for what at times appeared to be serious offences.

There were a total of three hospital admissions for minor injuries, one of which was a police officer who received head injuries after being hit by bricks. He was treated at hospital and later discharged.

Up to 2000 people gathered to support events at two protest locations in the city, with a strong police presence ensuring thousands of people visiting Birmingham could continue to go about their usual business.

Supporters of the EDL gathered in Centenary Square from around 12 noon, with speakers for the group taking to the stage for a short period.

A counter demonstration, in Chamberlain Square, saw people gather and join an event aimed at promoting diversity.

Some disorder was seen at both events during the course of the demonstrations. A small number of protesters and police officers sustained injuries.

Birmingham Police will continue to liaise closely with local communities over the coming days and weeks to ensure yesterday’s events have not adversely affected Birmingham’s reputation as a harmonious city with people of many different cultures living alongside each other in peace.

Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe, commander of yesterday’s policing operation, said: “This has been a successful operation, due in no small part to the excellent work between police, our partner agencies and representatives of our communities. A great deal of time, effort and thought has gone into yesterday’s events and it is reassuring to see that both demonstrations have largely passed off without serious incident.”

One of the most disturbing sights at the EDL demonstration
was this frightened child.  

Saturday, 20 July 2013

East Anglian EDL off to Birmingham

The coach arrived from Lowestoft to pick up EDL from Norwich

The true face of the EDL on display

Then it turned nasty

EDL East Anglia division’s plans for Birmingham trouble

From Searchlight by Gerry Gable:

Searchlight recently monitored plans by the English Defence League to attack an anti-racist march in Ipswich and exposed the fascist woman who infiltrated a meeting at the office of Unite the Union in Ipswich held by Unite Against Fascism.

We also alerted the police and BBC about a plan to wreck a BBC Question Time programme due to be transmitted in Basildon. The plan to have somebody inside the venue to let in a gang of EDL thugs who had met up locally never got off the ground.

Now in time for the EDL’s planned demonstration in Birmingham on Saturday, we have obtained a list of 49 fascist activists due to travel there as part of the EDL's East Anglian Division and the pick-up points where they will assemble.

They are (with a warning that all times are approximate):

Lowestoft, St Margarets Road (outside Northfield School) – 6:00am

Jennie, Ivan, Ryan Clayton, Matt Dunn, Jason Crickmore, Simon Reeve, Bilvo, Steve Cooke, Chris Cooke, Marty Pugh, Lewiee Reed, Greg Snowling, Del Ayers, Stuart Burton

Norwich, railway station (bus stop Thorpe Road) – 6:45am

Saffer, Bradley, Rachel Thurlow, Alex Spencer, Sam Drumee, Julie Gardner, Eddie, Ben Hannant, Michael Hayden, Kyle Ward, Sam Burgess, Jake Crisp, Martin Morrish, William Allinson

Dereham station, Station Road – 7:15am

Danni Butlers, Maeve

Kings Lynn, bus station – 8:00am

George Haynes, Jack Gollem, Dale Singer, Chris Pears

Peterborough, bus station (Bay 18 N/X stop) – 8:45am
Alan Phoenix, Ben Leight, Mark Ward, Richard Lion, Liam Dodds, 2 unnamed, John Ward, Gail Ward, Steve Posh, Johnny Sutton, Sophie Spink

Kettering, swimming pool – 9:35am

Steve Aucott, Gerri Rossiter

And finally, Greg, return from Birmingham only.