Anti-fascist activists from Plan C and Edinburgh Antifa write on yesterday’s clash with Tommy Robinson-supporting neo-nazis.
Plan C report:
Over 500 of us met at the site of the International Brigades Memorial in Jubilee Gardens, South Bank in opposition to the creeping fascism of the “Free Tommy” mob. After a tough few weeks of organising a grassroots mobilisation in London and beyond, we collectively pulled off an amazing, disciplined bloc on the streets under the banner of “We are all Anti-Fascists!”.
As we marched from Jubilee Gardens to Parliament Street via Westminster Bridge, there was a completely different sense from previous outings, we were powerful on the streets and as we approached Westminster Tube station we finally managed to face down the dozens of fash Tommy supporters. As they blabbed at us with their empty slogans we drowned them out, with the bloc chanting “Working class traitors! Working class traitors!” — you could see the uncomfortableness on their faces. We met up with the SUTR demonstration to loud applause and merged the two demonstrations.
Our objective was to form a defensive bloc at the top of Parliament Street and prevent any large groups of fash attacking the demo. Our presence and the presence of militant anti-fascists ensured an increased police presence which in turn meant no such attack happened in Whitehall. However, further down the road 40 hardcore fascists attacked RMT members outside a pub, leaving one with a bad cut under his eye.
In one of the best displays of organisation on the streets for a long long time, we sensibly defended our bloc and those around us, produced a strong sense of collective power on the streets and proved that from assemblies to the streets we can all work and co-operate together.
All in all we estimate there were 2,000 anti-fascists and around 4,000-6,000 Free Tommy supporters.
As incidents of violence increase, it is becoming a duty to build bigger and better mass mobilisations, not only for anti-fascists and anti-racists but for all Londoners. We must come out and sweep this filth off our streets.
Edinburgh Antifa report:
The far right were again out in force in London, drawing around 3,500 racists into Trafalgar Square. An equal force of antifascists, including a group of committed members of Edinburgh Antifa opposed their vile hatred.
The London police placed heavy restrictions on the movement of Tommy’s fan club, essentially enforcing a static demonstration. This fencing and kettling served to demoralise and frustrate these fascist creeps.
During the march of Antifascists from The International Brigades memorial multiple attempts by fascists to break the demonstrations lines were repelled successfully. Sargon of Akkad put in an appearance on these incidents, quipping that the counter demonstrations were ‘full of communists’…
Despite the extreme violence seen previously from the far right, the London Police focused primarily on ‘managing’ the antifascist presence. This resulted in numerous incidents where members of the public were physically attacked and abused by the far right.
Again, towards the end of the demonstration significant resources where assigned to escorting Antifascists away from Trafalgar Square (Horses, Riot Vans, and seemingly all of the British Transport Police), instead of policing the dangerous islamophobes. Consequently a bus driver wearing a head scarf was attacked by a violent mob. This abhorrent incident was not in isolation, as a mob of 40 gammon faced hooligans attempted a raid on a pub containing members of the RMT Trade Union contingent of the demonstration. A senior union activist was assaulted and required medical attention as a result.
There are three main take-aways from today’s demonstration.
1) The free Tommy Movement has been unable to replicate their previous success in London, and seems to be suffering some ailments that similarly afflicted the EDL. Namely the disillusionment of standing in police cages for a hopeless cause.
2) Antifascists are improving their ability to draw significant numbers to oppose the far right and will learn from their efforts over the recent weeks. This sort of mass organising requires consistent long term efforts to be successful, and this movement can, will, and must do so.
3) The Free Tommy movement, although significantly diminished in stature today is becoming more violent. As the multiple brazen attacks today show these ‘classic liberals’ have no qualms against attacking ethnic minorities, or trade unions and other sections of the left. It is imperative that we continue to physically and ideologically oppose the fascist creep, as we cannot rely on the state to do this for us.
Pics: Plan C and Edinburgh Antifa