Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 9:55 pm Post subject: 'Casuals United' - English Defence League
Birmingham city centre protests: Riot police arrest 31 people
Aug 8 2009
RIOT police made 31 arrests tonight as they fought running battles with rival protesters as racial tensions spilled over on the streets of Birmingham. Violence broke out in the city centre between a controversial group who claim to be campaigning against Muslim extremists and anti-fascist activists. The groups had held vocal but peaceful protests in separate parts of the city centre until violence erupted in New Street just before 7pm.
The unrest flared after a pressure group calling themselves Casuals United organised a demonstration against Muslim extremists. The group, which claims to be anti-BNP, were formed after radical Muslims caused outrage by protesting against returning British troops in Luton earlier this year. But anti-fascists organised a rival rally after claiming the Casuals are made up of hardcore socccer hooligans intent on causing racial unrest. Their protest took place next to Birminghamï¿½s Bullring, while the Casuals gathered outside the council house in Victoria Square.
It us unclear what sparked the violent skirmishes, but riot police were soon involved in a large number of incidents and at one point were forced to seal off New Street with a steel barrier. Other police officers were seen running ran across Corporation Street, desperately trying to keep the opposing sets of protesters apart.
Scared shoppers fled in all directions as chaos and confusion descended on the city centre. Some cowered in Primark and Saturday night revellers fled in panic as hundreds of police, some clad in full riot gear, struggled to keep the peace. Emily Bridgewater was buying clothes with her mum in Primark on New Street when violence broke out. She said: ï¿½Everything seemed fine until suddenly it all kicked off outside and there was stampeding and screaming. We ended up being locked in Primark, the shutters came down and the alarms went off as the riot police tried to regain control of the street. ï¿½It was very frightening.ï¿½
Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood condemned both sets of protesters. The Labour MP had previously called for the Casuals rally to be banned after the Sunday Mercury first revealed the plans. He said: ï¿½I predicted this would happen when the Casuals announced that they were going to protest. Lots of innocent people, children and families, could have been hurt in this idiotic incident and I wholeheartedly condemn both sides for taking part in these scenes which have brought shame on Birmingham. I condemn the Casuals for organising their protest and inciting this fighting but I equally condemn the anti-fascist campaigners who rose to the bait ï¿½ that was particularly stupid.
ï¿½People have a democratic right to protest. But perhaps in future West Midlands police should look at holding sensitive demonstrations like these on separate days. That way they might avoid the scenes which have blighted our city centre tonight.ï¿½
By around 8.30pm police had restored order but tensions remained high.
"Nazi scum out of Brum"
August 10, 2009
I meant to write about this before. You probably heard that a collection of Nazis and football hooligans attempted to colonise a spot in Birmingham to hold a rally against Islam on Saturday. Feeling a bit flush after the BNP's electoral success, the far right are attempting to sieze the initiative on the streets. Some of them are engaging directly in violent attacks, but these guys are pretending to be Ordinary Decent Hardworking People. They are organised under entities known as "Casuals United" and the "English Defence League". The EDL is a BNP-linked organisation that professes to oppose 'Islamification' (finally a word that rhymes with 'ramification'). The last time "Casuals United" were seen, they were involved in rioting in Luton in England shirts and balaclavas. But they're awfully coy about any association with far right politics, their placards insisting that 'we are not BNP and we are not racists'. It's not clear who this is supposed to convince. The weird thing is, it is the BNP who are now trying to disassociate themselves from the EDL, even pretending to be rather distressed by how dangerous the group is.
Anyway, these idiots tried to stage their protest in front of the Bull Ring shopping centre, but had to give up that idea when about 300 anti-fascist activists turned up in response to a UAF alert. They were driven off elsewhere and staged their protest under police protection until a few hundred local youths turned up and confronted them. And that's when it all went downhill for the fash. They were outnumbered, pincered by the kids, and some of them - it pains me to say this - appear to have got their heads kicked in. (I seem to recall there used to be a terrace song about getting your fucking head kicked in?) The Times reports today that the English Defence League is in serious disarray after being so comprehensively outmanned and outmanoeuvred:
"Despite efforts to promote the event, fewer than 100 were thought to have gathered. Left-wing groups including Unite Against Fascism were alerted to the march and were able to organise a counter demonstration. One member of the League’s online forum, registered as Adder, wrote: “I support you guys but yesterday was a shambles and you made us English look like an embarrassment. What exactly happened to supposed 'In the high hundreds' who were supposed to turn up? I saw the video and it seemed like there was barely 70 of you. Holding it such a high profile public place, ridiculous idea [sic]. That's just asking for normal civilians minding their own business to get attacked.”
Neil Edy, another member of the website, said: “I went to the march ... the turn out to the event wasnt good enuf only a few of us were there supporting the cause.” Another sympathiser, calling himself Bill, said that he had not been able to find the others: “We were in the City most the afternoon, but then left as we had no one to contact and meet with, and we werent the only ones.”
Given that these people have an alarming propensity for attacking Asian residences and shops, their humiliating defeat can only be welcomed. But they are going ahead with other plans:
"Despite the failure of the first large event, the League insists it will continue to hold demonstrations. Comments on the group’s website, and the affiliated football hooliganism site Casuals United said that the next one would be bigger. One message on the Casuals United site read: “We will arrange it via the Inner Circles secret forums, so we will arrive unnanounced and neither the police or the scum will know any details.”
Such bravado. Some luck. If these people aren't already thoroughly penetrated by the security services, they probably will be by this evening.
A more charming group of chaps you'd be hard-pressed to meet - I am especially impressed by the chants of 'INGERLAND' in this video. It's interesting to note that the BBC wanted to push the idea that both groups were equally responsible.
Rival protesters clash on streets
5th September 2009
A "significant number" of people have been arrested during clashes between right-wing protesters and anti-fascist campaigners in Birmingham. A group calling itself the English Defence League, which said it was protesting against Islamic extremism, was met with a counter demonstration. Gangs of men and youths hurled bottles at each other and pelted riot police with bricks in the city centre. Police said it was not possible to say how many arrests had been made. Officers had earlier said more than 20 men had been arrested on a bus in Digbeth during the afternoon. A number of further arrests were made on double-decker buses in the city centre later.
The disturbances followed clashes last month, between English Defence League protesters and members of Unite Against Fascism. West Midlands Police said the latest trouble involved a total of about 200 people, in mainly sporadic incidents. The disturbances were confined mainly to the New Street and Bennetts Hill area. The police helicopter was flying over the city centre for several hours monitoring the movements of the protesters and a heavy police presence was visible on the streets. Police said the people held later in the day had boarded the buses on which they were arrested in and around Bennetts Hill. Other arrests were made in nearby Waterloo Street and in Digbeth High Street.
Det Ch Insp Sue Southern said: "Officers acted quickly and robustly to quell pockets of disorder caused by several groups of 20 to 30 men. Police estimate around 200 people in total were involved in the trouble." A West Midlands Police spokesman said the first arrests for violent disorder were made shortly after 1530 BST. The BBC's Dominic Casciani said police filled two double-decker buses with protesters from the English Defence League and transported them to Lancaster Circus. "Both buses were filled with right wing protesters," he said. "Police made them hold their protest in an underpass at Lancaster Circus, where no-one could see them."
Before the demonstration police and the city council obtained an order allowing them to restrict "trespassing groups" in the Bullring area of the city, under section 14a of the Public Order Act. They were also granted permission to impose conditions on the protesters, restricting them to certain locations and a limit of 250 people. Orders were also passed restricting the demonstrations to two locations. But after meeting on Broad Street in the city's entertainment district, demonstrators went to New Street, about half a mile away, and trouble broke out. The street, which houses a large number of banks, cafes and chain stores, is a major pedestrian shopping route. The nearby Bullring shopping centre and other shops remained open.
Det Ch Insp Southern said business leaders had said they considered the lack of impact on the busy retail area a success. On its website, the English Defence League had urged its supporters to avoid violent clashes. It added anyone causing trouble would be arrested or removed and could destroy the hard work put in by the league and police and "would ruin the day for everyone". It also stressed it was not a fascist organisation. The police and council had been criticised on anti-fascist websites for allowing the protests to go ahead.
Far-Right supporters confront pro-Palestinian marchers in London
Hundreds of people on a pro-Palestinian rally in London were met by a group of far-Right protesters holding Union Jacks as police held the two sides apart. The supporters of the English Defence League turned up at the annual Al-Quds Day demonstration in Central London held to show support for Palestinians. There was a heavy police presence as the procession was met with a small but vocal crowd at Piccadilly Circus. A line of men, some wearing Millwall FC shirts, held up a union flag and shouted at the marchers. The men held a banner declaring 'March for England'. Police kept the two sides apart as the procession went past and Scotland Yard said there had been no arrests and no disorder.
Clash: Scenes from the pro-Palestinian demonstration in London today where counter demonstrations where held by members of the English Defence League
Stand-off: Anti-fascist campaigners turned up at the rally to protest as well
English Defence League activists chanted 'We hate Muslims' and 'Muslim bombers off our streets', according to The Guardian. Some protesters attempting to cover their faces, sang 'English and we're proud of it'. A group of around 30 police officers in fluorescent yellow jackets walked ahead of the procession as it snaked along Park Lane. The rally ended in Waterloo Place, just off Pall Mall. Police moved any potential troublemakers to a cordoned area at the top of the road.
Confrontation: A pro-Palestinian protester shouts at anti-islamic protesters during the demo
Anger: A woman chants against the pro-Palestinian demonstration in London, while two protesters hide their faces behind her
As the march set off toward Pall Mall earlier today chants including 'end the occupation now' and 'Israel is a terrorist state' could be heard. Organisers said the event had been held in the capital for the last 27 years without any trouble on the part of the demonstrators and they were confident that would continue this year despite warnings by anti-Islamic groups. Supporters held up banners stating 'Justice for the murdered children of Gaza', 'We are all Palestinians', 'Boycott Israel' and 'Judaism rejects the Zionist State'.
People from a number of organisations and groups - both Muslim and non-Muslim - joined in the demonstration, which is held every year during Ramadan. Representatives of Unite Against Fascism attended to show their opposition to the far-Right protesters who showed up.
A policeman stands if front of a 'March for England' banner, during the annual Al-Quds march in central London
Mark Bergfeld, 22, said: 'We came here because the English Defence League announced they would be marching. We don't need to grant freedom of speech to a Fascist organisation that tries to smash freedom of speech and all forms of democracy. All of us - black, white, Jewish and Muslim - have come together to show solidarity between the different people in our community.'
Organisers of the demonstration yesterday claimed authorities in London had 'bowed' to pressure and threats from anti-Islamic groups by ruling it could not take place in its traditional Trafalgar Square venue. The rally has a 27 year association with Trafalgar square but this time the GLA turned down the proposal. The Greater London Authority denied the decision was last-minute and said permission to use the site was refused because the event did not have appropriate insurance.
British police officers control anti-Muslim protesters to protect them from anti-fascist protesters in the London suburb of Harrow
Organisers blamed the decision on threats made by far-Right groups such as the English Defence League, which issued a call to members to descend on the rally to oppose it. Organiser Raza Kazim, from the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said: 'At the last minute after months of negotiation, the GLA told us we are not allowed to go ahead with the rally in Trafalgar Square. We are very annoyed. It seems they have bowed to the pressure from people like the English Defence League. Instead of standing up to their threats they have capitulated.
An anti-Islam demonstration resulted in ten arrests tonight as right-wing groups clashed with other protesters
'A place that was being used to raise voices against fascism is now being given over to the very bigots we are supposed to be standing against.' Mr Kazim said the organisers were experienced and followed correct procedures during negotiations to stage the event, for which it had not been possible to obtain public liability insurance for a number of years. Explaining why the march takes place, Mr Kazim said: 'It's in aid of the oppressed people of Palestine in particular but the idea of Al-Quds is more general than that. It's for people who have been oppressed. We look through the prism of Palestine and the kinds of things that have happened to the Palestinian people - we have come out to say that we are with them.'
A spokesman for the Mayor of London said: 'The Greater London Authority has at no point given permission to the organisers of this year's event to host a rally in Trafalgar Square. The application was considered in the usual way under the terms and conditions of hosting such an event and, on the basis that the organisers have not been able to obtain Public Liability Insurance (PLI), the GLA took a decision to decline the use of the Square. This decision was based on the fact that, in the absence of PLI, the GLA's insurers are not prepared to underwrite the event which would mean that allowing it to go ahead would expose the GLA to unnecessary and potentially very expensive risk.'
The English Defence League, which claims to be 'peacefully protesting against militant Islam', posted on its website: 'We urge everybody who can to come to London to oppose this.' The dispute came as a Cabinet minister raised fears of a return to 1930s fascism, comparing modern Right-wing groups to Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts.
Communities Secretary John Denham, announcing a drive to prevent white working class people being 'exploited' by extremists, singled out protests being organised by the English Defence League. 'I think that the English Defence League and other organisations are not actually large numbers of people,' Mr Denham told yesterday's Guardian. 'They clearly, though, have among them people who know exactly what they're doing. If you look at the types of demonstrations they've organised ... it looks pretty clear that it's a tactic designed to provoke and to get a response and hopefully create violence.'
The dispute comes after anti-Islamic protesters from another organisation - Stop Islamisation of Europe - demonstrated outside Harrow Central Mosque on Friday. The Muslim Council of Britain urged mosques and associations to be vigilant against provocation from the far Right and to use lawful and peaceful means such as ensuring an 'inter-faith response', advising young Muslims against joining counter-protests and enlisting more volunteer stewards.
A spokesman added: 'We agree with the Communities Secretary John Denham who condemns the far right and observes that their actions are designed to provoke Muslims. The MCB therefore commends the strategy of the MCB affiliate Harrow Central Mosque who responded to the provocation by deploying all reasonable and peaceful means to counter far-right anti-Muslim demonstrations.'
English Nazis plot to bring terror to streets of Scotland Oct 25 2009
A MOB of English racists and neo-Nazis planning to invade Scotland can be exposed by the Sunday Mail today. The far-right trouble makers are planning to march in Glasgow under the banner of the Scottish Defence League near the country's biggest Mosque.
Despite portraying themselves as Scots, the right-wingers - including senior BNP activists - will travel to Scotland from Birmingham, Luton, London and Carlisle. The ragbag army of football hooligans, far-right activists and racist thugs want a confrontation with Scots Muslims. They have even started selling Scottish Defence League polo shirts on eBay for marchers to wear.
Organisers have admitted that previous marches have been attended by fascist thugs from Combat 18. They hope to take advantage of the heightened profile given to the far right from Nick Griffin's Question Time appearance on Thursday. A group calling themselves the Scottish Defence League made - then withdrew - an official application to stage a march on November 14 in Glasgow. Behind the scenes, they have been organising a huge demo for the city on that date - and last week told undercover Sunday Mail investigators the march was definitely on.
Most of the marchers will come from England - mirroring an event in Swansea held by the Welsh Defence League which descended into chaos. Those expected in Scotland include:
Essex security boss and mum-of-five Leisha Brookes, who was stopped carrying a knuckle duster on a previous march.
Anti-Islamic Carlisle-based businessman Stephen Gash, who helped organise an English Defence League protest in Harrow, Middlesex, which descended into violence.
BNP activist Chris Renton, who launched websites for the Scottish and English Defence Leagues.
Aston Villa fan Richard Price, whose Facebook page says he has done prison time. He has "England" tattooed on his bottom lip.
West Lothian-based Scottish ex-squaddie Steve Ritchie, who has offered to provide transport for marchers on an internet site.
Senior police officers and politicians are privately concerned about the possibility of an illegal march and potential flare-ups with Muslims near Glasgow Central Mosque in the city's Gorbals area.
Brookes, 42, who runs SBK Security in Southend, said: "In Scotland, we will be demonstrating the strength of our support, which, across the UK, is growing at rate of almost 1000 a month. We reckon to have several hundred supporters in Scotland but it is a very big area, so much of it comes from cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh."
Gash, 56 said: "Glasgow could be huge, without a doubt. A lot of the different firms down here seem to have buried the hatchet and are sickened by the rising tide of Islam. Whether or not that is the case in Scotland, we will have to see. Glasgow may well be the biggest march yet. There will be a lot of English guys travelling up for the Glasgow march from all over the place - Bristol, Luton, Birmingham. A lot of the football firms like Aston Villa get involved. I have a lot on but I will be going to Glasgow - it's only 95 miles away from me. Recent EDL demonstrations in Birmingham and the one in Swansea were infiltrated by Combat 18. That's what caused most of the trouble."
Gash organises a group called Stop Islamisation Of Europe (SIOE) which was set up "with the single aim of preventing Islam becoming a dominant political force in Europe". He said: " I am proud of the development of the EDL and the WDL. I am delighted that they have started up, as they are really trying to get the message across."
Police are still investigating the Welsh Defence League march in Swansea eight days ago, when a man was arrested for a racially aggravated public order offence. Hundreds of anti-fascist campaigners confronted the rally and a massive police presence kept the two sides apart. Police are reviewing hours of CCTV and video footage to look for further offences.
Taha Idris, of Swansea Bay Racial Equality Council, said : "In Swansea, the vast majority of protesters were actually English and that will be the same in Glasgow. A lot of them had strong Birmingham accents. It was quite obvious that a lot of people had come from elsewhere for the rally. They are basically a rent-a-mob and a bunch of troublemakers. There are serious football hooligans attached to these people."
Simon Cressy, of anti-racist Searchlight magazine, said: "The EDL and BNP are basically the same enterprise. Publicly, both will deny that but it suits both to have Nick Griffin as a public face and these guys causing trouble on the streets. Brookes appeared to play an organising role in the Birmingham demonstration. She is friendly with underworld figures such as Dave Courtney, Carlton Leech and Mitch Pyle, son of the gangster Joey Pyle. Other prominent figures include Jeff Marsh, a 44-year-old convicted football hooligan from Barry, south Wales. Marsh is a Cardiff supporter and has been jailed three times for violence, including a two-year sentence for stabbing two Manchester United fans. Another organiser, Chris Renton is a BNP activist from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. Renton helped set up the EDL website. When his political links to the BNP emerged, the EDL publicly distanced themselves from him but he remains an important player behind the scenes. Gash is also well known and was with the EDL in Birmingham. He also arranged the Harrow protest, although he was arrested and removed from the area before it started."
A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "There will not be an appropriately organised or licensed public procession. It is feasible that people will still turn up and that will be a policing matter." An email was sent to the council from a man calling himself "Donald" of the English Defence League.He refused to disclose details of the organisers, stewarding or the march route and was turned down.
A group of trade unionists, political parties, anti-racist organisations and faith groups called Scotland United have organised a rally to celebrate multicultural Glasgow at noon on Saturday, November14, at Glasgow Green.
I've been wondering about this over the past couple of weeks - I know that if I go then I will almost definitely get into some sort of trouble, but if I don't go then I'll feel that I've allowed this scum to prosper and not stood against them.
I'm still not sure, but we'll see closer to the time. I know there's a lot of Celtic supporters who will be there to stand firm with the Islamic community (Combat 18 have very strong connections with Northern Irish Loyalist terrorists).
Far right embraces fatwas The English Defence League claims to protest against threats and intimidation – yet one of its organisers has issued a fatwa
4 November 2009
The English Defence League (EDL) claims it is a non-racist, multicultural organisation engaged in "peaceful" protests against Muslim extremism. If that's the case could someone please explain why one of its organisers has issued a fatwa against a journalist?
On Saturday, I covered the group's protest in Leeds. After the event, a well-known EDL organiser saw fit to email a death threat to me with the title "Fatwa". The email said: "A fatwa has been issued on you my communist friend. Enjoy any money you've made from EDL protests, as if you are spotted again you will be fed up." The email was signed "Simples". But a little investigation discovered it originated from an organiser of the English and Welsh Defence League divisions.
Unfortunately this was not an isolated incident. Photographer and investigative journalist Marc Vallée also received an email containing a death threat, only days after being pictured and named by the extreme right website Redwatch – a long-running site with links to Combat 18. Redwatch was set up to identify, intimidate and target those who protest at, document or investigate far-right groups. A National Union of Journalist (NUJ) statement refers to verbal threats and intimidation aimed at photographers covering the EDL march at the weekend and other EDL protests this year.
I find it almost comically ironic that these very tactics are exactly what the EDL claims to be "peacefully protesting" against. And now one of its organisers has issued a "fatwa". I thought only Islamic extremists did that? But this behaviour should come as no surprise from a group declaring it is not racist when chants like, "If you all hate Pakis clap your hands" and "I hate Pakis more than you" are commonplace during its demonstrations.
The fact of the matter is these emails, the latest in a catalogue of racist chants, intimidation, violence and Nazi salutes, expose a darker side to the EDL. No matter how many people of varying ethnicity it pulls in on its protests, it will not disguise its roots in far-right and fascist politics or its football hooligan tactics. The trouble is some people believe the EDL propaganda. It has growing support from disillusioned young white people, as seen in Manchester, where its numbers were around 1,000.
The recent BBC reports of EDL protests paint a very different picture to what I saw on the ground, they seem to be playing down the serious public order threat the EDL represents. It was claimed the numbers at Unite Against Fascism (UAF) counter-protests exceeded the EDL numbers two-to-one. The truth is in Manchester it was the opposite, the EDL also outnumbered the police.
The BBC report on Saturday in Leeds mentioned nothing of the EDL supporters breaking out of the protest pen, police beating them back with batons and the hour-long street rampage that ensued, knocking over motorbikes, running over cars, damaging shop windows and physically assaulting members of the press.
Perhaps someone should remind the EDL that like the right to protest, press freedom underpins the free democratic society it so boldly proclaims it is in the street to protect. Intimidation, violence, fatwas and threatening emails do not.
This is the guy who made the two videos from Current.tv that are featured earlier in this thread.
Here's a couple of pics from today's anti-SDL demo in Glasgow - I'd say there was about 1500-2000 people there. We never got the chance to see the arseholes we were standing against because they were too busy being protected by the police (there was apparently about 200 of them being held on buses).
The second pic is of 'Stegski' the guy featured in a video on the Guardian website during the week in which he was filmed shouting 'The BNP is a NAZI party!' at the BNP scumdidate (click HERE to watch it). It was good to meet him.
I'd have got video, but the batteries in my camera were running low which is a shame as I'd have liked to have caught the chants such as 'Alerta! Alerta! Anti-fascista!' which is more like a football chant, but quite rousing...
sounds like a good turn out, and good to see people like nicola sturgeon and other politicians there, i don't remember any politicians from england going on any of the marches against the edl ( but i might be wrong )
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