EDL protest

I went down to the English Defence League protest and counter-protest on Saturday to see what was going on. There were an amazing amount of police everywhere including loads of mounted police, riot police and an endless series of vans. The Manchester operation cost approximately £200,000 of tax payers money, I expect the Leeds operation cost a similar amount.

The EDL lot were based on city square where the police had them penned off with barriers across the entrances where they were letting people in and out. They had also blocked a number of roads round the area off though they didn’t seem to stop traffic going into the traps – so the most amusing point of the day was when a BMW X5 complete with a very middle class looking family found itself with nowhere to go on the one way system. As such the husband got out of the car, politely moved the cones blocking off the turned off onto Park Row, drove through them and put them back.

It was a bit dead down on the EDL side of things so I headed up to the counter demo outside the art gallery. There was far more of an atmosphere up here though I’m not convinced that drums are generally considered the sound of peace. It was a strange mix of leftist politics as you would expect, for example I’m not sure what the Stop the War Coalition has to do with any of this other than trying to hijack the event for some cheap publicity.

Not longer after I got there Revolution led a march away from the event as they tried to move towards EDL. The police soon had lines across the roads they didn’t want them to go down and they ended up down the financial district.

Having eventually nowhere else to go that would get them closer to EDL things inevitably turned ugly as Revolution charged the police line. They managed to get some people through though there was a second line of mounted officers and several police vans in support so the police eventually forced them back and they eventually gave up and marched back to the art gallery.

Wondering back down to the EDL protest it had really picked up with far more people there and a bit more atmosphere, especially when several coaches turned up bringing EDL reinforcements many of which were carrying banners. Doesn’t speak too highly for the Leeds movement if they have to bus in reinforcements but there you go.

The most enjoyable part of the day was chatting to the other amateur photographers which had turned to cover the event. Many of them had been covering such events for as long as a decade. There were some interesting lessons to be learned too. “I always follow the leftist side at these events,” one of the pro-left photographers explained. “It’s always the left that start the violence.”

Luckily on Saturday there was very little in the way of trouble – the day passed with only five arrests and no major injuries though of the clashes there were with the police I found the attitudes of those involved very disconcerting. “We could have broken through the police lines” one of the leftist supporters said. I replied “Well, I mean surely you shouldn’t do that?” “No, it would have worked, we had the number just not enough people went for it.” “No, I mean, from a moral point of view you shouldn’t be charging the police,” I tried to explain but the concept seemed lost on him.

EDL got approximately 900 people down there while the counter protest managed to get 1,500. Therefore we can conclude that only 38% of the population are in favour of fascism while the other 62% opposite it. Democracy works.

Of course, that isn’t a serious comment. Both sides are actually a bunch of fascists so the real conclusion we can draw from Saturday is that the 95.5% of the population of Leeds that didn’t attend think they are all wankers and wish they would stop wasting our tax money on huge policing operations.

Despite that though I’m glad the event happened. It is a true testament to the free and democractic society we live in when nut job organisations such as EDL, Revolution and UAF are able to speak their mind like this. It is ultimately this type of libertarianism which is so desirable that will ultimately defeat Sharia law, the object of both sides’ protests.

EDL crowd

English Defence League crowd on city square.

Police line

The police attempt to block Revolution from marching on EDL.

Revolution charge the police line

Revolution charge the police line.

EDL coach

More EDL supporters arrive by coach.



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This entry was posted on Sunday, November 1st, 2009 at 4:44 pm and is filed under Events, Photos, Religion & Politics, Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.