Only heavy-handed policing, involving the use of horses, riot gear and random arrests, enabled the fascists to reach Victoria Gardens, near Brighton Pavilion, for their tiny rally.
The ‘official’ counter-protesters from Unite Against Fascism tried to perform their usual role of dragging people away from the place where they were most needed.
When Brighton rail station was surrounded by anti-fascist protesters at the assembly time of 12.30pm it looked as if the ENA were going nowhere.
But, lo and behold, the call came form the obligatory organisers’ Pied Piper megaphone that ‘everyone’ was going to march down the road to a state-authorised protest zone, allowing the fascists the freedom of the streets they had so far looked like being denied.
When some queried this bizarre instruction and hesitated to troop off in the wrong direction, Sussex Police were forced to reveal the iron fist behind the velvet glove of distraction and invoked public order legislation to threaten people with arrest if they did not participate in the ‘official’ anti-fascist protest.
Several people were forcefully made to join the UAF march against their will and one man was pepper sprayed and arrested for trying to leave it.
Fortunately, there were enough independent minded anti-fascists present to continue the blockade of the intended ENA route.
After a lengthy stand-off, the police decided to re-route the ENA march under the station forecourt and down Trafalgar Street.
Police attempts to clear the road were met with steadfast resistance and they had to divert the fascist march down side streets to avoid blockades.
Anti-fascists kept up throughout and blocked every intersection ahead of the provocative parade, forcing police to use horses and threats of arrest to clear the way for the paltry crew of racists, who were happy to flaunt their bigoted bravado safe behind the protective ranks of cops.
The ENA, who carried EDL banners and an Israeli national flag, were booed and heckled throughout their slow progress through the streets of Brighton – not just by counter-protesters but by city residents disgusted by their unwelcome intrusion.
When the fascists arrived at Victoria Gardens they were shepherded into a cordoned-off area – similar to the one in which it turned out the poor UAF sheep had been waiting all this time.
An angry bunch of anti-fascist youth made spirited attempts to break out of their pen – but unfortunately failed. Next time, lads, don’t do what the SWP tells you!
There was more waiting for the ENA as the police nipped back to their vans and donned riot helmets for the job of escorting them back to the station.
They faced more jeers and general hostility as they trailed back through town. The following crowd of anti-fascists, chanting “Fascist scum, off our streets!” were cheered by bystanders.
There was an incident outside the William the Fourth pub in Bond Street, when racists emerged to threaten the anti-ENA protesters. They were quickly surrounded and then bundled inside the pub by police for their own safety.
Cops with riot helmets and police horses were deployed to protect the poor fascists from the anger of the public – they were eventually spirited away out of a back entrance.
The rest of the ENA were escorted back to the station by their uniformed bodyguards and put on trains back to wherever it was they had crawled out of.
The fascists went out of their way to provoke a reaction to this march – explicitly declaring their hatred for radicals of all sorts and specifically pro-Palestinian campaigners like Smash EDO!
And a reaction was what they got! You can bet that Brighton will not be top of their list of favourite destinations next time they fancy a Bank Holiday trip to the seaside.