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Sunday 10 October 2010

Lack of Clarity in BBC Report on Violence and Arrests at Leicester Demonstrations

The latest available BBC report on yesterday’s EDL and UAF demonstrations in Leicester reveals that some ugly violent incidents marred the day and a number of arrests were made. However, as you will see from the excerpt reproduced below, the report is written in such a way as not to reveal who was arrested and why. An anonymous commentator on my blog has claimed that some EDL members engaged in acts of violence, and I would be surprised given the numbers involved (the BBC’s revised estimates now stand at 2,000 for the EDL and 600 for UAF) if the demonstration had been entirely peaceful. Let me once again however make it clear that I do not condone violence, but I support the EDL’s right to protest peacefully. Anyone who deliberately initiates and engages in acts of violence must expect the full force of the law to be brought against them.

Given the BBC’s editorial hostility towards the EDL and the anti-Islamisation movement in general, it is therefore surprising that it does not mention how many of the thirteen arrested were from amongst the ranks of the EDL. This suggests to me that as in Bolton earlier this year the majority of arrests were of UAF counter-demonstrators. Indeed in Harrow on 11 September 2009 UAF demonstrators and hothead elements in the local Muslim population attacked the police at the site of a demonstration planned by Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE), even though the demonstration itself didn’t take place. Likewise, not long after that they attacked the police in Luton with a variety of items including fireworks even though there was no EDL protest. Unite Against Fascism has a long history of seeking to stir up anti-English hatred and initiating violence in pursuit of its Trotskyist violent revolutionary strategy, as the guiding members of UAF such as Martin Smith and Weyman Bennett are members of the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) Central Committee.

Even the BBC cannot gloss over the reality of UAF violence, hence its report only makes mention of one specific incident of directed violence, and this was against two EDL coaches which were leaving the city. For me, “throwing stones and bricks” at vehicles is simply inexcusable, for serious injury or death could have resulted. Read the excerpt below, and draw your own conclusions:
Thirteen men have been arrested during two protests in Leicester, which sparked the biggest police operation in the county for 25 years.
The English Defence League (EDL) held a static demonstration and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) staged a counter-protest on Humberstone Gate East. 
Riot police moved in after several fireworks, bottles and coins were thrown.
There were also reports of violence away from the demonstration site.
Gangs were seen throwing stones and bricks at two coaches carrying EDL supporters as they left the city.
Those arrested at the main protest site were aged between 30 and 42 and were not from the Leicester area

1 comment:

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