Left-Wing Mobs: An Explainer

Pre-2017

July 14th 2012: Bristol had an eventful day as (roughly) 300 EDL “Far Right” did a protest march objecting to islamification of the city. Opposing them were 500 Far Left “Antifa” counter-demonstrators partaking in a campaign they called We Are Bristol. “WE WILL NOT TOLERATE RACISM IN BRISTOL” was their message. “NOT RACIST-NOT VIOLENT-JUST NO LONGER SILENT” rebutted an EDL banner. Two EDL supporters received death threats prior to the day’s protest. Number estimates will always vary with political events. Often there are quips about which crowd size was bigger. When it comes to what some of Bristol’s townspeople think, they saw the EDL as a nuisance. Many bought into the belief their crowd were a bunch of racists. The sooner they got out of town the better. 

On the other hand, the Muslim community of Bristol released a statement that made the EDL look pretty good: 

“In a proactive manner, the Muslim community leadership have met with the EDL to create a pathway for future dialogue. This was the first of its kind in the UK and positive assurances were given by the EDL representatives. We have also met with UAF and We are Bristol to clarify our position on the counter protest requesting them not to confuse and entice Muslim youth to join their counter protest. They have not proactively engaged with the Muslim community leadership so we are not assured on any matters whatsoever.”

It cost the police £500,000 and 1000 officers to make sure these two groups stayed apart. A massive operation considering the annual Bristol Pride celebration happening simultaneously. Dogs on hand to help. Boats. Horses. Helicopters. The city needed cops from other cities to have enough manpower. Bristol erected barricades to better corral the flow of people. This was necessary because even before the day’s events began there were clashes between the Far Left and EDL. Police arrested an anti-EDL march organiser named Martin Smith. The cops had to kettle Antifa to stop the fighting.

Thankfully for the cops their job was made easier with both the Far Left and Far Right planning to keep their rallies intentionally apart from one another. This isn’t a luxury that’s usually granted with the clashes of these two factions. The Far Right marched from Redcliffe Wharf to Queen Square, while the Far Left had their thing in Castle Park. But the opposing rallies certainly weren’t at the same exact times. The We Are Bristol rally in Castle Park was much earlier in the day than the EDL’s thing. It was a Unite Against Fascism joint. A group called Unison was there too. A group called Sikhs Against The English Defence League brought a large banner. UAF leader Weyman Bennett made an appearance. 

Marvin Rees spoke at the We Are Bristol rally too (Labour member who was vying for Mayor). He called for the city to be an example of peace. It comes off as naive given what the Far Left had planned. The timing allowed Antifa to position themselves at various points to intercept the right-wingers. Simon Childs of VICE tweeted: “Antifa arrested. Shouts “I’m probably going to Trinity” as he is bundled into cop van.”

On their way to Queen Square, the EDL had a police escort. It came in handy as throngs of Far Left protesters tried blocking the march’s path. Bristol Bridge being a choke point where the cops had to step in to prevent the Far Left’s disruptions. According to Childs: “Haha. Fleet footed antifa sprints past me, followed by wheezing cops failing to arrest him.”

What was the rally like? What did the EDL do here besides protesting Islam? One of their rallies wouldn’t be complete without countless England flags everywhere. People bought EDL merchandise and listened to music. Speeches were made. The Left thought the EDL were all bigots but they had a transgender speaker featured in their show. Kevin Carroll defended the army. The anti-EDL side believed the EDL people had low intelligence. “If you can read this you shouldn’t be in the EDL,” read one protester’s sign. “STAY CALM & MARCH AGAINST FASCISM” said another.

Violence broke out after the EDL’s Queen Square rally. The riot cops had to come out then. Objects were thrown. Antifa and EDL lobbed rocks at one another. It’s for such reasons that helmets are customary at these events. Bloggers complained about being blocked access but the cops disagreed. Despite all that, this was between Antifa and police as the former had tried to provoke confrontation from the EDL. A glass bottle shattered upon impact on a police van. The smell of burning trash in the air. An Antifa protester was arrested for refusing to remove their face mask. They were one of the grand total of sixteen detained overall. 

“I HAVE HAD IT WITH THESE MOTHER****ING FASCISTS ON THIS MOTHER****ING ISLAND” read one of Antifa’s homemade signs. 

The police didn’t slack off immediately after the rally was over. They needed to get everyone home too. The EDL needed a police escort to their buses too. The “Far Right” couldn’t leave the area without Far Leftists coming after them. With that said it seems strange for the police to describe the day as “calm.” The Antifa Twitter accounts relishing their day’s battle begs to differ. (BBC) (Bristol Post) (Guardian) (HuffPost) (Independent) (ITV) (II) (III)

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September 1st 2012: A showdown by Antifa and EDL in Walthamstow. To start, the latter went to pubs around King’s Cross Station. They got a bit rowdy amongst themselves before officially kicking off things. Their adversaries monitor them every step of the way.

The anti-EDL people started their day by having a rally. Unite Against Fascism and We Are Waltham Forest put it together, taking place in the town center. The Socialist Workers Party thought it was a nice place to set up another booth.They got some people to buy into trying socialism out. Meanwhile, UAF made signs that depicted Norway killer Anders Breivik and Tommy Robinson as one in the same.

It was a crowd of reportedly thousands, compared to the EDL’s 200. Laurie Penny being among them. There was lots of banner waving.

The event had speakers like the local MP, Stella Creasy. Owen Jones told the crowd that having a debate with “fascists” is off the table. Mark Campbell came on behalf of London Metropolitan University’s UCU union and his speech sheds light on the Far Left’s mindset at this time. Mark said there was a connection between things like the potential deportation of up to 3000 international students by the UK Border Authority, and the EDL: “Racist policies by the government give confidence to racist thugs on the streets. That’s why trade unionists have to stand up against racism and fascism.”

From the rally, a crowd of anti-EDL set out towards Blackhorse Road Station to oppose the EDL’s march. “Whose streets? Our streets!” they chanted as they went. How did they know where to go? Hope not Hate said they had spotters at both of the nearby stations. Twitter became a useful tool to target people like that. So of course the EDL march needed a police escort. Vans on top of vans all rolling into Walthamstow. “THEY SHALL NOT PASS” the Far Left mob shouted over and over. An Antifa flag waved in the air.

A key point of the opposition’s approach was their sit-in protest at the intersection of Hoe Street and Forest Road. The EDL planned to march down that way. But now it was blocked. The police had to improvise in where they chaperoned the group. It bought Antifa time to position themselves, as the cops took everyone on a detour through the side streets of Walthamstow.

While Simon Childs of VICE typically favors Antifa in his event coverage, this time he broke his habit. Childs documented the arrest of an anti-EDL protester who came packing with a hammer and knife. “WALTHAMSTOW RESIDENTS – Punch a member of the #EDL as they wander past gurgling and groaning.” read one Antifa tweet. Such cases (and arrests) put a damper on the narrative VICE was trying to spin. That it was some kind of grassroots effort with the community coming together to oppose the EDL.  This is not meant to erase the interviews with locals from HuffPost and Socialist Worker. Just pointing out there was more to this day than that.

Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll had been waiting around at Town Hall for the march to show up. The Antifa sabotage was unexpected. The former made a rant about how Iraqis and Afghans didn’t serve in the military, and the latter said Antifa were the real fascists for getting in the way of the EDL’s rally.

Reportedly 400 Antifa found their way to the EDL’s planned rally location outside Walthamstow Magistrates court. UAF’s people cut off access for the marchers. It brought everything to a stop. The yellow vested cops aplenty. Riot gear too. So you have the EDL, the cops, and a mob of Far Left all at the same place. The clash that followed was inevitable. The police kettled and isolated the anti-EDL when they could. But it didn’t last forever. A tussle happened and a barrage of objects were thrown Tommy Robinson’s way. The EDL were surrounded. Antifa pushed up against police lines, accusing them of “protecting the nazis.”

Eventually the cops got the EDL crowd out and back home. Getting the EDL to leave was a bit of a challenge. The police decided to “Section 60” (stop and search) some of them. Some of the EDL refused to allow that and got arrested. 

The Far Left celebrated as if they had just won a sports game.The joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism, Weyman Bennett, was thrilled. He told the Socialist Worker: “We came, we saw, we defeated the EDL. This magnificent alliance that brought together anti-fascists, trade unionists, faith and community organisations is a model that can defeat the racists.”

“Muslims still rioting in Walthamstow, burning cars and smashing windows,” said Nick Griffin trying to pull off one last plot twist for the day. However this was just a rumor and quickly established as unsubstantiated. (HuffPost) (Metro) (Socialist Worker) (Waltham Forest Guardian) (VICE)

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April 21st 2013: The March for England in Brighton became a tradition for the area. But as the years went by it became more of a platform for the EDL and For Britain to protest Islamic culture. Given how in 2012 there were fights and arrests, the police came into this next year more prepared to deal with that sort of thing. In these early days the tone of the politics had a different vibe. The people of Brighton were simply annoyed at all the fuss and didn’t want these MfE people in their town. Especially given the liberal reputation of the area. They saw the march’s display of nationalism as racist. One even accused EDL of targeting gays. But there was more waiting in the wings than these locals who turned up. 

It’s a crowd of people with a bunch of England flags. At a glance nothing wrong with that. But why are some of their critics running around taking pictures of MfE people, one by one

They’re called Antifa. They hate cops. Antifa is the name given to the nebulous Far Left groups around the world who decide to take their protective zeal against the so-called “fascists” and actively go wherever needed to oppose them. Their organization(s) started in the UK back in the 1930s with the dawn of Oswald Mosley and the Battle of Cable Street. The Antifa ideological faction has been around since then in one shape or another (through Communist/Socalist outlets). Rising to the public spotlight and ebbing way back into the political background in the decades since Mosley’s time. They see any form of right-wing nationalist belief as a significant enough threat that has the potential to amount to what Oswald’s people became. The gateway to that Far Left lifestyle is seen here in Brighton via organizations like Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and the Socialist Worker

“SMASH THE FASH” read one tapestry hanging off a window. To Antifa today’s Brighton march was another round in their game. One that became increasingly organized on social media. The Far Left organization Hope not Hate gave a play by play of the political bloodsports. Obviously with a viewpoint bent towards their bias

Before the 2013 rally Brighton had six years of MfL under their belts. It didn’t help that at the same time as the March for England, there was also a car show going on. It meant bad traffic for the day. Hundreds of people turned up on either side in the ‘13 year. It was estimated to be a 250 March for England vs. 1000 Antifa protester split. A 2012 estimate had 140 MfL vs. 400 Far Left, so attention had definitely grown.

Brighton’s MP Caroline Lucas joined with those opposing the EDL. This year a protest group called the English Disco League (a tongue-in-cheek parody namesake) organized the MfL’s opposition. Police demanded both groups keep peace so they had them in separate spots. The cops weren’t taking any chances. They recruited help from five other police forces. Dogs. Helmets. Horses. They even searched members of the UK press as they rolled into town. It was temporarily a place where authorities set up makeshift barricades in order to prepare for the day’s march.

These political marches boil down to walking from one place to another. Straightforward enough. The captivation to these events doesn’t come from that, obviously. Back in 2013 Twitter didn’t have video uploads either. In this case, it would’ve helped explain how one guy had blood gushing from the back of his head. Alas, all we have on hand are YouTube clips that survived since then. 

To this lot it’s about the fighting. Moreover it’s about seeing how close in each other’s faces either side can get without brawling. It was never perfect. Usually, and in cases like Brighton here, the physical bouts happened via splinter groups that broke away from their main crowds. Ambushes that the cops had to correct. The anti-EDL side had a taste of the police’s infamous kettle tactic. Which is ultimately a crowd control containment situation.  Sussex Police made 19 arrests on grounds of people possessing weapons, theft, public orders offences, and other criminal damage. It’s unsurprising, given there was at least one report of the Far Left throwing around furniture. 

But Antifa groups won’t talk about things like that. Instead, UAF’s summary of the day was much more glamourized: 

“The people of Brighton won another excellent victory today as over 1,000 anti fascists came together and humiliated the racist March For England. MFE had a motley crew of ex C18, BNP and National Front, it was interesting to see ex C18 hooligans as well as ex BNP councillors, so much for the MFE ‘family day out’. A ridiculous amount of money was wasted policing just 100 racists and fascists. Well done all! and great to see unity in action between the different strands of the anti fascist movement.”

Things are just getting started. (BBC) (ITV) (SQ Magazine) (The Argus) (VICE)

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September 7th 2013: The EDL lost their High Court fight to march through Tower Hamlets in east London on grounds of the potential “serious public disorder” it’d cause. But they weren’t prevented from holding a demonstration altogether. That’s what both MPs representing the Tower Hamlets borough wanted. Labour MPs Rushanara Ali and Jim Fitzpatrick asserted “this march…[poses] a serious threat to both individuals and wider Tower Hamlets community cohesion.”

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Luftur Rahman, submitted a formal application to the Home Secretary and High Court, demanding the EDL’s march be banned. But that was rejected.

The EDL’s desire to gather in the first place was two-fold:

“The first thing is that Tower Hamlets is an area that has become, some would say, subject to Sharia law and the EDL wish to highlight that fact by demonstrating in Tower Hamlets. The second point is that there are occasions when individuals in the Tower Hamlets area have been subject to assault for failing to comply with Sharia law.”

Basically Tower Hamlets is home to one of Britain’s largest Muslim populations. EDL’s legal counsel Jamas Hodivala emphasized how the European Convention on Human Rights honors freedom of expression and assembly. The rebuttal by lawyer George Thomas on behalf of the Metropolitan Police was that such a march would be “unreasonably” provocative. He played into the inevitable counter-demonstration that’d pop-up to oppose the EDL. 1,000 to 2,000 people showing up like that would lead to chaos.

But the EDL march was allowed to go on. The closest official estimates indicated it was 600 “Far Right” EDL. The UK coppers formed a “security envelope” around the group to restrict the chances for violence. Some of the standouts included a supporter dressed in an England flag cape. Another chap wore crusader armor.  It was limited to a few hours from midday until 3 PM. It went from Queen Elizabeth Street, through Tower Bridge, and into Aldgate. The EDL vowed to remain peaceful. A message on their website said: “We’re returning to Tower Hamlets! Our reasons haven’t changed and neither has our commitment to peaceful protest. Only by working with the police can we make the return to Tower Hamlets a success and get our voices heard.”

This reassurance didn’t stop East London Mosque assistant executive director Shaynul Khan from saying the EDL march announcement “shot a feeling of fear” among the Muslim community.  Given the build-up, an estimated 3000 officers were deployed to the surrounding Tower Hamlets area. There was particular attention given to the borders of Tower Hamlets proper, to make sure the EDL didn’t overstep their bounds. They tried balancing preventing “serious disorder, damage to property, and the disruption to community life” with upholding the right to protest.

Unite Against Fascism organized the anti-EDL rally at Whitechapel’s Altab Ali Park (with Libcom and London Antifa helping signal boost). It was a symbolic gesture given how it was named after a 25-year-old Bangladeshi clothing worker murdered in 1978 by three teenage boys, as he was walking home from a day at work.

Lutfur Rahman participated, serving as the rally MC. His reasoning was being annoyed at having to deal with these EDL demonstrations in the first place: “We are celebrating peace and tranquillity. We are not espousing violence. The people who want to talk about violence and inflict violence and hate on others can just go back to their nests and their holes. “We are a united community and we are a diverse community. Young people are not coming out today because they are frightened.”

A police helicopter stood vigilant in the skies above. Several different academic unions and student groups arrived with large banners. There was a big union presence overall. The English Disco Lovers showed up again. Sisters Against the EDL. Sikhs Against the EDL as well. That UNISON group made an appearance. It was a crowd of roughly 4000. It’s unclear for sure but the “thousands” label was thrown around. But alleging it was 7000 to 8000 people seems doubtful.  A sea of signs saying “STOP THE RACIST EDL” and “SMASH THE EDL & BNP.” The Socialist Worker people had a booth. A great place for Tower Hamlets Green Party candidate for Mayor Chris Smith to do a photo-op. In part this could be because some famous faces showed up. People like Peter Tatchell and Michael Rosen

Owen Jones got swept away in the moment, telling the crowd: “Wherever the menace of Islamophobia emerges, we must drive it back. Today this is our message to the EDL; we are one community. We will not rest until we drive this poison off the streets of this community.”

Max Levitas, a 97-year-old survivor of the 1936 Battle of Cable Street. The infamous birthplace of the Antifa movement where they went up against Oswald Mosley’s supporters. “This today is taking me back many, many years to the battle of Cable Street,” Levitas said in a speech. There were worries about some kind of “second Battle of Cable Street” as reportedly the EDL wanted to have their march end up at that historic site.

UAF was satisfied with the Tower Hamlets turnout. The organizer Stuart Curlett said “Black, white, Muslim, Jewish all came out, and we have shown the EDL what east London actually looks like, which is a multi-cultural community.” UAF’s Weyman Bennett said to the anti-EDL masses: “The EDL will never come to the streets of east London. Who stopped them? We stopped them! Let’s continue to stand together in solidarity.”

Beyond having a rally, a group of Far Left and Antifa went on their own march to block the EDL’s route. “THEY SHALL NOT PASS” read the South London Antifa’s banner. They set their sights on Tower Bridge where the EDL group was to pass through. A couple hundred of the Antifa crowd got kettled near there. The black masked activists clashed with police making the Far Left’s intended PR message less glamorous. They had to bring in buses in order to arrest everyone. Even legal observers and media people got thrown into the mix. The police announcement of 150 being arrested, with a total of 14 EDL people getting arrested for public order offences, gives us an idea of how many were in this kettle.

Tommy Robinson got arrested. According to a Metropolitan Police spokesman: “A 30-year-old man was arrested for breaching section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 and inciting others to breach section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986. He has been taken to a central London police station where he currently remains.”

The closest the EDL got was Aldgate station. They were within viewing distance of the protest at Altab Ali Park. Eventually the EDL left the Tower Hamlets area. The time constraints in place made them have to turn back around. The Far Left and socialists considered their day’s mission accomplished. (BBC) (II) (Channel 4) (II) (East London Advertiser) (East London Lines) (Evening Standard) (HuffPost) (II) (IB Times) (II) (Metro) (Sky News) (Socialist Worker) (The Guardian)

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April 27th 2014: Back to Brighton for another March for England event. There were reportedly 200 MfE attendees and anywhere from 400 to 500 counter-protesters (Hope not Hate claimed 1000, while Antifa claimed 2000). On paper it’s a celebration for national pride since it happens around St. George’s Day. But the past few years made it a routine battleground between the EDL and Antifa. This year it cost police £500,000 to keep the two sides apartAs usual, they showed up in large numbers stationed everywhere possible around the city. Road closures and traffic diversions came back.

The March for England crowd arrived with their flags. A pub called The Bright Helm was a point of friction between the MfE and Far Left early on in the day. The right-wingers went there to drink. Things got ugly. “To all the people smashing the fash in Brighton today give them hell ¡No pasarán!” and other tweets like that popped up.

The Stop MfE protest group used Twitter to coordinate the Far Left opposition (complete with lawyers to call). Their purpose, according to this statement: “Neo-Nazis, Friends of Golden Dawn, supporters of the swastika waving Greek fascist party, have stated they will be attending March for England. “We believe that ideologies of hate flourish when they are ignored and want the people of Brighton to show that the religious prejudice, racism and fascism of the English Defence League isn’t welcome here or anywhere.”

When coming from Brighton Station, folks could see a “MARCH FOR ENGLAND NOT WELCOME HERE!” sign hanging over a ledge. In town a “RACISTS GO HOME” sign hung from a resident’s window.

Brighton MP Caroline Lucas pleaded for locals to oppose the march beforehand. Her statement alongside the Brighton Trades Council said: “When groups like this come to Brighton it is because our multicultural city in all its diversity proves that their own doctrine of hate is wrong, and they want to damage our unity. […] In Brighton we all stand together. And when someone tries to threaten our community we must stand together even more firmly.”

Lucas even showed up with a small Green Party crowd of her own.

“March For England Here Again? Frankly This is TIRESOME Please go away” read one handmade sign. The return of the EDL meant the return of the English Disco Lovers protest group too. As always when it comes to protests, Unite Against Fascism was involved. They had plenty of “NO TO THE FASCIST MFE DON’T LET RACISTS DIVIDE US” signs handed out.

Police were proactive in forming barriers around the Antifa people this time. Their goal in part was protecting the MfE from attacks by the Far Left. It rained too. Nonetheless the marchers persisted under the watchful eye of the cops.  One guy even painted an English flag on his face. One pro-Antifa reporter said the marchers threw coins at the protester crowd. At some point two of their different groups came together into one mass. The police ended up forming a wall of their manpower and van power to keep both sides divided. “NAZI SCUM OFF OUR STREETS” the Antifa people chanted. The authorities played their part of neutral arbiters: willing to take away any rabble-rousing MfE member, but also capable of using horses to shoo off the Far Left all the same.

Then came the part where the police had to get the March for England people home. The counter-protesters decided to try and stop that from happening. Wielding middle fingers, Antifa made street barriers to block the path to Brighton Station. “Who killed Mark Duggan? Police killed Mark Duggan,” the Far Left shouted at the cops. Bottles were thrown. Antifa held aloft a big “No pasarán” sign. Queens Road became a battleground. Tensions flared up a short time earlier when the MfE and locals had a taunting back and forth. But the cops got a handle on the Far Left. The power to detain people proved handy.

Sussex Police made a total of 27 arrests for various public order related offences. In their opinion the day was (relatively) peaceful given the lower turnout numbers and few injuries. Antifa largely ignored the fact they fought against the cops and patted themselves on the back for a job well done. (Channel 4) (Mirror) (ITV) (The Argus)

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January 30th 2016: By 2016 the migration debate was heating up in Britain. Dover was symbolic given how its port is close to Calais, France. At this time thousands of immigrants were gathering there after leaving Africa and the Middle East. Many of them tried entering the UK from Calais via boat or train. With that said, the Dover march was planned as a rally to support Calais truckers. There were reports that they were attacked when coming through from Dover.

At the end of January the city became a left vs. right-wing battleground. “200 Nazis with their flags outside the Priory Hotel,” tweeted Hope not Hate with a snapshot of the location. The Far Left and Far Right clashed earlier on in the day before any marching even began. At a service station on the M20 outside Maidstone, coaches carrying members of the opposing sides had unfortunately arrived together. According to Antifa protester Anindya Bhattacharyya a group called Combat 18 attacked the area. The facility had to close over the ordeal. In terms of grizzly visuals, at least one of the Far Left coaches had a swastika painted on it with someone’s blood. Six people ended up arrested over this incident alone as the vehicles were damaged

The local police mobilized to keep order for the “far-right” march through town. By the end of the day, they ended up fighting Antifa. What did the counter-protesters believe? According to the Kent Anti-Racism Network: “We now see across Europe a climate of bigotry and hatred is on the rise – the scapegoating of migrants, attacks on the Muslim community and an increase in anti-Semitism.”

Other Far Left factions in attendance included: Unite Against Fascism, Dover’s Stand Up to Racism branch, the Corby Anti-fascists, Labour/Green parties, and the Socialist Worker. Diane Abbott gave a speech to the crowd. She told the protestors: “migrants have helped build this country … we cannot let the fascists divide us!” Another speaker was South East Green MEP Keith Taylor. He told the crowd that “you can’t put wire fences around the 21st century.” A group called Radical Housing Network was in attendance advocating for homes for all, including migrants. Alongside them was this Lesbian and Gays Support the Migrants organization who joined together with the Momentum group to chant that the “Nazis get thrown in the sea.”

What is there to say about the Far Left’s rally aside from the direct confrontation with their political enemies? Of course there were Dover’s locals who turned up to protest racism. They saw these people throwing up Hitler salutes and wanted to oppose that. “No to the Nazis” read signs distributed by UAF. “REFUGEES WELCOME HERE” was written on signs with Socialist Worker logos on them. The socialists was happy that George Binnett from Camden Unison showed up to support the anti-EDL crowd.

In comparison, the other camp had signs clearly labeled “refugees NOT welcome.” The leftists had a harder time understanding right-wing concerns about the likes of ISIS. With reportedly 150 people on the Far Right side there were: the North West Infidels, the East Kent English Patriots, the National Front, a group called Combat 18, the Scottish Defence League, and the South East Alliance. Their side was against the migrants. In response to Diane Abbott, Martin Corner had a lot to say in that regard. “These lands belong to the white, indigenous British,” for starters. He told Abbott’s crowd to “pack your bags and go back to where you’re from.” Corner laid a lot of the blame on politicians.  “David Cameron and the Tories prefer to let more and more of these rapists, paedophiles and murderers into our lands. We’ve got enough in Westminster.” Their desire was for the UK to close the borders.

Before the march the South East Alliance wrote on their Facebook page: “Remember we are there for a purpose. To highlight certain issues we face. We are not there to have a kick-off with the red scum but we do know they will attack us and we shall defend ourselves without hesitation.” In contrast North London Antifa urged their side: “If going by public transport to #Dover be safe & sane, don’t start fights with any fascists you may bump into, not worth the arrest pre-demo.”

The tenuous peace of the initial rally was derailed after a contingent of Antifa went away from Market Square at around 12:30 PM. They went towards the train station to confront a group of South East Alliance and National Front supporters being guarded by the police. By 1:20 PM the Far Right march began with an escort of riot police close by. 

Here’s testimony from KentOnline reporter Sam Lennon: “These were mainly young people dressed in black and wearing masks. They crossed Priory Road and headed to the railway station, where the far-right were due to emerge. It was at Folkestone Road, at the junction with Efffingham Crescent, that they were stopped by a line of police.”

It climaxed in a standoff. Video recordings became more common by 2016 so see it all for yourselves.There were reports of smoke bombs with bricks and bottles thrown (a flying traffic cone too). Chunks of stone were acquired from street tiles. Masked mobs running around city streets. Countless police stationed around town in bright yellow uniforms serving as boundaries. Dogs at the ready. All day, the Far Left had a goal. Antifa set out to block the roads on the march’s route. A battalion of law enforcement lined up to kettle the Far Left crowd from causing harm. Some claimed the right-wing rally goers huddled behind the cops for protection. The Far Left chanted “The police protect the fascists, The police protect the fascists.” The anti-cop sentiment was echoed by Weyman Bennett of the UAF. “The other force that acted to facilitate the Nazis were the police,” he told the Socialist Worker.

This completely ignores the crowd control the UK authorities applied to the right-wing side. However, seeing that Antifa actively hunts their ideological opponents, it’s easy to see why the Far Right wanted some help. The Far Left managed to break through police lines.

Hope not Hate kept tabs on the day’s events. Duncan Cahill told The Guardian: “’What we have today and for the past few months [in Dover] is massive call-outs by just about every Nazi group in the country and everyone involved in anti-fascism has gone down there today for what looks like a massive punch-up.” 

That is to say, Antifa saw this as a sport like Football. “SMASH” they say. “MASH” they say. Regardless, Nick Lowles of HnH claimed the day was all “nazi violence” even though the fighting first came from an Antifa ambush. It’s not really a shock that an Antifa supporter like Vyara Gylsen told the Guardian the Far Right threw the first punches.

The two sides fought until blood was drawn. Worth emphasizing again that Hope not Hate has a bias toward smearing the Far Right almost exclusively. “Fascist Andy Royston has been hit by a brick thrown by his own side,” HnH tweeted. This so-called charity actively cheered on Antifa attacking the cops. “Police are struggling to hold back antifascists. The Nazis might just have to get in the sea.” 

Take Hope not Hate’s two reports with a grain of salt. What did local residents think about this riot? According to one caught in the day’s crossfire: “I’ve lived in Dover all my life and I’ve never seen anything like this. This just doesn’t happen in our town. Go back home. We don’t want you here.”The Far Right crowd threatened at least two demonstrators. They told a female reporter from the LBC that “she should be raped,” and said to a Breitbart London journalist he was a “Marxist” and that they hoped they were “raped by Muslims.”

In addition to the six arrests from earlier in the day, three more were arrested by the end. They include: a 28-year-old man on suspicion of a public order offence, a 32-year-old guy from Bristol for breaching the peace, and finally a 41-year-old male from Gillingham who reportedly had an offensive weapon. Kent police seized more than 20 weapons, among them was a knuckle duster. Multiple hammers and a knife, too. The final police round-up ended being 17 overall in relation to the Dover event. One person broke their arm and five others suffered minor injuries.

Dover’s MP at the time, Charlie Elphicke, expressed disappointment about protest violence. “I am shocked and saddened that people were hurt in Dover today. It was irresponsible and wrong to allow two opposing demonstrations to happen. The Chief Constable and Police Commissioner have serious questions to answer why these demonstrations were not banned after violence last time.”

The cops eventually shooed everyone home. A Kent Police spokesperson said the operation ended by 5 PM. Antifa became battle hardened by this point. They flaunted “war trophies.” (BBC) (Breitbart) (II) (BuzzFeed) (Daily Mail) (Daily Star) (Evening Standard) (II) (Express) (II) (HuffPost) (II) (Independent) (ITV) (Kent Online) (Metro) (Mirror) (II) (Reuters) (RT) (Sky News) (Socialist Worker) (Telegraph) (The Guardian) (II) (The Times)

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June 3rd 2016: A group of roughly 100 anti-Trump protesters showed up to a Trump rally and went after Trump supporters. They threw eggs. A Black Muslim chased and tackled a White Trump supporter. Someone burned the American flag. Blood poured off a man’s head after being bludgeoned. The incompetent San Jose and California police response was heavily criticized.  But the police chief defended the restraint. Obama told Democrats to not act like Republicans. Trump called them “a bunch of thugs.” Hillary Clinton blamed Trump for creating such an environment. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo did too. (ABC News) (NY Post) (AJ+) (Breitbart) (CNN) (The Guardian) (Fox News) (Washington Post) (BuzzFeed) (Twitchy) (CBS) (Business Insider) (Hot Air) (Daily Mail) (The Atlantic) (Free Beacon) (MSNBC) (Twitter Moment)

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October 8th/9th 2016: Philip Thaler and eight other right-wingers are attacked in Halle, Germany by over 30 left-wing extremists. Several of them were injured by stones, bottles, and pepper spray. (Einprozent)

November 11th 2016: Anti-Trump protest declared riot in Portland after the election of Donald Trump cost over $1 million in damage. 25 people arrested. “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!” Trump tweeted.  (Mic) (BuzzFeed) (KPTV) (VICE) (Zero Hedge) (Associated Press) (OregonLive) (NBC News)

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