Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/668/11920
Police assist racist EDL marchers
Brighton Socialist Party
A combination of Hampshire, Surrey, Metropolitan and Sussex Police - over 350 officers in total - ensured that the far-right and racist English Defence League (EDL) marched through Brighton on 24 April.
The mobilisation of police was far larger than the numbers of protesters on both sides, and included at least a dozen police horses! Anti-EDL protesters blocked the street outside Brighton station for over an hour, but the sheer bulk of police ensured the 150 mainly EDL marchers passed.
However, as they marched through Brighton, people came out of shops and restaurants to shout at them in opposition.
The event was called by March for England, under the cover of a 'celebration' of St George's Day. They claimed the EDL would not be tolerated on the march. But the main presence was the EDL, who had mobilised from as far afield as Cornwall, and who made Nazi salutes while repeating typical EDL chants.
As they marched they targeted their sexist chants, including "she's got chlamydia" or "go home and cook my dinner", at any women opposing the march.
It is clear the police cannot be relied on to prevent racist marches from occurring, as the double standards on the policing of this demo showed. At the end of last year, school students were hauled off demonstrations by the police in Brighton for the slightest transgression.
We spoke to the highest ranking officer at the 24 April demonstration, complaining about the lack of action against EDL members abusing the public. The police refused to acknowledge it was happening while EDL members leaned over their shoulders to interrupt our conversation with abuse!
A mass mobilisation is needed, drawing in the organised working class from trade unions and workplaces, to prevent divisive movements such as the EDL from marching in the future. Racist sentiment is being whipped up by Cameron and Co as a distraction from the austerity agenda of the Con-Dem government.
In The Socialist 27 April 2011:
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
May Day Greetings
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party campaigns