by Paul Sillett
Around 250 anti-fascists vastly outnumbered a national demonstration by the racist English Defence League (EDL) last Saturday at High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.
The EDL only managed to mobilise 70 people, despite bringing in supporters from as far afield as Newcastle and Bournemouth.
It shows a steady decline of the EDL. In 2010 it organised a march of 800 people through nearby Aylesbury, and last year they managed about 130 in the same town. They have attempted to use myths that Muslims are more responsible for child sexual abuse to build support, but their protests have dwindled, while anti-racists have gained support.
Unite Against Fascism and High Wycombe Community Advocates brought together a broad-based coalition to counter the racists’ lies. Supporters included delegations of trade unionists from Eastern Region CWU, Oxford and Bucks PCS, High Wycombe NUT and Unison members.
UAF campaigner Ian McKendrick said, “It was clear that no one was wanting to march with the EDL from the town, whereas anti fascists were welcomed by shoppers. But after the EDL were escorted to the train station, anti-fascists marched back to Guildhall and held an upbeat assembly, before dispersing. The EDL were visibly downbeat, whilst counter demonstrators were confident.”
One local NUT member recalled how the fascist National Front had built a base in the town in the 1970s and it had taken a long struggle to undermine their views. She said, “We’re not going back to those days”.