August 10, 2009

Far-right group, the English Defence League, in disarray after Birmingham fracas

A rightwing group, which has promised a summer of demonstrations against British Muslims, was in disarray today after its first significant protest ended in violence and 35 arrests.

The English Defence League staged a march near the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham this weekend but its small band of supporters was drastically outnumbered by anti-fascist campaigners and riot police. The protest ended in violent skirmishes and running battles through the city’s busy shopping streets on Saturday evening.

Members of the League resorted to bitter in-fighting today as supporters labelled the organisers “ridiculous” and the event a “shambles”. At least three people were injured as hundreds of police, some in full riot gear, broke up fights between anti-Islamic protesters and anti-fascist groups who came to disrupt the demonstration. At one point officers were forced to seal off New Street with a steel barrier.

Emily Bridgewater, who was shopping when violence broke out, told the Birmingham Post: “It kicked off very suddenly and there was stampeding and screaming. We ended up being herded into Primark, where they brought the shutters down to protect us. It was very frightening.”

The League publicised its demonstration in the weeks leading up to the march and claimed that another would be held in Luton on August Bank Holiday weekend. Despite efforts to promote the event, fewer than 100 were thought to have gathered. Left-wing groups including Unite Against Fascism were alerted to the march and were able to organise a counter demonstration.

One member of the League’s online forum, registered as Adder, wrote: “I support you guys but yesterday was a shambles and you made us English look like an embarrassment. What exactly happened to supposed 'In the high hundreds' who were supposed to turn up? I saw the video and it seemed like there was barely 70 of you. Holding it such a high profile public place, ridiculous idea [sic]. That's just asking for normal civilians minding their own business to get attacked.”

Neil Edy, another member of the website, said: “I went to the march ... the turn out to the event wasnt good enuf only a few of us were there supporting the cause.”

Another sympathiser, calling himself Bill, said that he had not been able to find the others: “We were in the City most the afternoon, but then left as we had no one to contact and meet with, and we werent the only ones.”

Despite the failure of the first large event, the League insists it will continue to hold demonstrations. Comments on the group’s website, and the affiliated football hooliganism site Casuals United said that the next one would be bigger. One message on the Casuals United site read: “We will arrange it via the Inner Circles secret forums, so we will arrive unnanounced and neither the police or the scum will know any details.”

Some members may find it more difficult to travel to future demonstrations after West Midlands Police said that they were studying footage of the violence and would consider applying for injunctions against troublemakers. A police spokesman explained that the English Defence League had not informed local police of their intension to march but said that officers had no power to prevent a demonstration.

The English Defence League claim not to be a racist group and say that they have no ties with the British National Party. One of the websites linked to the League is believed to have been set up by a known BNP member, but that has now been taken down in an apparent attempt to conceal any link. Nick Griffin, the leader of the BNP, insisted that there was no link with the group. He said: “It’s a potentially very dangerous development. I understand it mainly comes from Luton ... which is a tinderbox.”

The group, which organises events on its website and through a Facebook group with 198 members, plans to hold its next large official gatherings in Harrow and Luton in August and then in Manchester in October.

Times Online


anti-racist football fan said...

If the Casuals Football Hooligan Group wants to hold a march in Manchester, hopefully the police authorities will ban it. The last time football hooligans rioted in Manchester, it was Rangers fans a few years ago.

What the fuck's up with the police's football intelligence unit when they cannot infiltrate gatherings like this.

Also, Manchester City and Manchester United must take a stand and speak out against their presence, showing unity against fascism.

Back in their all-white days Man City used to have a racist hoolie element, but now with their international multicultural team, it's as much about tolerance as Man United.

Dave B said...

Can't the FA's anti-racist body "Kick It Out" help football rise up against the spate of racist hooliganism blighting the sport.

We don't want the UK football scene to welcome gangs such as the neo-nazi hooligan Ultras from Rome who stab and shoot rival supporters and conduct racist attacks in city centres.

Does anybody know who I should speak to at Kick It Out to discuss these issues, so I can have a chat with them about some suggestions at keeping the casuals from injecting 1980s racism back into British football???

shell said...

Have any of the troublemakers been banned from all 92 football league grounds, I would ask Mr Chief Constable?

If not, why the hell not?

Surely ASBOS and banning orders followed up with threats of huge hefty fines and prison sentences should be enough to keep these racist soccer thugs at bay.

oyster catcher said...

Doesn't Special Branch monitor football hooligans, and share details with the Transport Police to stop these scumbags from travelling?

pauline said...

Football banning orders apply to city centres and shopping areas besides football grounds themselves.

These so-called "English Football Fans" bring shame on our national football team, and are a reason why whenever our team travels to Europe, our reputation encourages trouble and violence wherever we go.

Frankly, English football sucks!

Without all of the talented foreign players, the Premier League would be a pile of shit, which is something the thick as horse shit ASBO-clad racist hoolie types need to comprehend while they continue to give the sport a bad name.

ihatefootball said...

Idiots like the EDL Casuals give English football a bad name.

You don't get this with rugby union or league, which is a much better game !

Anonymous said...

Football hooliganism should have died out years ago.

It's the 21st century now, guys! Wake up to the fact that many of the best players in the PL are black!

Anonymous said...

What makes football hooligans tick?

pieeater said...

Are all football hooligans racist by definition, seeing that football is such a tribal game of local and international rivalries?

den brook said...

Surely Luton Town FC have a role to play in stopping their fans causing havoc, or don't they give a shit?

Brummie said...

And when the far right are in disarray it is acrimonious and violent, as our history books tell us!

I have emailed Cllr Mike Whitby, the leader of Birmingham City Council to say I never want to see this fascist-inspired violence in the Second City ever again in my life, and I urge all of you fellow Brummies out there to do likewise.

Anonymous said...

That LionHeart bloke, Paul Ray, latest blog on entry on this is hilarious.

He is clearly a deeply deluded individual as he believes he is somehow re-fighting the 12th century Crusades - his blog as sentences like "....and the crusader divisions from Luton (!) stormed into Birmingham carrying the crusader cross"

What a loony!

Raymond said...

They are holding a demo in Harrow. It is an Asian but mainly Hindu area so the anti- Muslim reason is just an excuse then- it is all about race.

Anonymous said...

Yes it is all about race. Why do you think they chose Birmingham? Because it is a place where communities co-exist peacefully.

I think England needs to be defended - from racist yobbos.

Anonymous said...

It's bad enough when they go on the rampage in foreign countries dragging the country and flag through the shit in front of the whole world's press, but when they do it right here in the UK, it is a major cause for concern for us all.

And they have absolutely no respect for the police either (unlike UAF) according to the report. This is mob rule not democracy.

Anonymous said...

Idiots like the EDL Casuals give English football a bad name.

You don't get this with rugby union or league, which is a much better game !

NO, only the odd UKIPper, hahaha!

Anonymous said...

"They are holding a demo in Harrow. It is an Asian but mainly Hindu area so the anti- Muslim reason is just an excuse then- it is all about race."

This EDL crap seems to be a Luton thing - The only 'succesful' demos (in terms of numbers) they have had seem to be centred there. Places like Harrow, Windsor and Watford are fairly close to Luton so maybe they will concentrate on causing trouble for the Asian populations in these satellite areas.

I think this thing won't get much traction. It will be a band of Luton racists travelling the country with ever-diminishing returns.

Anonymous said...

"You don't get this with rugby union or league, which is a much better game !"

We'll agree to differ on that one.

Racism and fascism in Football won't be defeated by the Police or establishment campaigns - Grassroots anti-facist football groups (including Casuals) need to be created to counter the racists. These exist in Italy (look up Livorno) and need to be created in England.

twintubz said...

Can't Luton Town FC condemn these hooligans if they are indeed as expected mostly Luton town fans trying to spread their hate nationwide?

PG Tipps said...

It seems that Luton hooligans are busy posting hoolie vids on YouTube boasting of their "legendary fighting prowess" in a match against Watford some years ago.

It's eerie how pissed-up white pillocks like this think it's cool to go around beating people up.

tony said...

The hateful Daily Star gave the wrongful impression the trouble was caused by black and Asian people burning union jack flags: -

Why do the Daily Star continue to spread disinformation.

Surely the paper's owner Richard Desmond, who happens to be Jewish, knows the danger of helping fascism gain a foothold with such racist disinfo.

What's the story with pornographer Desmond, anyway?

He should be on the side of anti-fascism, as groups like the Casuals and the BNP are virulently anti-semitic despite being Islamophobic.

angry said...

The Daily Star gives the misleading bullshit impression that the football hooligans were benign and it was Muslims burning flags which caused the trouble.

campaina said...

Campaigning emails need to be sent to Luton Town FC to get them to condemn the casuals and give each member a life ban from attending home and away matches.

sparks said...

It's a football thing. Pissed-up pillocks think they are members of an army of thugs defending their terrirory from rival supporters.

Never knew Luton Town was a haven of casuals until I say that YouTube video. Seems like there have been many arrests of Luton fans in the last decade for public order offences.

Anonymous said...

Porno freak Richard Desmond has no ethics absolutely which explains his newspapers sickening support of racism and fascism.

Anonymous said...

Paul Ray's on the Stirrer forum spreading crap. Look for anti-Muslim Demo thread.

turnleft said...

Q - "What makes football hooligans tick?"

A - often the teams they support aren't successful, and they're pre disposed to fighting. its a very sad, weird world indeed.

"hooligans" & "casuals" are intent on violence.

They often don't attend games at all.

Anonymous said...

IT is a damn disgrace snd a shameful act for the Daily Star/Express to continue unofficially supporting the Nazi BNP especially when even Littlejohn's employers at the Daily Mail (whose readers would probably vote UKIP anyway) have strongly attacked them.

The Daily Star has the red blood of every British European and American serviceman who defeated fascism and Nazism - on its masthead.

John Cee said...

Richard Desmond is a hypocrite and is letting down the whole of the UK's Jewish community with his flirting with organised fascism. With the rise of the far right, have come attacks on Jewish people, according to authorities.

Legitimise neo-nazis and you get more anti-semitism, pure and simple!

I can imagine there are plenty of disparaging looks when he turns up for Saturday worship from a frighetened community worried about the rise of fascism.

Karen said...

The solution would be to send this group of racist football hooligans to the 2010 world cup in South Africa - they will be hugely outnumbered and their association with Mr Kemp would get them a really hot racist welcome in SA - you can be sure they will not be returning, except maybe in a six foot box and in the cargo hold!

Brummie said...

Has anyone heard the rumour the EDL and their hooligans will be back wreaking havoc in Brum on Sunday 30th August?? also some of Aston Villa's hooligan element are planning on causing trouble the following Saturday (5/9)??

BM said...

Dave B said
Does anybody know who I should speak to at Kick It Out to discuss these issues, so I can have a chat with them about some suggestions at keeping the casuals from injecting 1980s racism back into British football???

Here is the link to the Kick It Out website homepage:

Their full contact details are on their website. The director of Kick It Out is Piara Powar.

I hope you will go ahead an contact them.