Following on from the violent racist rallies of football hooligans and hardcore Nazis up and down the country, accused of bottling out of their invasion into Bolton, the drunken racist thugs of the English Defence League have decided to go all out to cause a race riot at the city where the National Front triggered rioting nine years ago on 7 July 2001, Bradford
On Sunday the 30th of May 2010, chanting racist chants and making stiff-armed Hitler salutes, disguised with face masks, armed with hammers, chisels and bottles, the racist private army known as the EDL will march from Bradford Interchange Railway Station to the Turls Green Lloyds Bar (Wetherspoons) in Centenary Square, the exact site of the rioting nine years ago, (a bar ironically used by Asian as well as white customers) intending to cause the mother of all race riots, aiming to destroy what remains of Bradford's undeveloped city centre.
Behind the spin doctoring of Portsmouth-based mouthpiece Trevor Kelway, while denying they are neo-Nazis at every juncture, the EDL have shown their true colours with racial attacks exemplified by Luton, by openly saluting Adolf Hitler, smashing windows of Asian shops, and most incendiary of all, attacking mosques and destroying Muslim graves on the days leading up to their protest.
Visits to Manchester, Nottingham and Stoke have all resulted in widespread disorder, with arrests for various different crimes, but anti-racist campaigners have criticised police forces for failing to arrest EDL mobs for openly chanting racial abuse in public. If the forces of law and order were, by negligence, to fail to arrest EDL thugs shouting the word "paki" in public, the West Yorkshire Police would once again be viewed by Asian people and anti-fascists as taking sides with the neo-Nazis resulting in Bradford's final riot.
It has taken years for Bradford's multicultural communities to move on from the last race riot, and since then, public enquiries have been carried out, reports written, and new community initiatives have been conducted to help heal the scars, but much of Bradford's city centre has failed to recover. Shops still lie empty, pound shops and charity shops all that remains of a once-thriving city centre economy. Half of Bradford's city centre now resembles a bomb site, since the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition allowed the Westfield Shopping Centre to collapse, and the Odeon row rumbles steadily on, public discontent with Bradford Metropolitan Council at an all-time high.
Trevor Kelway and millionaire far right backer Alan Lake have exploited a loophole in the laws of the land which allow static political protests, albeit peaceful ones. The actions of the EDL are anything but peaceful, and compared to the purely vocal extremism of Islam4UK, they are a much greater threat to both community and public safety with their rampages of uncontrolled physical force, and yet, despite regular complaints from anti-racist and mainstream faith organisations including the Muslim Council of Britain, the Labour Party continues to turn a blind eye to their violent Islamophobia.
Conspiracy theorists have argued that in treating the neo-Nazi EDL with kid gloves, the government is utilising their disgusting campaign of violent hatred as a tool of patriotism, keeping Muslims in their place to shore-up the War On Terror, defend the government from the fall-out of the Iraq enquiry, and mute protests against both civilian and military casualties from the War in Afganistan. For their violent racist actions which include racial attacks, attacking the police, smashing up Asian businesses, the EDL could be banned in a matter of minutes, however Britain's far right groups are never ever banned, regardless of the crimes they perpetrate. This sadly is a historical fact which leads some people to suspect the EDL are state-funded either by special branch or MI5/6.
Bradford's home grown Pakistani Muslim community is religiously moderate, and times have changed significantly since the Salman Rushdie protests many years ago. If the EDL were seriously choosing genuine hotbeds of Islamic extremism to target with protest, Bradford should be way down the list. All of Bradford's mosques work with the police and social workers to ensure young Muslims are not radicalised, and if it is all a question of patriotism, consider this: - In December, 1000 of Bradford's Muslims in Thornbury raised £5 each for the floods in Cumbria, including money for the family of a policeman who died rescuing householders from danger.
In the words of Canon Andy Williams, Bishop of Bradford said: “The president of the mosque and the Imam spoke positively about their aim of strengthening ties between the Muslim and Christian communities, saying we all live in the UK and need to support one another.” And only last week, Manningham's Muslims set up a well-attended scouts and cubs group. And still the likes of the EDL and the BNP accuse Asian people of refusing to integrate. Of course, any such measures by Bradford's Asian community to prove they are as British as white people fall upon deaf ears when the EDL plan acts of racism and public disorder. Their hatred of Islam is in-fact a hatred of non-white people, a racist loathing that four or five "Uncle Toms" cannot brush under the carpet. Using violent football hooligans as their hired muscle, the EDL are a serious threat to community harmony let alone public safety. When are our elected politicians going to protect us from the imminent dangers posed by such groups? Bradford's Asian community has moved on in leaps and bounds since the last riot, and young generations of Muslim Bradfordians are optimistic, self-confident and hopeful for the future, assuming there would never be a far right march through Bradford ever again, however along comes the EDL, aiming to turn the clock back.
If the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, Bradford Council and the West Yorkshire Police insist on allowing the EDL the freedom to create havoc in Bradford under the false premises of "free speech", officialdom will lose any last vestige of credibility with Bradford's populus, who will hold the powers that be soley responsible for washing their hands of social responsibility, in standing back and allowing another race riot to happen. A preventable race riot, if the government and intelligence services do their homework. All Bradfordians (regardless of race or creed) were hoping to never to live to see race riots in their own backyard ever again, but unless the EDL are banned from gathering, another riot will most definately ensue, triggered by the explosive actions of an army of football thugs and hardcore Nazis getting drunk in Lloyds Bar, before rampaging through Centenary Square en-masse.
Bradford has been at the hub of radical English political activism for over a hundred years, as the centre of Britain's woollen industry. Staunch trade unionism has recently been complemented by social centres such as the 1-in-12 club. If the EDL's violent neo-Nazi element are allowed to break through police lines as has happened elsewhere, and go on the rampage, smashing up the city centre and Bradford's multicultural inner city areas, punching and kicking every Asian passer-by they come across with vitreolic hate, the spirit of Bradford's strong tradition of defiance, reflected in its punk and hip hop bands such as Fun-Da-Mental, which rallied for working class unity against fascism, will ensure the EDL's street fighting tactics are met with a firm counter response.
Bradford's marginalised Asian community has a history of taking direct action to fightback against the far right that stretches back to the 1970s. Ironically for the EDL's fake "cause celebre" of protesting against Islamic extremism, a sizeable number of Bradford's young adults are not particularly religious, and will not heed calls from Imams to stay at home when their community is under threat from violent fascist extremists. Unlike in Nottingham and Stoke, police and religious leaders will thus find difficulty in persuading concerned Asian people to stay away from their beseiged city centre.
In Stoke, the EDL's neo-Nazi hooligans broke loose and rampaged through a majority Asian neighbourhood, attacking shops, homes and cars, and if the policing in Bradford was to be just as shambolic, angry young Muslim people will not stand by idly while drunken racist football hooligans go on the rampage. Militant anti-fascists will also stand their ground when the EDL's bully-boys break away from the police's kettle, however if the numbers of neo-Nazis are indeed large, and they storm through the streets of Bradford with inpunity like SS-stormtroopers, if the police are seen as defending the racists and allowing them to racially abuse and assault Asian people at will, all hell will break loose.
A recent press investigation by the Daily Mail spoke to one particular Bradford resident who was rubbing his hands with glee at the opportunity to join in another Bradford race riot - Kevin Watmough. As always, Trevor Kelway and PR-distorting chums will tell the local media they are simply opposing religious extremists, claiming that most of their supporters are peaceful, will regulate their drink, and are only in Bradford to make speeches, however there will as always be the offensive and inflamatory banners calling for "NO MORE MOSQUES", racist chants will echo for miles, and just about every hardcore racist rent-a-thug including the whole of the BNP, BPP, British Freedom Fighters and the National Front will be in Bradford, getting a piece of the action.
Regardless of what lies Trevor Kelway tells he media before their visit to Bradford, he knows full well that EDL's Bradford Demo will attract Britain's most extreme racial bigots like flies to a steaming pile of dogshit. Many of the roads into Bradford are lined by Asian takeaways, clothing shops and other small businesses. Expect smashed windows and racial attacks-a-plenty as cocksure racists jump at the chance of destroying Bradford. And don't forget an attack on a mosque or two on the week before the event, after dark.
The cowardly thugs of the EDL, like Adolf Hitler's Nazis whom they secretly (and openly) support, know the value of instilling fear upon minority communities. Bear this in mind - Last time around, a measured number of National Front members arriving in Bradford were enough to trigger a riot. This time there could be thousands, the EDL's biggest ever turn-out. Everybody sharing any sort of diverging far right ideals will readily put aside their rivalries, heading to Bradford by coach, train, car, and van hellbent on swarming into Bradford and waging all-out racial warfare, unless they are prevented travelling to Bradford.
If you think these concerns are sheer alarmism, cast yourself into the mindset of a bored hardcore racist who missed out on the action nine years ago, and is now given a chance to get involved in a far more catastrophic repeat of history. On one particular online football forum, members discussing a possible EDL visit to Bradford believed there would be deaths if another riot took place. Whether or not fatalities will happen, alarm bells should be ringing in the distant hallows of Westminster.
Sunday the 30th of May follows the upcoming elections, which, if polls prove correct, may herald in the political instability of a hung parliament. What better time for the far right to make the impact of its presence felt (whether or not Griffin wins a seat for Barking), by causing Britain's worst ever race riot to back up their claims that "multiculturalism is not working". Forget the EDL's regular drunken boneheaded supporters for a moment. An open EDL gathering in Bradford City Centre is every hardcore neo-Nazi fanatic's wet dream come true. Every racist Tom, Dick and Harry will most surely make their way to Bradford to join in the fighting. If EDL numbers exceed official expectations, reaching the 2000 mark, the drunken EDL mob will be uncontrollable, smashing up Bradford's Lloyds Bar (Wetherspoons), perhaps setting it on fire, before triggering an uncontrollable series of events to provoke minorities and antifascists into a violent reaction, with the police in the middle wading in with dogs, riot shields and batons.
For years Nick Griffin, Simon Darby and Lee Barnes, and others in the BNP/NF and BPP have talked about a racial civil war taking place. Now is the chance for every potential Copeland-style Aryan terrorist lunatic to get their ass down to Bradford and join in the EDL "protest", putting their terrifying plans into action. Even if there are no fatalities, violent street confrontations will inevitably come at a devastating price for the livelihood of the city and the further loss of retail jobs.
Since the tragic National Front-ignited riots of 2001, many small businesses have closed and numerous shoppers have stayed away from the city centre, leading many to describe Central Bradford as a "ghost town", an image not assisted by the upcoming demolishment of the Odeon cinema, the Westfield hole in the ground saga, and a ghetto of pound shops and charity stores.
Since Bradford's last riot, trust between communities has inevitably suffered, revellers and clubbers have travelled elsewhere, university admissions periodically declined, and all across the world, Bradford became world famous as a city of racial tension alongside Los Angeles. Even today, tell a stranger at a bus stop that you come from Bradford, especially an older person or pensioner, and they will look at you with sympathy, and many won't believe you when you tell them how Bradford has moved on.
Bradford has sadly become internationally synomymous with racism and riots, an image impossible to shake-off, and unless the EDL are prevented from gathering in Bradford under emergency anti-racism, anti-terror and public order laws, the city's inage as a hotbed of racial violence and disharmony (far removed from reality), will persist for an eternity. If record numbers of EDL fascist thugs turn out, defiling Bradford with their raw hate, a million pounds of police budget will not be enough to prevent sporadic violence from kicking off big-time. At previous events, the police have taken a softly-softly approach towards EDL rioters, with minimal arrests.
If ineffectual, hands-off policing allows the racist mob to do as they please, and Asian vigilantes take to the streets to defend their own communities from attack, anything might happen. An emergency government or police ban is an absolute necessity to prevent World War III from erupting in Bradford, and race relations being set back fifty or more years. Bradford is a city of promise, ambition and hope amongst its young, diverse population, with communies represented locally from far afield as Eastern Europe, the West Indies as well as Asia.
Bradford has been through a lot, and truly deserves it's chance to get off the floor and bounce back to life, without being kicked back down by the drunken jackboots of a neo-Nazi lynch mob given free reign by feckless governments, local politicians and the police, to destroy one of Britain's most multicultural cities without rebuke. In Stoke, the EDL hoodlums copied Loyalist terror tactics by phoning up taxi companies making death threats against Muslim drivers. Day by day, month by month the EDL are getting far more menacing.
Whether Nick Griffin and the BNP are pulling the strings, as the National Front did in 2001 with its Northern riots, the grounds on which to make the EDL illegal are steadily strengthening, and yet the silence from officialdom is deafening. In the United States of America, KKK marches are frequently stopped from marching through African-American communities, and in Belfast, Orange Order parades are usually now re-routed away from Catholic areas, so why are is officialdom turning a blind eye to such a blatant disregard of community sensitivities, by allowing a cavalcade of racist chanting and violence in Bradford's Centenary Square? Answers on a postcard, please.
Bradford is not Nottingham, Manchester or Leeds. As the BNP-supporting white supremacists on Stormfront gleefully ackowledge, Bradford will not survive another full-scale riot! If the EDL aren't banned from marching in Bradford as a matter of national security, this will be the end of our once-proud city. Guaranteed! (With historical significance from the English Civil War, the last time the city was on the verge of being ransacked by an invading force of pseudo-patriotic outsiders), "PITY POOR BRADFORD!!!"
Bradfordian at Northern Indymedia