The EDL were there for a planned demo against the govts failure to tackle extremism, extremism that they claim ultimately led to the death of Lee Rigby.
I made my way down Whitehall and came across a group of several hundred EDL being held by the police, while a few left wingers were bellowing abuse at them in their best home counties accents. It was the all too familiar scene of both groups shouting at each other, but there was no violence. I carried on towards Downing St. Once there it became clear that the UAF mob had staged a counter protest. They were being held in the protest pen opposite Downing St.
There was a heavy police presence including a van from the dog branch, the passengers of which could be heard going mental, barking in excitement at the prospect of sinking their gnashers into some flesh. The dogs were quite exited too.
As for the UAF protesters, they were the usual faces. Young posh kids. I know the police have to strike a balance with protesters in order not antagonise, but to allow a group who have a history of violence to parade around the most security sensitive area of London, if not Europe with their faces covered to avoid recognition, is a step too far down the appeasement road.
It didn't take long for the masked members of the UAF to start fighting with the cops. A simple request for a splinter group to move off the road and into the pen with the rest of the protesters was enough to see them start throwing punches at the cops and a wee bit of a pushing and jostling contest took place. The sound of the snarling police dogs seemed to put UAF on the back foot and the cops were able to manhandle them off the road and unto the pen.
|Police arrest a hooded UAF thug|
For those unfamiliar with the layout of the protest pen opposite Downing St, it is an area appx 200yards long and behind barriers. The UAF were occupying about a third of it when the EDL march arrived, under a heavy police escort.
Soon the pen was full to bursting point. To be fair to the EDL they did their own thing. They waved flags, chanted, and Tommy Robinson gave a speech. It all went very smoothly, and I was just heading up Whitehall when I got a call saying that trouble had broken out. When I got back, the EDL were leaving the area, some with blood pouring from head wounds, were being treated by the the police. It transpired that as the EDL were leaving, UAF had launched bottles at them. They had returned fire.
As it was UAF who had started the bottle throwing, the police put a containment around them (kettle). It has to be said that there were only around 50 of UAF left. Of course, the police couldn't identify who had thrown the bottles, as the guilty parties had their faces covered!!!!!
During this containment, they decided to have some impromptu speeches.
First up was Steve Hart, an official in the Unite Union. He used his first sentence to say how sad he was about the death of Lee Rigby. That first sentence took around 15 seconds. He started his second sentence with the word "But", and continued, we mustn't forget all the dozens of racist murders that have taken place in the UK, or words to that effect, he then went on about Stephen Lawrence.
So, Steve Hart, while representing a trade union, used the brutal murder by terrorists, of a serving UK soldier on the streets of London, as an opportunity to promote his own, and seemingly his union's agenda. He spoke for around 10 mins. He did nothing to address any issues regarding Lee's murder. Shame on him. And to think, people pay to be in the same union!
Next up to the mike was leader of UAF, Wyman Bennett. He is a known thug, and is to race relations, what Lord Leveson is to press relations. I never heard him mention Lee Rigby at all. He too, was mainly concerned about how bad things were for immigrants. He launched a verbal attack on Tommy Robinson of the EDL, working himself up to such an extent he was actually foaming at the mouth.
|Wyman Bennett UAF|
This was a day when those addressing the crowds, from both sides should have been condemning Lee's death in the strongest possible terms. UAF were not interested. Speeches over it was time for Mr Bennett to negotiate with the police to get his band of lefties let out of the containment as they were whinging about needing the toilet and human rights blah, blah. The cops agreed to let them out providing they left the area. Not an unfair request I feel.
Less than 2 minutes after leaving the kettle, UAF tried to attack five EDL who were drinking outside a pub. What followed was comedy gold. The five EDL walked away followed by a baying mob of UAF. They walked around Parliament Square, and towards Westminster tube. There were two cops in attendance. Every now and then one of the UAF would pluck up the courage to get close to the EDL who were just walking calmly, and indulge in a bit of 'pavement dancing'. "come on then you fascist scum" they would shout, but as soon as the EDL turned around, the pavement dancer would melt back into the crowd. The EDL did not take the bait. Suddenly they mob charged at the five. By now there was a fair number of police on foot, who got in between the two groups. The air was full of the sound of sirens as the riot vans raced to the scene.
Soon the roads around the scene were closed, buses re-routed and Westminster Tube station closed. Tourists were cowering in fear, and children were crying, all because of UAF. For visitors and tourists alike, what had started as a nice day enjoying the sights, ended when a large group of masked men fought with police - all in the shadow of Big Ben. UAF claim to be anti violence. This is a lie.
Despite these disruptions to public services, and the fear felt by the hundreds of tourists who were in the area enjoying the sites of Westminster, I have yet to see any reports of this in the mainstream media.
As usual, they were too busy concentrating on the EDL.
Talking of the EDL, yesterday was so nearly a good day for them. Besides getting pissed and singing some questionable songs, in the main, they behaved. I saw no fighting with cops in Whitehall. They had their speeches and left. Yes they retaliated when the UAF threw bottles at them but that was to be expected. What spoiled the day for them publicity wise, was after the event when they returned to Leicester Square. Again in an area full of tourists, they disgraced themselves by skirmishing with the police. Shame really, as even some of the cops I spoke to were impressed with they way they had behaved in Whitehall.
Next weekend sees the BNP demonstrating in Woolwich. UAF are infiltrating several residents groups in the area and already stirring up trouble. All this because a young soldier was murdered by terrorists on the streets of London. Why can't they just let it be and let people voice their opinions - whoever they are? Fight against fascism, it's what our forces do every day, but - don't do it on the back of events in Woolwich. The death of Lee Rigby should not be hijacked for any groups agenda, as it was by UAF on Monday.
Having a read through of this before I post it I am aware that I come across as pro EDL. I'm not. This is an accurate account of what I saw yesterday. Luckily, I have the photographs to prove most of what I say. They can be found here - www.mitchell-images.com