The English Defence League’s national demo in Walsall today brought together just 150 racists and fascists from around the country before degenerating into violence.
The EDL’s latest flop in the West Midlands town follows its crushing defeat when thousands of antifascists blocked its march and rally in Walthamstow, east London, earlier this month.
It has been riven with splits and recriminations, and the attempt to heal the organisation’s wounds in Walsall was a miserable failure.
Today’s pitiful event, which ended with the EDL thugs fighting and throwing missiles at police, was another nail in the EDL’s coffin.
In contrast, 700 local people turned out for a We Are Walsall counter-protest against the racists and fascists – a lively celebration of multicultural unity that overflowed into dancing in the street (see video, below, by Geoff Dexter).
The antiracist protestors included members of the Muslim community and trade unionists, with banners and flags from the Unite, NUT, Unison and PCS unions on display.
The We Are Walsall event was supported by local councillors and MP Valerie Vaz, who spoke from the platform, telling the demonstrators there was ‘no place in Walsall’ for the EDL.
Other speakers included a representative of Sikhs Against the EDL and a local taxi driver, speaking on behalf of Walsall’s taxi drivers who staged a strike for the day in protest at the EDL’s racist and violent thugs.
UAF national secretary Weyman Bennett urged demonstrators to support the antifascist protest called by We Are Walthamstow on 27 October, when the EDL wants to make a second attempt at demonstrating in the borough. Local antifascists are determined to send the EDL packing again.