“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Neofascists in Bolton.

with 9 comments

I’m still waiting for an update on the events today in Bolton, but from the BBC coverage it is apparent that the British police colluded with the English Defence League and escorted them into Victoria Square in Bolton.

The video clip from the BBC suggests that the police were more concerned to attack antifascists than halt the progress of the neofascists in the EDL.

Independent sources suggest that the antifascist turnout was higher than the BBC figure indicates.

And for American readers, who might wonder what is going on, essentially the EDL picking areas of Britain with relatively high ethnic populations and provocatively marching in those areas, in the hope of having a fight or stirring up racial hatred.

Similar to the Ku Klux Klan parades of old but without the white sheets, same type of purpose.

Update 1: Bolton anti-EDLers get “kettled”.

Update 2: Videos over at Counterfire.

Update 3: As it happened from the Manchester Evening News.

Update 4: The Bolton News has various videos and photographs of events.

Update 5: New commenters should read my comments policy before posting.

Update 6: Anorak has various photos including this one of EDL giving Nazi salutes, second row in:

EDLers in Bolton, giving Nazi salute

EDLers in Bolton, giving Nazi salute

Update 7: The Guardian covers it:

“UAF groups waved anti-Nazi placards and chanted: “Fascist scum off our streets” while EDL supporters carried flags bearing the St George’s Cross and banners against “Islamic extremists”. Prior to the demonstration, both groups agreed to stay in separate areas, separated by steel barriers. But many smashed through the barricades and were involved in clashes. Last week a plea from the council and faith leaders to ban the demonstration was turned down in a letter from Alan Johnson, the home secretary. The EDL describes itself as a peaceful group campaigning against “militant Islam”, but violence has frequently marred its protests .”

Update 8: Bob points us to Bolton, Brutality and Lies

Update 9: Not forgetting Dave Osler on the topic.

Update 10: Greater Manchester Police accused by NUJ:

“On Saturday March 20th NUJ member, Rhetta Moran, was arrested by a police snatch squad at a lawful protest against the English Defence League in Bolton.

Rhetta was arrested while reading out a message of support from TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber at the protest in Bolton town centre. She was not engaged in any violent activity at the protest.

She was detained for 10 hours and while in detention her house keys were confiscated and her home was searched without a warrant. Documents were copied from her computer.

She was not charged but released on police bail until May 10 on condition that she does not attend any meetings or gatherings of Unite Against Fascism anywhere in the country. Rhetta is joint secretary of Greater Manchester UAF.

I believe the actions of the police, and in particular the bail condition, is an outrageous violation of my member’s human rights and is in breach of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects freedom of association and assembly.

Since the Human Rights Act 1998 makes it unlawful for UK public authorities to act in any way which is incompatible with Convention rights, Greater Manchester Police has clearly behaved unlawfully. I have therefore protested to the Chair of Greater Manchester Police Authority and I am calling for an investigation into police behaviour at the protest.”

[My emphasis].

Update 11: Luna17 points to Police’s Tweet.

Update 12: The Sauce had UAF live blogging from Bolton.

Written by modernityblog

20/03/2010 at 22:27

9 Responses

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  1. Is there some British equivilant of the ACLU that defends the right of the English equivilant of the Klan to march through the English equivilant of Skokie, Illinois?

    FTR the record, mod: Though I am a strong First Amendment guy, I don’t think that extends to parade permits.


    20/03/2010 at 22:51

  2. Yes and no,

    Liberty do it in England, also Amnesty Int. they don’t do it very well, and as there is no fully codified British constitution it is made a bit harder than in the US.

    The EDL and BNP *never* lack for someone to defend them, there is a fair few neofascist lawyers. That’s the problem.

    Imagine 2000 KKKers marching thru Harlem or bits of Chicago, etc?

    It is incitement to violence, plain enough, no freedom of speech there, all they do is give Nazi salutes and shout racial obscenities, and are just looking for a fight.


    20/03/2010 at 23:08

  3. Oh, I don’t care about the content of the parade. It’s just about closing streets and wasting the time of cops. If someone wants to hold a Klan rally in Harlem, I would not lift a finger to stop them. 🙂


    20/03/2010 at 23:12

  4. You might not care about the content but it is rather important to the people in those streets and areas where the EDL chooses to march.

    It marches is not because it wants to do anything but because it wishes to stir up racial hatred, that’s it.


    20/03/2010 at 23:19

  5. Good eyewitness account at

    Any thoughts on the Harry’s Place coverage?

    (P.s. very ecumenical of you to include CounterFire in your linkage!)


    22/03/2010 at 23:42

  6. thanks Bob,

    I don’t read HP nowadays so couldn’t say.

    ecumenical? not atheistic me, but I am nonsectarian and supportive if people are prepared to tackle the fascists 🙂

    Just don’t get me going on the John Rees article!


    23/03/2010 at 01:03

  7. I am in two minds about this episode and about whether to attend the anti EDL rally being held in Dudley on April 3rd. I want to publicly show solidarity with the muslim community of Dudley and demonstrate that there are far more people who find the EDL’s views abhorrent than there are those who support them. On the other hand I am skeptical about the faux revolutionary rhetoric of the UAF and of the effectiveness of their tactics. I think Dave put these worries across better than I can at the link above.

    I was actually able to talk to the policeman in charge when the EDL came to birmingham as he is a governor at the college where I work. He had nothing but scorn for the EDL, recognising them for the bunch of thugs that they are, but he was also exasperated by many who were part of the UAF demonstration. His line was that a very close eye was being kept on the EDL and that the UAF presence made effective policing of the EDL more difficult. In his view the police were there to stop any fighting, not to decide who were the good guys and who the bad. That meant keeeping two groups apart, which was seen as ‘protecting the fash’ by some. He felt that many were there to have a pop at the police and did so long after the EDL had disappeared.

    Some policeman are thugs and are far to quick to throw their weight about in a ‘public order’ situation. But in this situation they may be vital allies in controlling the EDL. I think pursuing tactics that lead to conflict with the police or casting aspersions that they are somehow in cahoots with the EDL is very wrong.

    duncan bryson

    23/03/2010 at 16:53

  8. […] with one comment The British riot police are often a law unto themselves. […]

  9. Hi,

    In terms of showing solidarity with the Muslim community, and for what it’s worth, the Main mosque in Dudley have requested that people stay away from the Counter protest in Dudley.


    27/03/2010 at 19:37

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