December 02, 2008

Anti BNP Event and Merseyside Police

Saturday 29th November 2008 saw a massive protest leafleting event against the fascist BNP and the racist leaflet for which 13 BNP members were arrested the previous Saturday. Over 500 Anti-fascists turned out including many from Liverpool’s black community to ensure that Merseyside stays a Fascist free zone.

The Merseyside Coalition against Racism and Fascism (M.C.A.R.F) and Searchlight produced a special leaflet to counter the racist BNP leaflet and printed 10, 000 copies and many were distributed on Saturday.

The President of M.C.A.R.F. Alec McFadden negotiated with Merseyside Police, organized the event, recruited stewards and produced the leaflets. The agreement with Police was that our leaflets would be distributed at the bottom of Church Street near Co-op bank. The Merseyside Police also confirmed that anyone distributing the racist BNP leaflet would be arrested.

On Tuesday 25th November the Crown Prosecution Service C.P.S ruled that the leaflet was likely to increase racial tension but was unlikely to increase racial hatred.

Merseyside Police objected and appealed that decision but on Friday the appeal was rejected, which meant that BNP could distribute their leaflets that were likely to increase racial tension, however M.C.A.R.F. was not informed of this

On Saturday morning 9. 45am the President of M.C.A.R.F. and three stewards were informed by the Senior Police Officer that the BNP were free to distribute their racist leaflets. All 500 plus present were addressed by the President of M.C.A.R.F. of the dangers, the need to work in groups and to contact one of the stewards or the police if anything threatening happened, including the BNP photographing demonstrators, and that personal security was a priority.

Over the next two hours 3000 leaflets were distributed, a number of speeches were made, music played, and the stewards did a great job, although a few BNP did try and take photos of demonstrators leafleting. These were dealt with by Police and Stewards.

The Stewards regularly checked across Liverpool City Centre for any sign of BNP but none were seen other than the few fascists trying to take photo’s.

At around 11. 50am the Police met the Stewards and M.C.A.R.F. President and informed them that no BNP activity was going to take place and that local BNP had stopped the mobilization. Our Steward confirmed that no groups of BNP had been seen. The Stewards and organizers then agreed to celebrate victory against BNP and stop the protest leafleting. The President of M.C.A.R.F. then addressed the Anti-Fascist Protesters and the event wound down in a positive frame of mind and many left the area.

Less than 75 minutes later 40/50 BNP were discovered at St. Georges Platau, and they were escorted into Liverpool City Centre by Merseyside police. The Anti-Fascists who were still in town and a few of the Stewards protested and chanted against the BNP who were lead by Nick Griffin their General Secretary. The protest lasted over one hour and three arrests were made, one BNP for the threatening behavior at News from Nowhere and two Anti-Fascists. No Charges have been made.

It is now very clear that the Police were either mislead by their intelligence, the BNP or mislead the organizers of the Ant-Fascist Event.

Openly racist leaflets were distributed in Liverpool by BNP under the protection of Merseyside Police.

On Monday 1st December M.C.A.R.F, Searchlight plus members of Liverpool Black Leader Forum have arranged to meet senior Merseyside Police after the President of M.C.A.R.F. made a complaint against Police handling of Saturdays Anti-Fascist Event. That meeting will take place this week.

An Early Day motion will go to Parliament on Wednesday from Merseyside M. Ps asking the Crown Prosecution Service to reconsider their position on the BNP leaflet which in the view of the Black Leaders Forum, M.C.A.R.F, and Anti-Fascist Activists will increase both racial tension and increase racial hatred.

Merseyside has always been a Fascist Free Zone and it is the intention of its citizens to maintain that position.

The spectacle of Merseyside Police protecting the Fascist BNP while they walk through the streets of Liverpool City centre distributing openly racist leaflets is an outrage, and must never be repeated. Our diverse community, The Trade Union Movement and all democratic people must ensure it never happens again.

Alec McFadden: President MCARF

Tragic murders the BNP is trying to exploit


James Elliot said...

At last. A decent and comprehensive report on Saturday. Thank you to Alec and LU.

Anonymous said...

So once again the BNP lied to the police and as usual the police believed them. How come the police ALWAYS work on the side of the fascists? Do I really need to ask that question?

Tom S (Bootle) said...

Ey well done Alec for getting a good report in.

Towards A Higher Man said...

About time. Will let you know what i think.

Joe Owens

Brown Sauce said...

It would have helped further if the UAF had not decided to go off elsehere instead of doing the leafletting.

James said...

Another IM report though not complimentary to the organisers that seems to support the figures.

"Leaders collaborate with police and lose the day for Liverpool anti-fascists

Revolution UK | 02.12.2008 10:17 | Anti-racism | Liverpool
Report of anti-fascist demonstration 29 November 2008

James from Liverpool reports on an anti-fascist demonstration with real potential to force the BNP off the streets – if it wasn't for the treachery of anti-fascist leaders

Saturday 22 November saw the BNP mobilise twelve of their thugs from across the north-west to hand out the vile ‘racism cuts both ways’ pamphlet on Church Street in the centre of Liverpool. Eager to clear their name after having at least one officer exposed as a member of the fascist organisation Merseyside Police swooped in and arrested them.

The following week saw BNP outrage at the arrests, with articles on their website referring to the police as the Merseyside KGB, and more worryingly their call for a demonstration on the streets of Liverpool on November 29th. Despite short notice, Liverpool anti-fascist activists acted quickly and spent the intervening week organising a counter-demonstration to begin at 10am that morning, an hour before the BNP planned to arrive.

On arrival we were informed by Merseyside Coalition Against Racism and Fascism (MCARF) spokesperson, Alec McFadden, that earlier in the morning the Attorney General had, unsurprisingly, intervened to overturn the charges against the BNP members. Crowds continued to gather around the sound system that had been set up at the bottom of Bold Street. We listened to several speakers talking about the need to keep Merseyside free of fascists before it was announced by McFadden (shortly after 11am) that the BNP had not come to town and we could claim ‘victory’. It quickly became clear that this information had been supplied by the police to mislead us, and stupidly was passed on to the crowd by McFadden and Weyman Bennett, a leader of Unite Against Fascism and the Socialist Workers Party.

The announcement directly conflicted with information from those activists who had been walking around watching out for the fascists. It was clear from the police presence that the BNP were indeed still in town, and sure enough at 11.30am a group of us spotted around 50 of them marching (with a police escort of course!) from St. Georges Gardens to Church St. Immediately it became clear that we had been followed by the police, and as soon as we reached for our phones we were stopped and harassed.

Despite this setback, those thirty to forty activists who had remained after the premature declaration of victory managed to regroup and confront the fascists, who had by now begun leafleting. The police quickly and forcefully separated us and began reinforcing their lines between us and the fascists. Within half an hour the crowd confronting the BNP had swelled to between 200 and 250, most of whom were members of the public. As the crowd grew it became clear that the police were organising to break up our demonstration, whilst at the same time giving BNP photographers (among them known fascist psychopath Joe Owens) free reign to picture and video us. However, despite intimidation from the police and the fascists the crowd continued to grow in size and militancy, chanting "We know where you live! We know where you live!" and "One, two, one two three, how many cops in the BNP!" Alongside the standard battle-cry of "nazi-scum, off our streets!"

At this point Weyman Bennett returned, megaphone aloft (having conspicuously disappeared once it became clear a confrontation was on the cards) to do the police’s job for them. In a combined display of misjudged machismo, blatant opportunism and treacherous collaboration, Bennett assured the crowd "I’m a man who normally likes to settle things with his fists" before warning us that if we didn’t leave in five minutes we would all be arrested. Despite meeting vocal opposition from the crowd, Bennett continued to try and split us, telling the clique of UAF sycophants who had patronisingly hushed the crowd to turn their backs on the other demonstrators and do what the police told them. As he led people away a new unit of cops were moved in at the front of the three further lines that had been formed, and they began to forcefully disperse us.

After ten minutes of trying to hold off the police offensive, they managed to isolate those who had been agitating for us to hold our ground, we were read a section of the Public Order Act before being frog marched to where Bennett had obediently reassembled the demonstration (nearly a kilometre from the fascists) and released. At this point the crowd (now numbering around one hundred) had been completely hemmed in by the police, whilst the BNP marched back across town and held a rally on the steps of St. George’s Hall, declaring the they had "reclaimed the streets of Liverpool."

What we saw on Saturday was defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. At all points we outnumbered the fascists, there were many among us prepared to confront them and physically drive them off the streets of Liverpool, and we won the support of many members of the public. However, the incompetence of Alec McFadden and the treachery of Weyman Bennett left an isolated group of activists (including many young first-timers) to be brutally attacked by the police whilst bravely upholding the principle of No Platform.

This is a story we hear time and time again about the "leaders" of the anti-fascist movement who limit their no-platform policies and radical rhetoric to reliance on the racist police and courts of law. The reason is simple - their strategy is to limit action to what is acceptable to trade union leaders, Labour and even Tory MPs. REVOLUTION fights both within and outside of groups like MCARF, UAF and Searchlight for a community and working class anti-fascist organisation. We put forward our strategy to a demonstration in Leeds with enormous success – proving in practice the kind of anti-fascist movement we must build."

Antifascist said...

'About time. Will let you know what i think.'

We don't care what you think.

Pino88 said...

So AntiFascist you dis-agree with working with the police, then why where the news from knowehere people straight on the phone to Merseyside Police and made a full complaint against me for over what I was "alledged" to have said?

Would you like to explain that way as according to you lot the only people who get Police protection is the BNP.

Someone Lock Up Joe Owens said...

If Joe Owens thinks he can play the Lord Lichfield, passing on photos to Redwatch, the Old Bill might be forced to pay a handcuffing visit to his house. The photos were taken without the anti-fscist campaigners persmission, and they defo wouldn't give permission to post them on Redwatch.

How's the gangster and drug dealing scene in Liverpool going Joe?

Anonymous said...

Weyman Bennett couldnt punch his way out of a paper bag. Once again he has proved his treachery.

Shame on the Liverpool Police for giving the BNP the profile and the ability to have the headline grabbing Reclaim the streets line.


wiki wonders said...

Most Wikipedians are racists with a pro-nazi stance, wouldn't you agree, Ketlan?

(Edit made on the 1st of December 2008).

Yesterday, a signed-in member watered down the BNP article even further, removing the word "terrorist" to describe Combat 18.

Are Combat18 indeed a terrorist group, or is this pro-BNP Wikipedia editor indeed correct to remove the word "terrorist"??????

Please can you help, Ketlan.

Anonymous said...

Anyone looking at the sanitised BNP Wikipedia article would think the BNP seemed like a decent bunch of guys, and now, that Combat18 are a harmeless protest group.

Wikipedia sucks as nobody corrects biases and mistruths.

This article is so pro-fascist it makes me cringe.

Anonymous said...

Antifascist said...

'So AntiFascist you dis-agree with working with the police, then why where the news from knowehere people straight on the phone to Merseyside Police and made a full complaint against me for over what I was "alledged" to have said?'

How the fuck would I know? What have I got to do with New From Nowhere? Unlike you drones on the far-right, anti-fascists are allowed different opinions, which is why I've posted two views of the same event.

'Most Wikipedians are racists with a pro-nazi stance, wouldn't you agree, Ketlan?'

No, that's a ridiculous thing to say. It's true that the BNP and individuals connected with it (such as Patrick Harrington) are active on Wikipedia, amending their own pages until it starts to look like Wikipedia is just a giant fan club for them, but that doesn't stop anti-fascists amending articles or complaining when they have the time.

I've stated numerous times that I personally don't have time to bugger about on Wikipedia all day but anyone who does should take any opportunity to correct the lying and/or more misleading articles. You can track edits by certain IPs and get them banned if they're editing inappropriately. Do it.

KT said...

"Pino88" was last seen on his arse.

Even the tubby tramp over at the British People's Party was laughing at him.

ES said...

Joey hid from Martin Reynolds and his black dildo on the day!

Anonymous said...

I hitch hiked up from Bangor Uni to Liverpool in dreadful weather, to confront the facists, this is the 2nd time I have been let down by the M.C.A.R.F. The organisation and communications have a lot to be desired. The day proved very disappointing. Younger more pragmatic leadership is badly needed. We need change.

Anonymous said...

Another report here

"SWP/Unite Against Fascism “leader” Weyman Bennett has undermined an anti-fascist protest again.

Having learnt nothing from the SWP’s sectarian fiasco in Derbyshire in August, Bennett worked with the police to prevent anti-fascists from sweeping the BNP off Liverpool’s streets on 29 November.

The BNP had announced it would be organising a national leafleting drive in the city at 11am. 250 activists, the majority local to Liverpool and with a strong labour movement presence, gathered that morning to oppose them.

A week before, 12 BNP members had been arrested and charged with distributing literature designed to incite racial hatred. In the event, however, the Attorney General over-ruled the Merseyside police to insist that the fascists’ racist propaganda derby was legitimate; the cops spent their day defending the fascists.

They had help from help from Bennett, who, advised by the police, announced that the BNP were not going to turn up. As a result, when 100 BNP members arrived at about 11.30am, the protest had shrunk to less than 100. The protest was swelled by passing locals disgusted at the presence of the BNP on the streets of their city, but prevented from fully confronting the fascists by overwhelming police force.

Then the police decided to move the demonstration on. Bennett, acting as their representative inside the anti-fascist movement, declared that the protest would have to retreat, but he had negotiated “five more minutes” of chanting. When the majority refused, he abandoned the protest, leaving it to be pushed away by the police.

This is getting seriously worrying. Twice in less than six months, the SWP has been so determined to undermine any anti-fascist protest it does not control that it has worked with the police to effectively protect the fascists from mass mobilisations. We need to make sure every labour movement activist, and every SWP member, knows what happened in Liverpool"

Anonymous said...

This is getting seriously worrying. Twice in less than six months, the SWP has been so determined to undermine any anti-fascist protest it does not control that it has worked with the police to effectively protect the fascists from mass mobilisations. We need to make sure every labour movement activist, and every SWP member, knows what happened in Liverpool"

What happened in Liverpool was reported responsibly by McFadden.

And divisively by a few people that don't understand that unity and solidaity are required to defeat anti-fascism not militant posturing.

Andrew Brooks said...

Another report, this time from Socialist Worker. And get a grip people, remember there are people out there deliberately spreading disinformation.

"Blocking the BNP in Liverpool

Anti-fascist protesters in Liverpool last Saturday (Pic: Tommy Ewing)

Some 300 people came to a rally to demonstrate against the fascist British National Party (BNP) in Liverpool on Saturday of last week.

The protest had been called to oppose BNP plans to distribute racist leaflets in the city.

The anti-fascist demonstration was called by Liverpool Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and Liverpool Love Music Hate Racism.

It attracted a broad range of people, including students and local trade unionists.

Many at the anti-Nazi protest were shocked by the behaviour of the police.

Senior officers told the protest organisers that the BNP had decided not to turn up. This information was false.

On hearing the police claims many protesters assumed that they had won and dispersed.

Others, including UAF speakers, argued that they should not trust the police’s assurances and should instead march down to where the fascists had been due to meet.

A group of around 100 anti-fascists attempted to reach the point where the BNP had assembled. But the police refused to let them through and threatened to arrest leading activists.

Protesters who did manage to get near the Nazis reported seeing around 50 fascists there, including BNP leader Nick Griffin, surrounded and protected by the police.

The police allowed the Nazis to distribute leaflets but penned in those protesting against them.

The fact that the fascists were outnumbered and challenged by their opponents is important.

But the events also show that the police cannot be trusted to play an honest role in such protests.

Mass movements against fascism in the past – from Cable Street to the Battle of Lewisham – have succeeded by defying police attempts to protect the Nazis.

Those lessons need to be relearned by today’s movement against the BNP."

Paul said...

What was the fiasco in Derbyshire? Police would not let us march past the RWB gate. Big deal. The BNP knew we were there in big numbers and their Security panicked anyway. Weyman relayed to us what the Police had said to him. That does not make him treacherous. I am in the SWP. It is a group of people who want maximum unity against fascism. It is not a group of people who undermine an anti-fascist demo if they do not control it. Because the SWP is the biggest group on the left, a lot of people blame it for anything that, in their opinion, goes wrong on a demonstration. I remember years ago being told that it was not the Met Riot Police but the SWP Stewards who prevented us marching past the BNP bunker in London. I hear more about the SWP from those who aren't in it than from those who are in it. Let's just get on with the job of uniting against the fascists. Do not attribute treacherous motives to leading figures because they are in the SWP. What Party should they join? Labour?