Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/768/16821
The Socialist 5 June 2013 |
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Countering the EDL in Sheffield, 1st June 2013, photo A Tice (Click to enlarge)
EDL blocked by counter demo in Sheffield
Alistair Tice, Sheffield Socialist Party
Around 500 anti-fascists occupied Barkers Pool in Sheffield last Saturday to stop the racist English Defence League (EDL) from politically exploiting the death of Lee Rigby.
The EDL, who numbered less than 100, cynically said they wanted to pay respects by laying a wreath at the Cenotaph in the square.
They marched from a nearby pub with England flags and Union Jacks but were halted by the police before the square.
A stand-off ensued whilst the police tried to persuade protesters to let the EDL through. "No pasaran" was the reply.
So the police tried to force their way through with a wedge charge but the crowd held firm and they were repulsed.
Then the police prepared the horses, which drew chants of "We remember Orgreave". Significantly, the banner of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign was on the demo.
Countering the EDL in Sheffield, 1st June 2013, photo by A Tice (Click to enlarge)
The horses were blocked and pushed back too, to cheers of "Two nil! two nil!" Then after a further stand-off, the police proposed that an officer lay one of the wreaths.
After checking that the inscription did not refer to the EDL, this was agreed by the crowd on the frontline of the counter demo.
This 'compromise' represented a defeat for the EDL who had not got through, so then started 'kicking-off', including throwing their flowers at anti-fascists - not very respectful! A celebratory mood ensued on our side as the EDL were eventually forced to disperse.
However, the EDL have announced a national demonstration in Sheffield this Saturday, 8th June, which will require an even bigger and more organised mobilisation by the anti-fascists to stop them again.
Demonstrate against the EDL
Saturday 8th June
Barkers Pool/City Hall, Sheffield
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 4 June 2013 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.