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Protests in Bolton - March 21st 2010, 06:09 PM

I'm going to link to the BBC site, that is largely based on police statements, and than quote a friend's facebook note about it. I know you mightn't deem that a reliable source, but I trust him, and after other accounts from various people about police misconduct (e.g. Climate camp last year), I think its quite possibly accurate regardless. Either way, it suggests the BBC is at least wrong, even if he is bias. And its pretty disturbing.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/m...er/8577777.stm

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There’s been a great deal of media distortion about our anti-fascist protest yesterday. Despite these lies and attempts to undermine the anti-racist movement, this was one of the most empowering protests I’ve ever been on and, in my view, represented a minor victory in the fight against the English Defence League, with lessons that we should carry on in our struggles.
We arrived at Bolton’s Victoria Square at around 10am by the bus loads. On our way in, we witnessed the EDL’s supporters sat round in bars getting drunk and baiting for fights. Once arrived in the square itself, we were immediately kettled in by the police, who deliberately split UAF up into various different blocks. They were outright violent from the start and I saw them very clearly attack one of my comrades (she’s alright now). It is worth mentioning that shop keepers were calmly continuing their business until the police began taking this action. Only when the armed guardians of the state began their onslaught did shutters come down over the shops.
We organised into lines, linking arms, and attempted to break through police lines in order to make it possible for all our comrades, who were quickly filing in from London and the South, to join us in the Square. Within seconds, the riot police were out on horses and dragging vicious dogs out onto the streets. Recognising that we didn’t want a riot and that our primary focus ought to be tackling the EDL, we retreated on our own terms, leaving about three lines of barricade between ourselves and the police to prevent against them coming in and snatching up peaceful protesters.
Early estimates say there were 34 arrests on our side. Most of this consisted of riot police rushing into the square where we were non-violently singing, chanting and enjoying the community. Their principle aim, it became very obvious, was that they wanted to take out leaders of the anti-fascist movement. Martin Smith was carried away almost as soon as he arrived. It took them three attempts to get at Weyman Bennet. Whenever the police attempted to snatch up one of our protesters, we all joined together, pulled them back and kept a solid block to tackle their unnecessary violence. We were very careful not to be actively violent and even watched our language, avoiding swearing or provocation.
The English Defence League arrived on schedule at around 1pm. They were drunk, boisterous and nearly exclusively young white skinhead boys aged 14-25. Nobody will be surprised to hear that they unashamedly did Nazi salutes and that they reserved their most virulent violence for when Bolton’s Muslim youth arrived on the front line under a banner that read “God is the Greatest” in English and Arabic. I’m sure that by now very few people are in doubt about the fact that they are racist thugs and that their rhetoric about only being opposed to ‘extreme’ Islam is completely empty. Despite their malice, I didn’t see a single arrest on their side of the line.
One thing about these boys struck me, however, that I think warrants attention. The EDL, in addition to flying English, Scottish and British flags were also flying Israeli flags. This could be simply down to the skinheads thinking of Israel as a useful component in their ‘fight against Islam’, and certainly such rhetoric is reflected in the language used by Brown, Obama and the mainstream media. We do have to consider the very real, and certainly more frightening possibility, however, that the far-right are somehow tapping in to disillusioned working-class Jewish youth. If that is the case, we on the Left need to seriously consider what action we can take to intervene. Jews were not nearly as well represented on the anti-fascist side of the barricade as we should have been, and we need to do everything possible to ensure that next time round local synagogues and Jewish communities are standing alongside us and combating the damage that the fascists are doing. I’d welcome any suggestions and contributions from others on this matter.
Despite my misgivings on this matter, our side looked so much more diverse and friendly by comparison. Against their all-male, all-white (apart from one Scottish Asian boy, who they paraded very proudly as a tokenistic statement that they weren’t racist) and monochrome crowd, we stood out for our complete diversity of ages, races, (dis)abilities, genders and sexualities. Against their drunk hooliganism, we were remarkable for our sobriety, orderly conduct and calm approach to events.
This itself formed part of the reason why yesterday could be considered such an (albeit small) victory. It wasn’t just because we outnumbered them 3 to 1. Police estimates say there were more of them than of us but anybody who was there could clearly see that we easily constituted the majority. The major reason why we won that day was because we were disciplined and resilient where they were disorganised and atomised. We looked out for each other and made sure that we were all safe where they only looked out for themselves and lashed out uncontrollably.
The EDL threw coins, bottles and whatever else they could grab. We didn’t once retaliate. This wasn’t out of any ideological commitment to non-violence as an organising principle. It was out of a widely held recognition that if the fascists decided they wanted to attack us, the police would look for any excuse to join in. The police’s conduct, highly favourable to the fascists and discriminatory against UAF supporters, revealed where the state’s real allegiances lie and the lengths they were prepared to go to protect racists against people trying to promote multiculturalism and solidarity.
I went away from yesterday’s protest feeling really optimistic. We know the war is far from over, as the racists prepare to descend on Dudley and attack communities elsewhere in the country. I’m looking forward, however, to joining these protests and continuing in the same spirit of discipline, calmness and solidarity. I’d love to hear what others think.
   
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Re: Protests in Bolton - March 21st 2010, 07:43 PM

I know these kind of protests. We have some of them every year, in Belgium as well. The police has always been and will always be on the side of the fascists. It's important to be cautious, because the police will take every single provocation, every single swear or push as a good reason to attack and to arrest people.
That's why it's so important to have manifestations like this; it's excellent when everyone is staying calm: as more you stay calm, as more difficult it is for the police to find a reason to arrest people.
We will keep on fighting against racism!
   
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Re: Protests in Bolton - March 21st 2010, 11:49 PM

Sounds like a police state.


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Re: Protests in Bolton - March 21st 2010, 11:56 PM

Damn this is depressing...




"My one desire is for peace -- peace for everyone"

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Re: Protests in Bolton - March 22nd 2010, 03:31 PM

Wtf....It was like a scene out of Nazi Germany.


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Re: Protests in Bolton - March 22nd 2010, 08:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ares View Post
Wtf....It was like a scene out of Nazi Germany.
Well... yeah, that's what I'm thinking already for years and years. I don't know for other countries, but UK and Belgium are more and more approaching to be police states. But I won't move if my country becomes a police state.
@ Invert: Have there been police men who hitted or behaved badly against the arrestants and manifestants?
   
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