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..an anti-fascist day out by the seaside.

One guy went straight over the barricade into them – he was knocked down but everyone followed and soon the fascists were hiding behind the police” - eyewitness account of the the arrival of the South East Alliance into the March for England pen.

Another year, another March for England, another victory for the anti-fascist massive. Around 100-150 dregs of the EDL with the assistance of 700 police to march 400 yards along a cordoned off seafront and back. Turn-out against the march was huge with an estimated 2,000 counter-protestors turning out inside the police organised cordon re-inforced with a 200 strong black block roaming around the perimeter.

Photos (see below) of the event show the extent to which Brighton stood up for itself well against the various EDL splinter groups that make up the March for England. The far-right pulled out all the stops for this one with march organiser Dave Smeeton hitting the road to drum up support for the event. The basic message was: Last year they caught us by surprise – this year we must get the numbers and show the 'commies' who's boss. Fascists travelled from around the country to be in Brighton and the day showed just how dispirited the remnants of the English Defence league are.


A large number of old EDL faces were spotted on the day but the likes of Shane Calvert, Jeff Marsh and Liam Pinkham just can't attract a following any more and are reduced to making idle threats on the internet. Fascists had promised a weekend of carnage, but in the end Jeff 'Casuals United' Marsh @wegowherewewant was reduced to tweeting on Saturday that the Casuals 'totally owned Worthing' which is a nice way of spinning the fact that they were too frightened to come fifteen miles along the coast to Brighton for the night.

Meanwhile Brighton's anti-fascist coalition was busy building in the town itself conducting daily street stalls and plastering the place with stickers and flyposters. It was obvious by contrast that the March for England have no base in the town and no grass-roots support.


Sussex police claimed that they were putting in place the biggest public order operation in the force's history and the barrier erected along the seafront was expensive but in the event nothing prevented fash and anti-fa from settling their differences.

Plod had originaly annnounced that the MfE were to be bussed into their start point from one of the train stations. In the event they were simply allowed to walk through town in small groups – unsurprisingly SchNEWS started hearing of small punch-ups erupting throughout the North and South Laines. The first real flashpoint came when groups of EDL started to get to the startpoint of their demo while waving flags. One group was immediatley chased into a bookmakers on St James St while anti-fascists fought with the police to get at them. They were only rescued by the arrival of mounted cops. Meanwhile the South East Alliance were trying to sing their way badly into the cordon while being pelted with bottles.

Eventually march organisers decided that sufficient numbers had arrived for the march to begin. The MfE began their dismal cordoned off trudge at 1p.m – realistically police presence and preparation meant that there was little chance of blocking the route. However the MfE had to run the gauntlet of 2,000 jeering opponents, comprised of trade unionists, the Unite Against Fascism crowd, the Green Party and hundreds of ordinary Brightonians.


Meanwhile groups of fash and anti-fa played hide and seek in through the South Lanes. Groups of fash were continually sent packing, retreating behind police lines. A few anti-fascists got thumped but the opposition came off far, far worse. The militant block eventually made its way to the proposed end point of the march and waited there to bait the march. This was when the hardcore racists headed up by Steve 'Sugar Plum Fairy' Sands, launched their ill-fated kamikaze attack. Badly disguised as black block a handful of them began throwing punches at the masked up youth but were rapidly overwhelmed and were only just rescued by police after a proper pasting.(insert your own“ got a tasty smack in the mush off the lads/ claret all over the shop” type hooooligan narrative here). By the way Sands has pent the last two years bragging on facebook about ambushing anti-fascists during a 2010 demo in Brighton...best served cold eh?


The fash were marched back to the start point and police organised coaches began to arrive to cart them off to less fashionable parts of the country. A few hundred antis remained to see them on their way but the majority marched back through town under a rainbow flag and behind a banner marked 'No Pasaran'. No cordons, no police, with the chant “Whose streets, our streets” ringing true. One particiapant told SchNEWS “This was a moment of true Brighton unity – we didn't need cops to protect or facilitate our march because this is our town”. Video link

The above does not represent the whole story of the day which was often confusing and fragmentary with pockets and bursts of activity occurring across the whole town until late in the night. Anti-fascist coalition StopMFE have put out an appeal for accounts of the day.


Altogether thirteen anti-fascists were arrested and although arrest support was provided if you need support or think you have important witness evidence then please contact stopmfe@ymail.com


Totally outnumbered along the promenade
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There are 21 comments on this story...
Added By: John - 24th April 2013 @ 8:01 PM
Good job getting so many people out on the streets to demonstrate the depth of opposition, but I don't really get how sentences like this "A few anti-fascists got thumped but the opposition came off far, far worse" really help change anybody's mind, least of all the fascists themselves. You can't beat an opinion out of someone, if anything it makes them more entrenched, it also comes off as a bit, well, fascist; "don't be fascist or I'll beat the shit out of you." Basically I don't see how keeping a running score of who beat up who does anything to stop fascism.
Added By: Tony - 24th April 2013 @ 9:48 PM
Indeed the anti fascists have become what they are fighting against...

Added By: Jo Makepeace - 25th April 2013 @ 7:49 PM
..Not sure we follow John - this is actually what happened, should we not report it?

Added By: GS - 26th April 2013 @ 9:56 PM
Brighton leads the way again!

Some related links from Reel News:

This year:
Last year:
A recent summary:

Hopefully those morons will soon be nothing but a bad memory..?
Added By: Death To Owen Jones! - 28th April 2013 @ 9:21 PM
John " Ooh jolly good protest, that'll show them. We are not Fascists don't you know old boy. You must vote and pay taxes. Fair play, fair play chaps. Racism is bad. Please don't be racist. Fascism is not democratic. Ooh"

No Pasaran! Bash The Scummy Fash! It's the only language these cowards understand! History proves that it works!
Added By: Antifa Actually - 28th April 2013 @ 10:48 PM
Serious question John & Tony - if a bunch of fascist attempt to infiltrate a counter demo and start throwing punches, what should we do? Though I doubt Sands et al will change their politics regardless of how many times we batter them, I'd rather that than the other way around. Also, despite their online macho bullshit, many of their potential supporters won't show their faces because of fear of a robust opposition - something I think is a good thing. Finally smashing fascists is no fascism, regardless of context. It may be illiberal, but that's not the same thing. Before accusing people of being fascist I suggest you learn what it means.

Assuming your not just trolling, there is a valid point in that we need to be wary of antifascism degenerating into a-political street fighting - complete with obligatory elitism, macho postering and gendered roles. At the same time there's no point pretending we can confront fascism without being prepared to do so physically.

Oh, and if no one has seen it yet - http://meemsy.com/v/8740
Added By: Bill Stickers - 29th April 2013 @ 6:27 PM
Macho postering ....is that when you do it in broad daylight without giving a fuck if the cops see you or did you mean 'posturing'.
Added By: James - 1st May 2013 @ 12:04 AM
Self defence against a Nazi ambush is obviously not fascist,but the current black bloc-antifa tactics of bashing the fash though have not been proven to work by history, history is sadly repeating itself.
The best thing we can do is organise a positive truelly democratic fair future society& defend ourselves when necessary, using words& phsyically as restrained as possible. The fash love a good bash, even if they lose it gives sociopaths something to live for.
Added By: Citizen_UPCH - 2nd May 2013 @ 5:14 PM
When all is said and done, the EDL/NF/NWI (whatever) turned up to where they knoew there would be a large counter demonstration for "some aggro".

We did not go to them, they came to us, they came to our streets. We seek only to defend our city from these brainless fat drunks who are intent on some sort of 'race war'.

I do not delight in violence but I do delight in sending these bloated, hate-fuelled gob-sh*tes home with a sense of being not welcome and better still, defeated.

Which they were. Brighton can be proud. Proud of our turn-out, proud of our message and proud of the result.
Added By: Tony - 2nd May 2013 @ 7:02 PM
Interesting topic....

The fact is that there were more people not being aggressive (on both sides) - that is because most people have respect for the City's environment and those who work there, live here or just visit.

To be proud of running around town - giving it the large one to a couple of hundred of english nationalists/fascists, is very immature, however whatever floats your boat, as they say. I always respect someones right to be a tosser (both sides of the divide).

The anti-fascists display the same attitudes and virtues of the fascists, whether you like it or not. One day you may see this for yourselves, or maybe you will not.

Added By: Jo Makepeace - 2nd May 2013 @ 10:06 PM
Not sure how 'anti-fascists' have same attitudes as fascists let alone their 'virtues'.

How do you go about organising against the threat of far-right street thuggery? And please don't dismiss it from your privileged Brighton bubble as an hilarious irrelevance. The situation in Greece is a salutary reminder of how quickly their kind of poltics can take hold if they are not robustly opposed.

Added By: Alastair - 2nd May 2013 @ 11:41 PM
I don't think it's fair to claim that "the anti-fascists display the same attitudes and virtues of the fascists". If they did, they would be marching with the latter instead of opposing them.

That being said, we should think about whether meeting the EDL with a counter protest is really achieving anything besides bolstering our own sense of our being in the right. I remember the march back in 2011 when the counter protesters were the ones being fenced in by police - whatever the good folks at Schnews may want to say, it tells us a lot about where they suspect the real violence to come from.

Why do we even bother opposing them? They have no viable political platform and don't seem to be seeking one. They are a group of largely working-class people whose political disillusionment has been hijacked by prejudiced ideals. Back in 2011, inbetween the EDL and the counter-protest, there were individuals in Victoria Gardens picnicking, walking their dogs and chatting to their friends - they were the real counter-protest, ignoring a group whose ideas are either incomprehensible or mistaken and just doing their own thing.

Lastly, 'DeathtoOwenJones' ... assuming you're not a troll, it interests me that you have such antipathy to both the middle classes and the prejudices working classes. Do you not see the contradiction? Racism is a response to poor government policy decisions (albeit not a direct or perhaps even conscious one). Put simply, you can't bash the toffs and the oiks in one go.
Added By: Jo Makepeace - 3rd May 2013 @ 9:39 AM
Hi Alistair,

I'm not sure that looking at who the police have kettled is a surefire way of saying who is violent! It has more to do with operational priorities on the day. In 2011 the counter-protest was small enough to be kettled so that's what the cops did.

We bother opposing them because outside of Brighton's soyaccino bubble the politics they represent are a 'viable political platform'. Just look at the UKIP results yesterday.

As for whether 'just doing your own thing' is a counter-protest - we think you should go and watch 'Cabaret'.
Added By: Alastair - 3rd May 2013 @ 1:19 PM
Jo - I wasn't saying who 'is' violent. Rather, I was saying that the police seemed to consider the counter-protesters to be more likely to be violent.
Added By: Jo Makepeace - 3rd May 2013 @ 1:56 PM
Not sure I understand your point in that case.
Added By: Tony - 4th May 2013 @ 3:43 PM
Not sure how 'anti-fascists' have same attitudes as fascists let alone their 'virtues'.

- Street Thuggery
- Propaganda
- Victimisation of anyone who has different beliefs to them

On a lighter note

- Dressing in Black

Added By: Anarchiste. - 16th May 2013 @ 8:23 PM
EDL are the new Class War.
Added By: Antifa Actually - 20th May 2013 @ 5:58 PM
How do you define 'propaganda'? If you just mean using posters, flyers, social media to promote their views - that's a bit like saying both fascists and antifascists eat and breathe therefore they're the same. If you mean misleading/lying to suit their agenda I can find lots of examples of the EDL etc doing that, while most of the anti stuff is actually debunking that. If you have links to factually inaccurate antifa material feel free to post it.

I'm not sure it's possible to victimise a fascist who marches into town intending to 'smash the reds'. You might have us on dressing in black and street thuggery though. Just out of interest would you describe the antifascists who fought with Nazis in the streets of 1930's Germany as having the same "attitudes and virtues" as the Nazis. And would you have suggested a picnic in the park as the best way to prevent Hitler's rise to power?

Just cos their politics are unsophisticated doesn't mean we shouldn't oppose them.

I don't think Class War were particularly keen on militarism, fascism and 'paki bashing'. But I'll take you're word on that.

I'm off to do some macho postering cos I just don't give a fuck.
Added By: Tony - 21st May 2013 @ 9:30 PM
in this article every paragraph contains elements of sensationalised propaganda, and yes i would imagine the EDL et al would be the same. However that does not make it right to be the same, and anyhows the truth is somewhere in between.

I dont want to sound patronising here, however Hitler come to power despite fighting in the streets against him. I dont think picnics in the park would have stopped him either but we will never know,

The point for me is that the anti fascists are acting the same as some of their enemies, however they dont see that (no one likes being told they have an ugly baby)
Added By: Anarchiste. - 22nd May 2013 @ 10:02 PM
The ante is upped. Watch yor backs.
Added By: Anonymous - 23rd May 2013 @ 6:35 PM
@ Jo Makepeace

Have you got a bubble thing going on?

I quote

outside of Brighton's soyaccino bubble
privileged Brighton bubble

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Twitter: @SchNEWS