Went to the anti-BNP demonstration on Saturday. This one went well, but got a bit bizarre.
I showed up a bit late at the official site outside Downing Street, where there were about a hundred anti-fascists chanting and holding signs. Got quickly told that the real action was outside Parliament, and headed there. About 50 BNP guys were holding signs, pretty big professional-looking ones, near a statue.
There were a couple of hundred anti-fascists next to them, chanting slogans again, separated by the police. BNP looked pretty fed up already.
Police kept moving us down away from the BNP. Mix of tactics. Partly pushing by line, partly isolating groups in mini-kettles and letting people leave, partly by arresting people with snatches. We gradually got moved down the road quite far away. I didn't realise it at that point, but the BNP aim was to march down to the cenotaph, and the unoffical aim some anti-fascists was to block the road.
At this point things got a bit weird. There was a loud disturbance, and a new bunch of protestors clad in black and white charged in down another road. There was smoke as they set an effigy ablaze:
Was a bit worrying at first as we thought it might be another fascist group, but it turned out to be protestors against the badger cull.
They generally seemed to be on our side, so the protests starting crossing over. Some badgers joined us, though others held back on the other side of the street. There were chants of "Save the badgers, cull the BNP". Anti-fascists started adapting the signs. ONe guy with "Fuck the fucking fascists on one side wrote "Save the Badgers" on the other. Another improvised banner read "Save the Badgers, cull the BNP again":
The cops kept pushing us slowly back. About five o'clock a big crowd of TSG (Territorial Support Group, "Riot Police" descended and warned people individually if we didn't move we'd be arrested. They had at least one bus ready for mass arrests, and I've seen it before, so I headed off at this point".
I thought things were dispersing and the BNP would get their march to the cenotaph. Apparently there was at least one anti-fascist march after this. But checking Twitter I found that they'd been delayed long enough that the BNP extended deadline had expired, and they couldn't do the march after all.
So, they Did Not Pass. Congrats to all antifascists and badgers! All pics here.
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