United against the far right in Brighton

A Brighton trade unionist

On Sunday 27 April, a collection of far-right groups descended on Brighton for the annual ‘March for England’. The English Defence League is an organisation in decline and it showed with the racists mustering barely 75 supporters. Anti-fascists outnumbered the march significantly.

Socialist Party members were among the first on the scene as police escorted the fascists into a pub for a pre march drink.

Within moments the nationalists were surrounded and their racist chants drowned out with: “the workers united will never be defeated”.

Police had issued draconian special powers, giving them the right to stop and search anyone and to arrest anyone who had a face covering. Unsurprisingly we only saw these being used against the counter protesters as the police helped the march shuffle slowly along the seafront.

1,000+ lined the streets to drown out their racist chants. The English Disco Lovers were dancing and banners and placards were hung from windows and balconies. Once the march returned to its starting point the speeches to the small gathering were drowned out by a protester on a balcony with a loud trombone.

As police tried to escort the march back to the station, the so-called family march then divided and headed into the North Lanes where they threw tables, benches and bottles at anti-fascists.

Protesters ensured the route back to the station wasn’t easy, using anything they could find including fences to make barricades causing the march to stop in its tracks. Only the police using horses, baton charges and kettling meant the march got to its final destination.

United action by hundreds of Brighton residents and a heavy downpour of rain ensured the marchers had a thoroughly miserable day. Half an hour after they left the rain stopped and the sun came out!