Bradford city centre was locked down by a heavy police presence on 12 October in order to allow a ‘static’ protest by several hundred far-right English Defence League (EDL) supporters. A Bradford Socialist Party member explains what happened.
There was an eerie feel walking into the centre of Bradford on the day of the EDL’s visit as the streets were practically deserted.
With no march route granted, it was basically a day out to the pub for the EDL, with various coaches shipping supporters into a police-designated pen.
The EDL’s desire to be heard and their threat to cause havoc didn’t materialise. Unite Against Fascism had arranged a peace festival a few streets away, but 50 or so of us from various organisations, including the Socialist Party, were determined to get closer to try to stop the EDL.
Police horses surged forward in an attempt to move us towards the UAF demo point, which we managed to avoid. Attempts by police to kettle us on at least three occasions were also thwarted.
In-fighting occurred within the EDL pen, with two reported arrests. Their speeches at 1pm were also cut short, with police escorting EDL’ers to their buses after only 20 minutes.
We anti-racists, stuck around, determined to protect our city. The rain had been pouring down all day and the EDL’ers now looked more pathetic than ever, drenched in their misery and insignificance.