UK Anti-racism Feature Archive
Anti-fascists are gearing up for the return of the English Defence League to Tower Hamlets in East London on September 7th.
The EDL don't have any right to "march on" areas. This is not about expressing freedom of speech, it's about causing fear and division. That's why they must be opposed - Anti Fascist Network
The EDL's leadership have a peculiar obsession with this borough of London - this'll be the third time they've tried (and failed) to demonstrate en masse in the area. That's without counting leadership Tommy and Kev's ill-fated effort at a charity walk through the area back in June.
The last time the league put in an appearance in the borough, in September 2011, a thirty day ban on all parades in the area was enforced by the Home Secretary. On the day, an army of cops enforced separation between them and the thousands of locals and anti-fascists waiting for them just up the road.
So why Tower Hamlets? According to the EDL it's because the area is already under Sharia law. In fact they go so far as to claim that there is "No beer allowed, this is a Muslim area", which will come as news to regulars of the White Hart and Blind Beggar.
In reality there probably are a handful of nutters who want to establish a global caliphate and Taliban-style social mores in the East End but they're a tiny, tiny minority. Despite EDL assertions, local government is probably no more corrupt there than in any major city. Scare stories about 'ghettoes' and 'no-go zones' are just there to whip up hate and get boots on the street.
Last time, the EDL mobilised around 800 of their footsoldiers for their venture into darkest Muslamic country. When they announced Tower Hamlets 2013 they were at the height of their post-Lee Rigby bounce. Recent outings in Hull and Portsmouth have not seen anything like the numbers turning out in the immediate aftermath of the soldier's death but the threat to the area is still substantial.
There's every likelihood that there will be a state ban on demos and parades again but anti-fascist opposition on the streets is what counts. The Anti-Fascist Network is calling for autonomous anti-fascists to meet in Altab Ali park at 11 a.m on September 7th saying, "We are calling a mass opposition, the more people, the safer and more empowering it will be for all of us. On the day we aim to be mobile and fluid in order to disrupt the EDLs plans".
Look out for the Anti Fascist Network (AFN) banners and flags and join them on the streets.
Follow @THStopEDL for updates now and on the day
Shared National Day of Asylum Seekers Taking Action
This Saturday 29th June will see protests across the country by asylum seekers and supporters calling for 'Dignity not Destitution'.
In June 2012, 250 asylum seekers and supporters marched through Bristol to tell people our problems and to demand Dignity For Asylum Seekers [ Report | Press Release ]. This gave us more confidence to speak out. After last year's march we campaigned to get Bristol City Council to support us. We are pleased to say that in January they voted overwhelmingly to support us and condemn the government’s policy on forced destitution. Now, we are joining together with groups around the country to take action on the same day to say that forced destitution is wrong. Read the full article for details of events around the country.
Around 300 English Defence League members descended on Centenary Square in the city centre on Saturday 29th October. Although there were divisions from as far afield as Essex their numbers still fell well short of predictions - there were nowhere near the 1200 the EDL (claimed/forecast). There was a vast police presence throughout the city with officers stationed all the way up New Street and Paradise Forum as well as in Centenary Square. The police pre-emptively fenced off the Occupy Birmingham encampment in Victoria Square for the duration of the day.
The demo was largely peaceful in comparison with previous years however there were definite tensions between the police and the EDL, at one point there was a surge of chanting protesters which almost broke the police line and sent press and onlookers sprinting for safety. The protesters were throwing bottles and fireworks were set off. After this the police presence was greatly heightened and there were three lines of riot police and dogs separating the general public and the EDL after this extra deployment the demo was peaceful. A counter demo was held in Chamberlain Square called Unity and celebration of differences. The event was supported by many unions and was well attended. There was live music, DJ's and talkers promoting anti fascism.On the newswire: Call Out: Oppose The EDL In Birmingham 29th Oct | Details of coach companies ferrying EDL racists to Birmingham | EDL Official Website Hacked By Anti Fascist Hackers - 09 Feb 2011 | Richard Price EDL Co-ordinator - Placed on the sex offenders register
Previous West Midlands EDL demos: Dudley EDL members sent to prison | SchNEWS Issue 687 - Fash Get The Brum Rush | No march for EDL in Wolverhampton | English Defence League animal abusers put pigs head on Mosque walls in Dudley
LATEST: Monday 3 October: Basildon Council concedes that full clearance of Dale Farm as originally proposed would be illegal. Council ordered to pay one third of Dale Farm's legal costs. Awaiting outcome of applications for judicial reviews, due Tuesday. More in full article.
The legality of the eviction notices served by Basildon Council on Dale Farm residents was challenged by the Travellers in the High Court on Friday. Once the arguments had been heard, including an application by Basildon Council for the scaffolding at the entrance to the site to be removed, the Judge Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart said that there would not be a ruling before Monday 26 September (now extended to Tuesday 4 October). Late in the day it was reported that the injunction to restrain bailiffs from starting any clearance or eviction of the site would stand in its current form until at least 4pm Monday. A later report indicated that the judge may further extend the injunction into the middle of next week or beyond if necessary. In the meantime, applications are being prepared for judicial review of the eviction, which could lead to further delay of a final decision. Basildon Council has already set aside £18 million to evict the Dale Farm residents. However, with the current stalemate reported to be costing the council over £1 million per day, the total cost is likely to have increased by some £8 million by Monday and will continue to rise during any further delay. With a bit of luck they'll run out of money before the eviction is allowed to go ahead.
Recent newswire articles: Injunction extended to Monday | NET climbers at Dale Farm | Experiences of a legal observer | Travellers and Supporters open up Dale Farm | High Court 23 September | Re Dispatches: The Fight for Dale Farm | Keep stinging them in the pocket | Dale Farm wins reprieve | Last minute injunction | BBC censorship shame | Call out to activists | Bailiff's dirty tricks | Photos from Dale Farm march and demo 1 | 2 | Eviction Update
It was going to be the 'Big One', the EDL's grand day out in the capital city. They proudly proclaimed that they were going into the "Lion's Den" -- "Islamic hell-hole" -- and what they no doubt had in mind when this hare-brained scheme was first announced was something like an Orange march through London's biggest Muslim community, with drums beating and the chant of 'E.E.EDL' echoing off the walls of the East London Mosque as terrified Muslims fled. What actually happened was a half-arsed piss-up miles from Tower Hamlets. They predicted thousands would attend and only attracted hundreds. EDL Facebook posters have been reduced to claiming that Aldgate is by some spurious definition 'in Tower Hamlets' which is the equivalent of trying to pass off a Calais booze cruise as a seaborne invasion of the European mainland.
The Home Secretary intervened early in proceedings and banned marches for thirty days in the six surrounding boroughs. This is old hat to the EDL, who until recently always had their marches banned and have resorted to 'static demonstrations' in car parks around the country. These static demos basically revolve around drunken EDLers trying with varying degrees of success to break out of their police cordon and go on the rampage.
The ban seemed to come as bit of a surprise to the Unite against Fascism lot though -- who had planned a march from Weaver's Field around Tower Hamlets. To their credit, despite calls from the authorities for anti-fascists to stay at home now that a ban had been implemented, they re-located their protest to within 200 yards of the East London Mosque (the EDLs stated target),meaning that there was at least a strong presence on Whitechapel High St.
From the newswires:The day the EDL didn’t come to Tower Hamlets | EDL in london - pics and report |EDL's Tommy Robinson threatens the entire Muslim community of Britain | Video of EDL getting spanked in Mile End | TeaMp0isoN expose the EDL leadership! | EDL kept away from anti-racists activists |RMT against the EDL | Nottingham EDL organiser poses with a gun |
"When they put him in the room they were putting pressure on him saying he had no right to stay in this country. He was normally a very quiet person [...] but the pressure is too much for people in here."
On 2nd August, a 35 year old Indian man who was hours away from being deported hanged himself in the toilet block of Campsfield House.
Campsfield is not a house, it is a migration prison just outside Oxford where people are held arbitrarily for the "crime" of being foreign, non-white, and poor. Several hunger strikes, protests, suicides and escape attempts have taken place over the years since it first opened in November 1993.
This comes shortly after two detainees died in Colnbrook migration prison, on 2nd and 31st July. The first seems to have died of a heart attack amid reports that staff were very slow to call an ambulance. Not much has been said about the second; it is "being treated as unexplained".
Campaigners in Oxford responded by holding a vigil, while at Colnbrook a solidarity demo was held. These deaths are just the tip of an iceberg of deaths caused by borders (around 15'500 since 1993 across Europe, not counting undocumented deaths), and deaths are themselves only the most extreme part of the massive suffering imposed by this system.
Meanwhile, the Namaste project: a local initiative to match destitute asylum seekers with people willing to house them, is gradually gathering momentum.
[ Campsfield: report | press release | vigil ] [ Colnbrook: report | demo ] [ overview ]
[ Guardian: Campsfield | overview ] [ Close Campsfield Campaign | Oxford No Borders | Namaste update ]
[ List of deaths | Oxford migration articles ]
On 4 July 2011, some 90 families at Dale Farm, the UK's largest Traveller community, were hand-delivered a final notice of eviction giving families until midnight on 31 August to abandon their homes, or face their entire community being bulldozed. The central government and Basildon Council have set aside over £18m for the eviction battle that could last three weeks. It will be the biggest clearance of its kind, involving the ploughing up of 54 separate plots created on a former scrap-yard purchased by the Travellers ten years ago.
Urgent Call-out for Support: Supporters are urgently needed to help the community resist the eviction. Come to the camp for one of the activity weekends any Saturday between now and the end of August, and join Camp Constant from 27 August.
On the newswires: Solidarity Bulletin 4 August | Colchester Council Hates Gypsies | Solidarity Bulletin 27 July | Dale Farm Info Night, 2 Aug, Bristol | Resist Ethnic Cleansing | Eviction notice served | Previous feature
Elsewhere: Dale Farm Travellers | The University of Esssex Human Rights Clinic | Susan Craig-Green, Advocacy Project
The incident that led to police raids across the country and 23 arrests occurred on 28th March 2009 when a number of antifascist activists travelled to Welling in south-east London to protest against a neo-Nazi "Blood and Honour" skinhead gig at the Duchess of Edinburgh Pub. No fascists have been arrested or charged or have even appeared as witnesses in the court case and in the absence of any evidence forthcoming from the fascists the Police and Crown Prosecution Service spent a vast amount of time and resources to press charges which are tantamount to a thought crime and if widely applied would in effect make it illegal to organise protests against fascist events. The use of "conspiracy" charges against large groups of activists — charging them for things that might have thought about rather than charging them for anything they have actually done is clearly being done to suit a political agenda which involves the draconian repression of progressive activists, no doubt intended as a "deterrent" to others. While at the same time real corporate criminal conspiracies are covered up and swept under the carpet, contrast the treatment of the activists with the kid-glove treatment by the state of the Murdoch media crime family, as the collusion between powerful media, corrupt police and the political establishment is further exposed.
Articles: Leeds ABC Rebel Night! A benefit for imprisoned antifascists | UK Antifascist Prisoners In Need Of Support | Freedom: Comrades Jailed | Inside SchNEWS | Support Our Six Proud Antifascists | UK Antifascist Prisoners | Antifascist Prisoners In Need Of Support | Antifascist Prisoners In Need Of Support
They are the most politically marginalized people in this country and across Europe; marginalized in the UK in every other way too, having no legal place to live, unable to send children to school because of police move-ons, and even refused service in pubs and restuarants.
But Travellers today are standing up for themselves and nowhere more so than at Dale Farm, in Essex. Here a hundred families have been under siege for ten years, refused planning consent to live on their own land; though it's only an old scrap-yard converted into a mobile-home park.
Dale Farm Travellers are making a final stand against what they see as an act of ethnic-cleansing equal in its brutality to the clearances of Roma camps in Italy and France. They are asking for your help.
Three G4S security guards are accused of causing the death of Jimmy Mubenga, who died during his forcible deportation on a British Airways flight to Angola on 12th October. Eye witnesses told the Guardian how the 46-year-old man was being "heavily restrained by security guards and had complained of breathing problems before he collapsed." The three men have since been questioned by police and bailed until December pending further inquires.
In response to the government's deafening silence, on 15th October activists from South London plastered the area from Elephant and Castle to Peckham with posters holding witness statements and other info about Jimmy's murder.
From the Newswire: Group 4 murder Angolan migrant during deportation | Unacceptable death of Jimmy Mubenga | Jimmy Mubenga posters in South London | Dover detainees demand 'proper investigation' | The Angolan death on BA77 at Heathrow
A thousand EDL supporters rampaged through the streets of Leicester on Saturday (9th), attacking locals, anti-fascists and police.
On the Newswire: 1
Brighton's Smash EDO campaign are holding a mass demo at EDO/ITT on Wednesday 13th October. Anti arms trade campaigners plan to lay seige to EDO/ITT and shut them down for the day.
Info for the Day:: The meeting place for the demo is Wild Park Cafe (directions here) at 10am on Wednesday, but people are being asked to arrive on the evening of the 12th. Convergence space will be available. There will be a meeting about the demo at 7pm at the Cowley Club on Tuesday 12th. There will be a timeline on Indymedia and a twitter feed: @smash_edo
Local contacts for ITT's Hammertime: Birmingham - hammertime-brum [at] riseup.net | Bristol - bristolagainstarmstrade [at] gmail.com | Cambridge - hammertime-cambridge [at] riseup.net | Cardiff - val.swain [at] yahoo.co.uk | Cornwall - kernowaction [at] gmail.com | London - hammertimelondon [at] dsei.org | Manchester - info [at] targetbrimar.org.uk | Notts - alex.dable [at] ntlworld.com | Swansea - d [at] undercurrents.org
Previous features:They Think It's All Over ...ITT Is Now | Smash EDO Solidarity in Nottingham | Hammer Time: The EDO Decommissioners go on trial | Indymedia Coverage of Remember Gaza | Anti Militarists take on Barclays | Support the EDO Decommissioners | Mayday! Mayday! | EDO Smashed | Anti-Arms Protesters Shut ITT | Smash EDO Carnival Against the Arm Trade - Timeline | Carnival Against the Arms Trade | Marie Vesco RIP | On the Verge - The Film They Tried to Ban | Singers Arrested Outside Arms Factory | Smash EDO Action Camp: Shut down the Brighton bomb builders | Lebanon War protesters - Not Guilty! | EDO CORP: 2006 Alternative Report | 2007 Is The Year To Shut EDO Down | EDO MBM Injunction crumbles | EDO MBM desperate to stop protests as resistance increases | Smash EDO Take On The Law | Harassment Law Used Against Anti-War Campaigners | Campaign to Smash Edo | Arms company shut down
No Borders Camp 2010 in Brussels kicks off this Saturday (25th) til the 3rd October, so get yourself to the continent to make a start on creating a world where no one is illegal. Among the objectives of the camp are the denouncing of European migration policy; showing the links between this policy and the structures of capitalism and repression; the blocking of Brussels' deportation system and the organisation of an autonomous safe space for the voices of migrants and activists to be heard.1
The Hovefields Gypsy/Traveller site in Essex has been evicted this week. At the time of writing, a group of these families are still on the road without anywhere to stop, having been also evicted from two other sites they tried to move on to, all within 24 hours. In fact it is illegal for them to stop anywhere as a group, as they are more than six live-in vehicles.
A report of the English Defence League rally in Bradford last Saturday (August 28th) - which was followed by the English Nationalist Alliance attempting to march on Brighton the following Monday (30th). Neither were successful for the far-right, and met with anti-fascist resistance. Is this beginning of the end for the EDL - where can they go from here?
Update (28/08/10): most of the detainees stopped the hunger strike on Tues 10th, but around 15 people are still refusing to take meals from the kitchen.
"Today we raise our voices until liberty is ours. [...] We deserve to be heard and until such time, we fight."
Around 150 migrants held at Campsfield migrant prison near Kidlington are on hunger strike "as a result of the treatment of detainees in detention centres especially for people who have been detained for a long period of time".
"Our lives incidentally have been stalled without any hope of living a life, having a family or any future [...] some of us are tortured and even face death or mental distress [...] We are issued removal directions without given enough time for an appeal. [...] On a regular basis, we are tortured, restrained, strapped like animals and beating to effect removal."
Local campaigners have responded by immediately organising several solidarity demos and calling for people to write to their MPs. At least one detainee perceived as a ringleader has been transferred to another detention centre and placed in solitary detention.First detainee statement | Second statement | Reports of loud chanting | Friday demo + other updates ]
[ Campaign to Close Campsfield | Oxford No Borders | Barbed Wire Britain ]
[ Previous Campsfield detainee actions: June 2006 hunger strike | March 2007 riot | August 2007 riot and escape ]
The second Sheffield Indy Radio Show, Deportations, The EDL and Divide and Rule, features a discussion about the recent EDL confrontation at a Sheffield Indymedia meeting [MPEG video], the campaigns to oppose the deportations of two women from Sheffield, Odette Sefuko and Lem Lem Hussein Abdu, a listing of upcoming events from Alt-Sheff, news about the BP gulf oil spill via Democracy Now.
Read on to listen to the show and more details about what is in the show, Intro, Deportations, the BP Oil Spill, the EDL and some Chat. If you missed it the first Sheffield Indy Radio Show came out on 17th June 2010.
The Africa House squat in Calais is to be evicted next Wednesday (9th). After a herd of 20 CRS vans circled the squat scoping the site on Wednesday morning (2nd), they deposited an eviction notice with those present, informing the migrants they had a week to hit the streets. The building - home to Eritrean, Sudanese and Ethiopian migrants, many of whom had already seen previous squats and camps destroyed - has been marked for demolition.
The BNP have announced that their annual Red, White & Blue festival (RWB) will not be taking place this year. Anti-fascists, who have protested the festival over the past 2 years, are claiming this as a victory.
According to Amber Valley BNP organiser, Lewis Allsebrook, the BNP will be trying to hold a number of smaller events across the region instead of holding one big festival. Dissidents within the BNP are claiming that the this is because few members are interested in buying tickets for this year's event.
The festival has taken place on farmland near Codnor, Derbyshire since 2007. Last year over 1,000 anti-fascists and locals marched against the festival and in 2009 militant anti-fascists attempted to block roads leading to the site. In addition, the farmer who hosts the RWB, the festival organisers and even toilets companies have been targeted for direct action. RWB host Alan Warner has cited the attacks on his property as a reason to give up hosting the event.
Previous features: Anti-fascists challenge BNP's return to Derbyshire | Protests greet BNP "festival" | Anti-fascists Prepare to Stop BNP "Festival" | BNP Withdraw Festival Licence Application in the Face of Protests
The recent weeks have seen a flurry of anti-fascist activity, in response to a concerted election campaign by the fascist British National Party (BNP). The Derbyshire farm that hosts the party's Red, White & Blue festival was targeted for sabotage and a new edition of the local anti-fascist newsheet 'Burnt Flag' was released. There are also plans to re-dedicate the local memorial to International Brigade volunteers who fought Franco's fascists in Spain.
The BNP will be bitterly disappointed that after spending so much money and effort they failed to get even close to winning a seat in Parliament and lost many councillors. They seemed to have difficulty finding local candidates for many Notts seats and had to bring in Rachel Hill and James North from Melton to stand in Mansfield and Sherwood and Michael Shore from Hinckley to stand in Broxtowe.
Newswire: RWB farm gets a late night visit | Burnt Flag (antifascist newsheet): Spring Issue | BNP electoral performance in the East Midlands | Re-dedication of anti-fascist memorial | BNP announce candidate in Mansfield
This Saturday (15th) people will be protesting at various places around central London to give the new 'stable, national interest' coalition a warm welcome.
SchNEWS gives a round-up of all the events taking place over the weekend to get your action-hungry teeth stuck into.
Following the effective takeover of the National Front by suspected state asset Eddie Morrison, the NF have sought to capitalise on the perception amongst many hardcore racists that the BNP is now too mainstream, describing the larger organisations decision to "allow" non-white members a "sell-out" and explicitly calling for BNP members to jump ship. Unfortunately, the Front's credibility in the eyes of fellow members of the master race cannot have been helped by news that they have been chased out of Ripley in Derbyshire without even offering token resistance.
Hoping to create a bit of a stir, the Front had said they would be selling papers in Heanor, Ripley and Ilkeston as part of a so-called "day of action". They didn't even bother showing up in Heanor and only five 'warriors' of the 'master race' actually made it to Ripley town centre. There, anti-fascists confronted the tiny group and, without any struggle, they gave up their flag and large stacks of racist literature before legging it out of town, followed by taunts and abuse. They made a brief trip to Ilkeston later on but had turned tail and run home before anti-fascists were able to catch up with them.
On the newswire: National Front lose their flag and chased out of Ripley | NF Gaffe! | Eddy Morrison & The NF Split by Malatesta | 2010: The BNP, NF & EDL by ‘Malatesta’ | Fuhrer Eddy Morrison Takes Over NF by ‘Malatesta’
Previous features: BNP difficulties in Notts | EDL riot in Stoke | Fascists rally in Nottingham | Anti-fascists challenge BNP's return to Derbyshire | BNP candidate "would revel at causing some havoc"
Anti-fascists in Nottinghamshire have expressed pleasure at the BNP's drubbing in a by-election held in the Hucknall Central ward for a seat on Ashfield District Council following the death of the incumbent Tory councillor. The BNP would normally be expected to benefit from a low-turnout, but only managed 7.5% on a 32% turnout, coming fifth behind UKIP.
Compounding the BNP's problems, a group calling themselves "Broxtowe Reds" claim to have vandalised vehicles belonging to Dave and Nina Brown with paint stripper. The Browns are local BNP councillors who turned against the party leadership following Sadie Graham's expulsion from the party, but have now returned to the fold.
Meanwhile, autonomous anti-fascists in Nottingham have produced the first edition of a newsletter dubbed, "Burnt Flag." The newsletter includes analysis of the EDL's visit to the city in December last year, a record of anti-fascist actions through 2009 and a report on the second leaking of the BNP's membership list.
On the newswire: Broxtowe BNP vehicles damaged | BNP trounced in Hucknall election | Burnt flag: new nottingham antifascist newsheet | Stop the Nazi BNP in Hucknall! | BNP Candidate Standing at Hucknall Central By-Election
An estimated 1,500 English Defence League (EDL) supporters gathered in the pubs of Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday. Their stated aim was to rally against Islamic extremism, although the crowd heckled the EDL's own non-white speakers, fought with police and rampaged through a predominantly Asian area samshing windows and damaging cars. There was also a fight between rival football firms in the Wetherspoon's pub in which the EDL had gathered.
Once again, racist chants and Nazi salutes were witnessed indicating the presence of a significant contingent of racists and fascists. The EDL were opposed by a rally of around 300 anti-fascists, including some from Nottingham, on the other side of the city centre. Seventeen EDL were arrested and they injured four police officers.
Many supporters were disappointed by the behaviour of the EDL. One forum poster wrote "Stoke today was a disaster. We rioted. We throw bottles. We attacked police. Some people were racist." The EDL's next rally in England will be in Dudley on 4th April.
Previous feature: Fascists rally in Nottingham
Newswire: The Anarchist / Indymedia reaction to the EDL is not working | EDL Riot In Stoke by ‘Malatesta’ | EDL Stoke | Hardcore Nazis of the EDL | The EDL In Stoke | “F*** the p***s” – meet the EDL’s anti-racist poster boy | Stop the EDL in Stoke - 23rd January
The English Defence League (EDL) are a small fascist organisation which has been demonstrating against "Islamic extremism" in towns across the UK in recent months. Anti-fascist organisations say the group is anti-Muslim and fascist.
On Saturday 300-400 EDL members descended on Nottingham where most were held in a police pen near the castle all day. Their presence was opposed by a number of organisations including Nottinghamshire Stop the BNP and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) who rallied in Market Square and then marched down Friar Lane. A large number of autonomous anti-fascists and local youths managed to avoid being kettled by the police.
The EDL demonstration repeatedly attacked police lines on Castle Boulevard but failed to escape their escorts. Fighting also broke out several times outside pubs in which EDL members were drinking, and photographs have been published showing EDL demonstrators urinating against the walls of Nottingham Castle.
On the newswire: Running Rings Round the EDL | Piss-Poor EDL Defending England's Heritage | Saturday and the EDL: Whose Streets? Our Streets! | The EDL & The Far Right | EDL Violence In Nottingham | Can Police or BBC Count? | EDL: soldiers of the state? | EDL Nottingham - Photos | report from anarchists in nottingham who fought fash today.... | Wetherspoons (and the Police) Allow Drunken Nazis Onto Roof | Confronting the EDL - our historic duty! | Weatherspoons warned not to host EDL | Why do the police accept the EDL/CU line? | Weatherspoons Advised dont hold EDL demo in Notts! | We WILL be in Market Square! | Police tell UAF to change anti EDL demo | Saturday's Events and The Stop the War Coalition | Join us and stop the EDL in Nottingham, Sat 5th Dec | Nottingham Stop the EDL march: Useful info and tactics | EDL in Nottingham: Information for Action
In March 2007 the Home Office published "Enforcing the Rules": stating that its purpose was to ensure that for people seeking asylum, life "becomes ever more uncomfortable and constrained until they leave or are removed." From October this year they have stepped their efforts to make life hard for asylum seekers (and perhaps win some votes from the most ignorant and racist parts of the electorate). In particular: cutting asylum benefits to £5 a day for asylum seekers over 25; attempting (disastrously) to deport people to Baghdad, claiming that it is "safe" (one of the people on the demo had lost a friend to car bomb in Baghdad weeks before); making the process of claiming asylum even more of maze that it already is and announcing their intention to forcibly deport people to Zimbabwe by claiming there were "positive changes" there.
Sheffield's Zimbabwean community felt this attack on them should be resisted. They fled Zimbabwe to find safety here and there is no less danger in Zimbabwe now than before the latest "Unity" Government. Initiated by them and backed by the South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) we decided to speak out against this latest stepping up of the Government's war against asylum seekers. So 100-120 people demonstrated outside the Town Hall: asylum seekers from Zimbabwe, Uganda, Iraq, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Chechnia, Uzbekistan and Sudan joined SYMAAG, Sheffield and Barnsley Trades Councils, ASSIST, No Borders, CDAS, Sheffield Green Party, the Bishop of Sheffield and council leader Paul Scriven to show our opposition. As well as speeches there was dancing from members of the Zimbabwean group. The demonstration received coverage from Radio Sheffield, Sheffield Live and The Star and passers-by took 200 leaflets explaining why we were protesting. We left, cold but proud that we stood up for asylum rights in our city.
Next SYMAAG meeting: Monday 7th December 7pm at Scotia Works, Leadmill Road, Sheffield S1 4SE
Protests against the NATO parliamentary assembly in Edinburgh culminated in its the disruption on Tuesday morning [ Summary report ]. Six Trident Ploughshares activists were arrested when blocking the entrance to the Edinburgh Conference Centre. On Saturday, hundreds of protesters, including some NATO delegates, marched to the Edinburgh conference centre under the banner of the Stop the War coalition [ report ], whilst antifascists resisted a SDL rally in Glasgow.
The NATO Welcoming Committee called for action at the opening of the NATO meeting on Friday, but first the group was kettled by police before the protesters individually and spontaneously rallied in front of the assembly's meeting place.
About a week beforehand the access to the G20 finance meeting in St Andrew's was blockaded by five students and later in the day more than a hundred protesters marched to the Fairmont Hotel against the G20's policies.
Meanwhile the direct actions against the opencast coal mining at Mainshill Solidarity Camp continue. [ Report | Weekend of Actions and Workshops | round-up ]
The City of Edinburgh Council has also seen a lot of different grassroots groups campaigning against their policies, such as the privatisation of health and support services [ latest update], a bin workers "work-to-rule strike and overtime ban" [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ], manual workers dispute, parents group resisting the closure of schools, fight against funding cuts for community projects and opposition to the regeneration of the lower part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site [ Save our Old Town ] and the initiative to Save Meadowbank .
On 20th October 2009 a list containing personal details of BNP members was leaked for the second time by the whistleblowing website Wikileaks. According to Wikileaks the latest data reflects the state of the party membership as of April 2009. An analysis of the data alludes to the successes and failures of the antifascist movement within the UK.
The claims of a 'surge' in BNP membership since the European elections appear to be false. The figures show a unique paid annual membership of 11,811 which is significantly less than the 14,000 recently claimed by the BNP. The list leaked in November 2008 showed a membership of 12,802 names although this list was widely regarded to include non-members who had shown an interest in the party.
Wikileaks state that a total of 35,000 memberships appear on the list, but after this number reached 33,000, 100,000 has been added to all subsequent membership ID numbers. "It has the effect of making the BNP look larger to new recruits and those they talk to, since the numbers on their membership cards are all over 133,000" say Wikileaks. This was a tactic originally adopted by the German nazi party after 1919 who added 500 to every member's number to exaggerate the party's strength, and was regarded as a key propaganda tactic to increase support.
The number of lapsed memberships also appear to be significantly high which indicates the party is poor at retaining committed support. A member of the state-funded antifascist group 'Searchlight' stated "people join the party because they're angry, agitated or curious, but they leave in equal numbers out of the bottom". However most BNP supporters are unlikely to join a political party so the figures exhibit a skewed representation of the current landscape of fascism in the UK.