An apparent switch of tactics by the racist English Defence League over the past weekend leaves no room for complacency, UAF believes.
On Saturday, EDL thugs staged an unannounced “flash mob” style demo in Oldham, while more EDL members attempted a similar mobilisation in Nuneaton on Sunday. EDL supporters also harassed anti-war and anti-cuts campaigners in Leeds.
This suggests that the EDL may be moving away from large set-piece rallies towards smaller, unannounced “flash mob” style events. Such a switch suggests a tacit acknowledgement by the EDL that they will be opposed wherever they try to organise openly.
In Nuneaton, a large number of local people gathered immediately to oppose the EDL – with EDL members issuing pleas for help because they were “surrounded” in a pub. In Oldham, the EDL were contained by police, who arrested eight for public order offences after missiles were thrown.
Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of UAF, said:
The EDL are racist thugs, with links to the British National Party and other fascist groups. It is significant that where they try to organise openly, they face widespread antiracist opposition – the EDL have been forced to look at new tactics because no-one wants the EDL in their town.
But we should not be complacent when we see the EDL switch to unnanounced “flash mob” tactics. The EDL are trying to build local groups and to toughen up their core members. We need to respond by building up our antiracist, antifascist movement urgently. We need to expose the racism and thuggery of the EDL and ensure they cannot build support in local areas.
That is why we have called a national demo against racism, fascism and Islamophobia – anti-Muslim racism – on 6 November in central London. We want it to be the biggest antiracist mobilisation for 30 years, to extend and broaden our campaign. In building this demo, with a turnout from around the country, we can also make sure people in every area of the country are aware of the racism and violence of the EDL.
The national demonstration on Saturday 6 November is backed by the Trades Union Congress and the Muslim Council of Britain. >> Read more about the demo