Print Story Notes and pictures on today's demo
By TheophileEscargot (Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 02:14:47 PM EST) Politics, Demo (all tags)
UAF called a short-notice counter-demo at Parliament, against the EDL demo welcoming Dutch extremist Geert Wilders.

Didn't plan to go since I had the day off and was going to see the Henry Moore exhibition at Tate Britain. However, the EDL decided to make Tate Britain's front entrance their assembly point.

EDL gather ahead of rally 4951

Saw the Henry Moore exhibition, which was very good. I especially liked his early statues: stylised but much less abstract than his more famous later figures. The paintings of Londoners sheltering in the Tube in WW2 were very good too.

After that walked down to the UAF demo. They'd assembled but were heavily hemmed in by police.

UAF under cordon 4962 The police were making a load of arrests, picking off UAF protestors one at a time.

Arrest 4965

Didn't want to be locked up when the EDL marched down, so I hovered around trying to look like an innocent bystander. At least some of the arrestees were just corralled in a park with a low fence: they could easily have climbed out, but were warned they'd just be taken off to a real cell if they did.

Prisoners 4977

Eventually I sidled over an gradually joined in. More protestors were dragged away.

Protestor dragged from line 5011

Protestor dragged from line 4998

The police first forced the demonstrators onto the pavement, then cleared the pavement. They did this partly by arresting for "obstruction" anyone who wouldn't move, and partly by forcible shoving of the packed mass of the crowd. That was a bit unpleasant and I didn't get any pictures.

That divided the UAF protestors. Half of us were in the park, with only a small section facing the road. The other half got shoved further down. Meanwhile the EDL were apparently allowed down the pub.

Eventually we saw the EDL pass.

EDL protestors 5066

Then we managed to find a circuitous route around the park and up the road to join the other UAF protestors. There was a face-off across the road with the usual chanting. "We are all Muslims today" seemed to be the most successfully irritating to them. This time they tried to single out people and make throat-cutting gestures, though I didn't manage to get those on camera.

EDL protestors 5104

After that, they moved off and soon after that we dispersed.

Full set of pictures.

Mixed feelings really. At least they got some opposition and some signs they're not welcome. However their numbers are growing. Only a couple of dozen showed up at their abortive Trafalgar Square demo, and less than a dozen made it to Harrow 2. This time they managed to get at least a hundred. Their big Stoke near-riot seems to have emboldened them.

Still, at least Westminster isn't really an area where they can intimidate local minorities much: it's not very residential and is massively policed.

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Notes and pictures on today's demo | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
That is allowed by duxup (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 02:22:05 PM EST
Photography in the UK I mean.  The internet tells me otherwise.

Up to a point by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 02:28:15 PM EST
There's a new bill going through that will add more restrictions.

However the police have backed down slightly from their previous position. The government passed a stupid law with a Section 44 allowing to photography to be restricted in sensitive areas, with things like nuclear power stations presumably in mind.

Naturally the London police decided the sensitive area was... London. So they could harass every photographer. But the hierarchy has backed away from that now and has told the lower levels to go easier on photographers, though word doesn't seem to have got through to all.

Naturally at a demo they shove their cameras in your face all the time...

Police photographer_5101
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Woah by duxup (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 02:33:20 PM EST
THAT is creepy.

[ Parent ]
The tech is kind of cool though by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 3) #5 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 02:39:24 PM EST
They use giant gadgets with SLR mounted together with a camcorder, with a big flash and a powerful light.

The not so cool: all these pictures from the demos are going on a giant database of protestors. I'm almost certainly on there as some kind of multi-demo-going subversive.

If they're smart enough, they might even have done a facial-recognition match with my passport or driving licence, and tied it to my real name and identity. Not sure the technology's quite there yet, but it's probably coming.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
It just seems creepy by duxup (2.00 / 0) #6 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 03:22:25 PM EST
I mean just automatically taping and photographing protesters just for protesting.

[ Parent ]
what are you? one of THEM!?! by greyshade (4.00 / 1) #10 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 04:45:59 PM EST
They need to be catalogued. These people are enemies of the state!

"The other part of the fun is nibbling on them when they get off work." -vorheesleatherface
[ Parent ]
That photo by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #11 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 06:10:55 PM EST
And your sig, possibly convey a wrong impression of your message.

But pretty entertaining though!

[ Parent ]
Can you join the EDL? by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #2 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 02:24:49 PM EST
Maybe make some signs,
"Normans go home", "England for the Celts", "The only good ginger is a deported ginger"

too moderate by clover kicker (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 03:44:01 PM EST
Tea should stay in asia!

Real brits have fish and fish, chips are a new world import!

Send tobacco back across the atlantic!

Of course you couldn't make the signs in english, so no-one would understand you anyway.

[ Parent ]
Got any dirt by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #8 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 04:28:01 PM EST
On Geert?

arresting protestors by garlic (4.00 / 1) #9 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 04:43:44 PM EST
were they actually committing crimes, or just in the front where the police wanted to make some arrests?

The ones I saw close up by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #14 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:29:15 AM EST
Went like this:

Cop: "Are you going to move?"
Protestor: "No"
Cop:"You're under arrest for obstruction."

However, the guys corralled in the park, who I didn't see get arrested close-up, seem to have been arrested under "conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace".

I'd be surprised if the police did anything actually illegal with mainstream news teams hanging around.

Also the laws used were long-standing ones, not the insane war-on-terror laws. Interesting that they didn't use the SOCPA powers limiting protests around Parliament.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
The right slogan to show those yobs by Tonatiuh (2.00 / 0) #12 Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 10:02:28 PM EST
"Check Wikipedia: English have always been mixed race"

Not that they would ever get it.

That always cracks me up by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #15 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 06:18:06 AM EST
When these people go on about the "pure" British race.

We're nothing of the sort.  Centuries of being invaded by Vikings, French and all sorts of northern Europeans.

Then let's look at the Roman occupation; Nubians, Thracians etc all garrisoned at Hadrian's wall.

Add into that the years of the British Empire and I think the only real definition of the British genetic makeup is "mongrel".

[ Parent ]
Nice work, man. by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #13 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:06:40 AM EST
I wish we could just throw all those racist idiots on an island of their own, so they wouldn't have to fuss about those that offend them.

A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
My Name is Earl

Heh, then you agree with them by lm (4.00 / 1) #16 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:13:59 AM EST
The only dispute is over which island they get.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Yeah. by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #18 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 06:22:53 PM EST
I was kinda getting at that.

A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
My Name is Earl

[ Parent ]
It is not that simple. by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 2) #17 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:07:52 PM EST
Look at them. They are all working class, mostly young male.

Most likely they are fedup with all oportunities passing them by, and with the tabloid press (and not few of the more serious "journalists") banging in a daily basis about how bad immigration is for the country, they just aim for the easiest target since they are too uneducated (again, a failing of society and the state) to implement a coherent plan of political action to improve their situation.

We also have another problem: the iliberalism of Islam. Muslims in Britain can scream to high heaven about the kindnes of their religion, but it takes all but 5 seconds to find about the level of barbarism that is political doctrine and law in many Mulsim societies (starting with Saudi Arabia itself) and note the deafeaning silence (real or perceived) of British Mulsims distancing themselves from such practices.

Democracy and Islam seem to sit very uneasily qwith each other, as do freedom of speech and Islamic costumes regarding expression about the religion and its prophetes (the sorry episode of the Danish cartoons the outstanding example).

So you have a bunch of disenfranchised idiots complaining about a bunch of people that bring, promote or condone practices that are anathema to any civilized Westerner.

Some people have compared the animosity against Muslims with racist journalism against Jews in earlier times, but the fundamental difference is that we can see the kind of socieites Mulslims build and aspire to, and I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in such a place (I actually did for a while, didn't like it at all, in spite of being one of the most liberal Islamic countries). So although the animosity is mostly overblown and ugly, it is not entirely unjustified.

Tough political cookie to deal with as a country.

[ Parent ]
It's what they want. by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #19 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 06:37:21 PM EST
But obviously it's not the best way to handle things.

We've got some of the same type people here. Sucks.

A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
My Name is Earl

[ Parent ]
Disagree by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #21 Mon Mar 08, 2010 at 12:29:14 PM EST
Mainstream British muslim organizations frequently condemn extremism. It's a regular far-right talking point to accuse British muslims of "silence", in the same way as they say "no-one dares discuss immigration", but it's nonsense.

There's an apocryphal story about Richard Nixon, that in his early political career his opponent was a pig-farmer. So, he ordered his staff to spread rumours that his opponent enjoyed sexual relations with his his livestock.
"Dick, no-one's going to believe he's a pig-fucker", they objected.
"I know," he replies. "I just want to see him deny it."

The "British muslims are silent on terrorism" thing is exactly the same tactic. They want to see respectable muslims constantly repudiate on TV, because that just associates it more in the public consciousness.

Regarding "the kind of societies Muslims build and aspire to," not too long ago, people in the US argued that they had no choice but to prop up right wing juntas and dictators in South America, because those people were obviously culturally unwilling or unable to maintain a true democracy. These days, most of those countries are democratic: when the conditions became right, the changes spread rapidly. If you know many British muslims, it's ridiculous to think that they want Britain to become like Saudi Arabia.

Islamophobia in Britain is the acceptable face of racism:

Griffin's strategy has been inspired by the press. He said: "We bang on about Islam. Why? Because to the ordinary public out there it's the thing they can understand. It's the thing the newspaper editors sell newspapers with."
But as the far right get traction with Islamaphobia, they will rapidly move on to the other groups they hate.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
I am not talking about extremism. by Tonatiuh (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 12:17:22 PM EST
I am talking about more fundamental things:
  • Womens rights.
  • Sexual identity rights.
  • Freedom of expresion.
Modern Islam simply does not fit with acknowledged values in Liberal Western Democracies (as do lots of Christian Fundamentalism, but I think Christianiy is mostly contained in modern Western Societies, at least for the time being).

Politicians in Western countries are afraid to address this matter, which is where Fascists see their window of oportunity.

[ Parent ]
Good grief by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #24 Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 02:29:23 PM EST
First, you seem to be implying that non-Muslim Britons are culturally in favour of human rights like freedom of expression. Attacking human rights is a great popular vote-winner across all communities: most people seem to have been successfully convinced that "yuman rights" are part of a sinister conspiracy to leave everyone prey to the sinister hordes of paedophiles, terrorists and asylum-seekers who threaten all we hold dear.

Second, it's completely false to say "Modern Islam simply does not fit with acknowledged values in Liberal Western Democracies": there are plenty of Muslims, including women, living, working and fitting in very well in the westerb democracies. You seem to be buying in to the standard EDL/BNP/SIOE line that "We're against extremist Muslims by the way all Muslims are extremists."
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
People are in favour of human rights. by Tonatiuh (2.00 / 0) #25 Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 10:42:18 PM EST
The tabloid press isn't

Those things are not the same, and my gut feeling is that most people understand what human rights are, not as well as in the rest of Europe certainly, but well enough, one should alwys keep in mind that pretending that Evil Europe unduly influences the perfect British Justice System shifts more newspapers.

Many British Muslims may function in British society (lets ignore the high levels of disenfranchisement amongst them), that does not mean that their core beliefs don't undermine Liberal values: arranged (often forced) marriages, abject subservience of women to men ("honour" killings), and at the end the yearning for a theocracy as the best form of government should be issues that gives us paus for thought.

I am not ascribing to the "all Muslims are extremists" doctrine, I ascribe to the look at Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, etc. doctrine.

Sorry, but I just don't want much of that here, and I should not be tarred by association with racist thugs for disagreeing with the way of life in Islamic countries (I have lived there, I am not talking just from second hand references).

[ Parent ]
That's ridiculous by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #26 Mon Mar 22, 2010 at 03:01:21 PM EST
Suppose I said that the "core" aspects of Mexican culture are wearing tattoos, dealing drugs, joining gangs and beating their wives; and that while many Mexicans function in Anglo-Saxon society, we should have pause for thought before allowing much of that here, especially since when I was in Ciudad Juárez I saw the consequences at first hand.

I think in that case you'd recognize that statement as not just "tarred by association" with racism, but a racist statement. It's taking the worst behaviour of a group, and ascribing it to be an essential aspect of that group.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Arresting for Obstruction by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #20 Mon Mar 08, 2010 at 06:42:52 AM EST
Is their new tactic. For example, you can refuse to be searched or refuse even to give your details if stopped by the police when you're taking photos, UNLESS you cause an obstruction. Inevitably there are cases coming through now where the refusal is counted as causing an obstruction and the photographer is arrested.

It's political correctness gone mad!

Hmm by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #22 Mon Mar 08, 2010 at 12:30:05 PM EST
I think it's always been a bit of a favourite catch-all, but they might well be using it more now.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Notes and pictures on today's demo | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback