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UPDATE: 23/04/12

Quote of the day - “Well who thought it was a good idea to organise these two demonstrations on the same day? Surely it was obvious there would be problems” - random Brighton theatre-goer/by-stander

Yesterday's counter-protest against the March for England exceeded all expectations. Although the fascists did march they did so inside a mobile police kettle continuously surrounded and occasionally bombarded by counter-protestors. Their march route was cut short and for once the chant “Police protect the fascists” was 100% accurate.

Last year the police successfully kettled most of the anti-fascists, allowing the MfE free rein through the city. They took full advantage of the opportunity to hand out racist abuse and attack alternative looking types. Brighton anti-fascists were determined to avoid a repeat.

Aware that the cops plan was to push the march straight down the road from the railway station to the sea front, the anti-crowd was encouraged to spread themselves thinly along the route. This prevented a pre-emptive kettle.

The MfE were due to start their procession at midday, but due to the geography of the area no-one in the counter-demo had a direct view of their meet-up point at the station. A strange High-Noon quiet settled over the town centre as the counter-protest shuffled and waited, watching police movements for a clue as to what might happen. Numbers gradually built up, serenaded by the bizarrely soothing tones of dub from a punk- soundsytem.

For a while it looked as if the cops were going to throw the towel in and refuse to allow the MfE out of the station. At half-twelve jogging lines of cops and the arrival of horses let everyone know that the fash were on the move.

One eyewitness at the station told SchNEWS “From where they were mustered, they could only see a tiny part of the counter-demo, mainly the UAF contingent. They were very cocky. As soon as they turned the corner and saw the opposition their faces fell”. By this point there were around 500 anti-fascists on the streets.

The nationalists had only mustered around 100, a third of what they had predicted. Yesterday SchNEWS reported that “there was little if any English Defence League insignia actually on display”. Since then we've been told that EDL banners and an Essex Infidels flag were unfurled at the station. In reality this was a moot point as the main body of march consisted of known EDL faces, including virtually all of Brighton and Portsmouth EDL with the addition of various unsavoury characters such as Jeff Marsh of Casuals United. Despite the presence of a few token women and kids the march was overwhelmingly male, bald and fat.

It didn't take long after the march set off before the first few antis were in the road behind a banner. From then on the march became a rugby scrum as the cops used horses, truncheons and pepper spray to force the MfE through. Every time the cops broke through an anti-fascist line, another would form ten or twenty metres down the road.



The pressure only intensified as the police decided to abandon the planned high-profile route and try to smuggle the nationalists down the back-streets. Anti-fascists got ahead of the game and running around the side got in front of the march on Church St to build barricades. Fascists and police came under attack with bottles. It was at this point that some-one set a bin on fire, irritating everyone, right and left, with the acrid smoke.

What was totally remarkable was the level of solidarity for the counter-demo by folk from all walks of life in Brighton. There was no support for the MfE. Pensioners and kids shouted abuse at the fash. The UAF stood shoulder to shoulder with Antifa punks.

Eventually the MfE, numbering around a hundred ended up in their pre-prepared pen, – unfortunately for them so did almost the entire counter-demo. They then had to put up with two hours of being jeered at by the surrounding mob before cops rushed them back to the station to be dispersed. Their march was dogged every step of the way but as they were leaving the crowd was happy to let the cops rush them along. Anti fascists went on to enjoy a pint in the sunshine.



Despite the usual online japery the few EDL who tried to make a stand outside the cordon were quickly seen off. Joel Titus, self proclaimed leader of the EDLs youth wing was spotted skulking with a crew of half-wits in the Marlborough pub, one of the few bars that would serve them on the day. A handful of anti-fascists were able to send them packing. Virtually no other pubs would serve the MfE and they failed to maintain a presence in town after they were dispersed.

Is this the end of the March for England in Brighton? Watch this space!

Final word to Brighton Anti-fascists “Brighton showed the racists today that their brand of hatred isn't welcome in our city. Brighton has always historically seen off the fascists, in the the thirties , the seventies and now today. Big thanks to all who turned out! - Up the punks!”

SchNEWS has heard of at least one public order arrest on our team got nicked- If you were arrested and require support then please contact stopmfe@ymail.com

For more http://brightonantifascists.wordpress.com/


For a great gallery of photos by Guy Smallman

There are 21 comments on this story...
Added By: Anonymous - 23rd April 2012 @ 12:00 AM
The quote is a classic! :) good article
Added By: Anonymous - 23rd April 2012 @ 8:57 AM
PROUD PROUD PROUD to live in our seaside town - Well done Brighton
Added By: Johnny Clash - 23rd April 2012 @ 9:49 AM
I'd just like to point out that despite the presence of some Portsmouth EDL on the fascist demo quite a few ANTI-fascists had travelled from Portsmouth to join the counter demo. And it was an excellent day for us. Cheers.
Added By: No Parasan! - 23rd April 2012 @ 10:25 AM
Added By: Barry Cade - 23rd April 2012 @ 2:20 PM
No surrender, no surrrender, no surrender to the EDL!
Added By: Pompous Dave Smeeton - 23rd April 2012 @ 2:24 PM
To the unwashed homosexual communist filth who bombarded our peaceful march with AIDS infected needles yesterday we have only one ting to say. We have a right to freely express our racist opinions and will be back next year to kick your heads in in an entirely peaceful and law-abiding manner.

No fucking sandwiches ever!
Added By: Anonymous - 23rd April 2012 @ 2:56 PM
Fucking hell, you don't half spoil a good, important article by using 'bald and fat' as an insult. Really gutted that you're so addicted to the Establishment's prevailing body fascism, you use it in a piece about intolerance. Grow the fuck up.
Added By: Jo Makepeace - 23rd April 2012 @ 4:10 PM
Not an insult ... a factual description.
Added By: Nadia - 23rd April 2012 @ 8:15 PM
"The UAF stood shoulder to shoulder with Antifa punks" - anti-fascist solidarity ruled the day!
Added By: Anonymous - 24th April 2012 @ 3:37 PM
while good to see the scrotes were sent packing, Brighton is a big town, not a city. the fash are scum, & b/ton is a town. jus sayin like, we like the untainted truth. An yes I am aware that some politicians keep on with their facile "status/awards" rot, but, c'mon. nice to see the uaf behaved themselves n all
Added By: Ped Antic - 24th April 2012 @ 8:06 PM

Added By: Anarchiste. - 24th April 2012 @ 8:21 PM
Jolly rwoger!
Added By: 77 Punk - 26th April 2012 @ 6:49 PM
Punk? Bollocks. All I saw were middle class lefty hippies. Johnny Ramone would be on the side of the MfE, that's for sure. Never trust a hippie.
Added By: Johnny Rotten Foreigner - 26th April 2012 @ 11:40 PM
Were you that berk with the Mohican at the back? Well at least you got spat at ... must have brought back happy memories!
Added By: Anonymous - 27th April 2012 @ 1:10 PM
Ha ha great news. The knuckle-dragging EDL should call it a day
Added By: Anarchiste. - 29th April 2012 @ 9:23 PM
Added By: The real Anarchiste - 30th April 2012 @ 10:17 AM
You don't like it that that we know you drink your own urine.
Added By: Anarchiste. - 30th April 2012 @ 11:33 PM
Franco had a muslim contingent along with his fascists to smash the Anarchists in the Spanish civil war.
Hitler had muslim allies that promoted the extermimnation of jews.
You are inreasingly being seen as played mugs.
Added By: j - 9th May 2012 @ 6:08 PM
Added By: Marques - 21st July 2012 @ 5:40 AM
i agree totally dont see why they want to start cunisag trouble in a united and diverse city, the idea of rascism and fascism is one of the past so why dont THE EDL get the point and start living in the present to work for the future instead of the past and ruining the present.
Added By: Cleyr - 25th April 2013 @ 3:49 PM
Love the article, but associating 'bald and fat' to description of people you don't like means fat is an insult, and it isn't, doesn't show any respect to fat people in general.
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As SchNEWS dives into the path of the March for England

If Carlsberg did antifascist mobilisations... The EDL and their European friends come unstuck in the supposed neo-Nazi stronghold of Aarhus.

Anti-fascists counter piss-poor Infidel turn out in the North West.

Prisoner solidarity action for imprisoned anti-fascist Jock Palfreeman

Farcical day out for the EDL in Brighton's Churchill Square

UPDATE Report from Anti-fascists in Hyde 25/02/12

After the disturbances in Rochdale, Asian youth turned out  to confront the EDL in Hyde. SchNEWS spoke to one anti-fascist who also made the trip.

Twitter: @SchNEWS