Last year, the march was attacked by neo-nazis, and they threatened to do the same again this year, putting messages online for people to 'mobilise' to attack the march. From what I saw, the 'mobilisation' produced about 50 assorted nazis and Orange Lodge members, of whom only five were female. The marchers far outnumbered them.
Clearly, Merseyside Police were worried about the possibility of trouble kicking off. For a 300-strong march, they mustered more officers than they do for an Everton-Liverpool derby match. But they still allowed a contingent of right-wing yobs to walk along the pavement within a few feet of the march and shout racist and anti-Irish abuse. There was a very thin line of police officers between them. When one of the marchers was provoked enough to shout back, two police officers pounced on him. He was very quickly de-arrested by a group of people who dragged him back into the crowd and blocked the police's way.
To be sure, the police did arrest some of the nazis, including one Peter Tierney. He is known locally for being the former owner of Quiggins, an alternative shopping venue. Once a member of the BNP, he has since joined the National Front and was their local candidate for the mayoral elections. I have encountered Mr Tierney on a previous demo. Let's just say he's a man who doesn't mince words; and that's what gets him arrested.
The march reached its destination outside the Catholic Cathedral without being disrupted or any of the marchers being attacked, which prompted Alex McFadden's succinct summing up of the event: a victory for the supporters of anti-racism. Except that, when the speeches were over, the anti-racists had to get on a specially hired bus to get away from the area safely. The real vicrtory will be when the racists don't bother to show up at all.
(Photos to follow)