SDL Flops, EDL Thugs Clash with Police at Walsall Protest

Another flop for the Scottish Defence League

The Scottish Defence League (SDL) held a static protest outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, while Unite Against Fascism organised its own counter-protest. Police said that around 60 people attended the SDL event, which lasted for around 45 minutes. The majority arrived by coach.

Meanwhile Unite Against Fascism said its march from the City Chambers on the Royal Mile to the Parliament attracted over 300 people. Police put the figure at around 250.

Lothian and Borders Police created a “sterile” area outside Holyrood, with the two groups separated by barriers and accompanied by police officers. Members of the public were kept away from the area.

Speaking after the event, Luke Henderson, co-ordinator for Unite Against Fascism, said: “The march was absolutely fantastic and we were very happy that we had a great turn out. Our march had representatives from the many diverse communities that make Edinburgh a vibrant and open city.”

Press Association, 29 September 2012

Update:  See also “Scotland and Islam”, Sunday Herald, 30 September 2012

Arrests at EDL Walsall protest after clashes with police

Police clashed with members of the English Defence League during protests in Walsall town centre today.

During speeches given by leaders of the EDL, the crowd surged towards police lines on Leicester Street. Officers with riot gear used batons and shields to hold back the demonstrators. Scores of missiles – including bricks, bottles and litter bins – were hurled at police.

At 3pm officers cleared Lichfield Street with a shields charge as members of the EDL were herded on to buses to transport them away from the town centre.

West Midlands Police said they have no power to ban a static protest and the right to protest peacefully was a sign of a healthy democracy.

Birmingham Mail, 29 September 2012

 

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Scottish Defence League flops in Dundee

Scottish Defence League flops in Dundee

The humiliation of the English Defence League in Walthamstow has attracted most of the attention, but another flop for “counterjihad movement” took place in Dundee on Saturday, where the EDL’s sister organisation the Scottish Defence League staged a protest, primarily against a so-called “mega mosque” on the Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education campus, construction of which is due to start this month, providing 70 jobs for local people.

The SDL has a very low level of support in Scotland itself, and as Dundee trades council secretary Mike Arnott noted in a report for the Morning Star: “To enhance its minuscule numbers at demonstrations in Scotland the SDL also invites its unsavoury allies from the north of England along – the EDL and the North East and North West Infidels, whose reputations for thuggery are well known.”

SDL organiser Graham Walker had openly admitted to these links in an interview with The Courier, warning that there would be a significant turnout for the protest. Under the headline “Scottish Defence League organiser tells Dundee to expect big right-wing presence on September 1″ the paper reported that “around 150 far-right demonstrators” were expected to arrive in the city. On Saturday morning the Courier claimed that “busloads of activists” were on their way to Dundee, including former leading figures in the British National Party.

In the outcome only 80 SDL turned up, according to the Courier, compared with “a counter demonstration by several hundred anti-racism and anti-fascism campaigners, operating under the Dundee Together banner, in the City Square”. (Other accounts put support for the SDL protest at an even lower figure.) The SDL held a 45-minute static protest (the city council having exercised its powers to prevent them marching), during which they threw the occasional Nazi salute at their opponents who surrounded them, and then the police escorted them back to their two half-filled coaches and out of Dundee.

Photos of the SDL protest and the Dundee Together counter-demonstration here.