EDL humiliated in Bradford: A Report back

Today the English Defence League brought their hate tour to our city. We had had only three weeks to plan a response to them but we organised public meetings, handed out thousands of leaflets, put on legal training, did banner making and hosted a benefit gig before formulating a plan and executing it on the streets.

The EDL had been talking up their trip to Bradford, they had called a truce with their splitter groups and united for the BIG ONE as they were calling it. They had been predicting bringing 400, we thought the worse case scenario would probably be about 200 of them but in the end only about 30 of them braved the Yorkshire rain and their demo was a pathetic affair.

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One of the decisive parts of any action can be the intelligence you can gain on your opponent and we had plenty on them. The EDL are not the brightest political sparks and they were all over the internet in various forums and chat rooms discussing what they intended to do. The fascists of this country are obsessed with the riots of 2001 in this city, it is their text book plan to cause “race riots” since the NF implemented it. They were sending in people the day before the demo, sending in people by car separate from the demo on the day and they were planning on attacking locals in muslim areas close to the city centre, they also planned to do this in the city centre as well.

We had the fact they were coming in the day before confirmed when several twitter followers informed us EDL members were on a train coming into Bradford, they were discussing what they were planning to do, discussing it ON A PUBLIC TRAIN. Idiots. So we knew they were going to be on the streets away from their demo and we planned accordingly. We are not going to make the mistake of discussing our own tactics here but rest assured the city was patrolled at all times and on three separate occasions the EDL did pop up well away from their demo, we responded quickly and every time THEY RAN AWAY. They came looking for a fight but when they were challenged they ran away.

Opposite the EDL demo locals and Anti-Fascists gathered early on, trying to get closer to the EDL. The police quickly showed which side they were on and they used overwhelming numbers to kettle those opposing the EDL. The police were everywhere around the demo but no where to be seen where the EDL were popping up in town. We cant trust the police to protect us, they are incompetent and have never once managed to contain them effectively. We were needed on the streets and as Bradfordians we responded as necessary.

All in all the day was a huge success for anti fascists, it was a humiliation for the EDL. They never once were allowed to operate in the city centre and there was hardly any of them on their demo, they were quiet and drowned out completely. The EDL wont go away and if they do more fascist groups will appear but today they were sent packing with their tails between their legs. Today was a victory for Bradford.

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Today we host a Festival against Fascism in Bradford

In the lead up to English Defence League‘s planned hate tour of Bradford on the 14th of November we at Bradford Anti Fascist Network have been hard at work in the city, going out to meet locals, handing out leaflets and today we will be hosting an all day event at the 1 in 12 Club in town. Through the day there will be many activities going on:

The Green and Black Cross will be holding training sessions on how to be a legal observer. They will be teaching the law and how it applies to protests, they will teach you how to deal with the police and how to help keep people safe on the day. This is vital work. We encourage everyone to try and attend. There will be certain police powers in force on the day and its important you know how this affects you at the protest. Legal Observers are an important part of what we will be doing on the day when the EDL come to town.

What would a counter protest be without banners and flags and placards? It would be dull. We at the Anti Fascist Network want to represent our vibrant city on the streets in a colourful way that says “Fascist aren’t welcome” and so we will be holding banner making workshops today. These can be really fun, and a bit messy but we have the materials. all you have to bring are the slogans, the anger and the humour.

Its been a couple of years since the last time the EDL came seeking their race war in our city but each time they have come here they have been resisted. Last time a documentary was made about the experience called WHEN THE EDL CAME TO BRADFORD, we will showing this film and hosting a discussion on its themes afterwards.

And then there will be live music and spoken word in our bar area, where we will be serving drinks at cheap club prices.

Come along, theres lots to do and there will be plenty of new people to meet. Only one week to go til they come, lets make sure we are ready again this time. No Pasaran!

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Leafleting campaign gets wholly positive response from Bradford locals.

Ever since we discovered the English Defence League planned to target our city on the 14th of November Screen shot 2015-11-02 at 04.37.54

Bradford Anti Fascist Network have been busy rallying the response in the city and beyond. We have hosted public meetings and this Saturday we ventured out into the cold Yorkshire air to hand out our leaflets and meet local people to discuss our response to the EDL. Below is what we handed out:

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Holding public meetings and going out into town to talk to locals is something the EDL would never do, they hide away online and creep into other cities to try stir up trouble. We handed out around 700 leaflets and got an overwhelmingly positive response from the people we met on the streets. Mosts were shocked or disgusted the EDL wanted to cause trouble in our city.

We remember the riots all too well in this city and the thought of fascists coming here to get a repeat performance appalled people. We got the contact details of people who want to get directly involved on the day and beyond and we will be in touch soon. If you missed us on the streets we’ll be back out again through the week, or why not come to our fundraiser on Saturday the 7th of November and meet everyone involved.

Bradford is no place for fascists, lets make them regret targeting our city.

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Where we stand.

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At the latest Anti-Fascist Network public meeting it was agreed we would take our message out on to the streets and hand out some leaflets to the public, laying out our position on the EDL hate tour targeting our city. We will be out in town every Saturday, this is an excellent opportunity for you to ask us questions you may have and find out what we are asking our fellow citizens to do in the face of such a racist threat.

Lets be clear here the EDL have one intention and thats to start a “race war” in this city, they hold up the riots of 2001 as a template for how to get a violent reaction, from the cops, from locals. Like every other time we can only stop them if we stand together and oppose them. We can not look to others to protect us. Its up to us.

Come to town on the 14th of November and add your voice to ours. Below is what we will be handing out, please have a read and if you are out in town and see us, come say hello. Together we can make beat them.

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If only everything was free

As always happens when a community comes together to fight against a present threat the issue of money comes up. “How are we going to pay for whats needed?” Printing costs add up. And so we are compelled to reach out and ask you, our supporters, for some /spits cash. it’s shit. We know. But, don’t worry, we’re gonna give you something in return, a full day of anti-fascist activities.

We will be banner making, we will be training legal observers for the day, we will be providing a film and a debate on our responses to the rise of fascist groups and we will be putting on a gig of local and international artists. All this will be happening at the 1in12 club on the 7th of November. And its only two quid.

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So we ask you to click “attending” here and come along on the day, meet some new people and join with us in opposing the EDL and their vile racism in Bradford. This city deserves better that to have to tolerate these violent racist thugs on our streets. Together we can make a difference. No Pasaran.

Time to hit the streets.

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Like many in the city we were surprised the EDL would want to come back to Old Bradford after such a humiliating defeat last time, coming as it did right after they lost their leader in Tommy Robinson. But we haven’t been slow to respond and two public meetings have been held in the city called by us at the Anti-Fascist Network and each has been well attended, lively events. A plan of action has been formulated and we have been busy building up contacts with activists further a field, we have had many pledges of support and people from all over the country are coming to help us challenge the EDL and make them think twice before trying to import their particular brand of hate into our city. Our Twitter has been lively with many individuals and groups reaching out to us through direct messages and by retweeting us to their followers and we now have a Facebook page set up  with nearly 200 likes. We are planning a festival of anti fascism on the 7th at the 1 in 12 club with banner making, legal observer training, a movie about the EDL and a gig, with acts to be confirmed. Watch this space.

Its great that so many people around the country feel strongly about defending Bradford from the fascists and are wanting to travel to stand side by side with us, the riots of 2001 loom large in the memory of course but we in the city must as a community come together to show a united defiance to the EDLs bigotry and paranoid delusions of persecution. Last time we showed a great response to them and we must do the same again on the 14th of November. In that spirit we will be out in the city centre handing out leaflets on Saturday afternoons and available to talk about any aspect of our response to them. We encourage you to come talk to us, lets get together and defend this fine city from those who would seek to divide us.

No Pasaran

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EDL’s Bradford hate tour an overwhelming success for anti-fascists, a humiliation for the EDL.

For all their bluster about Bradford being the BIG ONE less than 250 English Defence League braved the Yorkshire rain to try start their race war in the city. They didn’t stand a chance, the Police were out in force but so were the people of Bradford. Around a 150 went into the official demonstration area run by the UAF and were kettled there far away from the EDL but a similar number of Antifascist activists along with perhaps 300 other locals went into the streets to face the EDL and voice their anger at their city being invaded by these bigoted, racist, nut jobs. The EDL were drowned out as Anti-fascists and locals mocked their chants and raised their voices with their own. The streets of Bradford truly belonged to the Bradfordians and there was a festival feeling as even the cops couldn’t help but smile at the  humour of the diverse crowd reworking football chants and singing anti-fascist songs together. Bradford Anti-fascist Network was at the fore of the protest and our members were cheered by other locals as we shouted down the vile EDL. We handed out 200 leaflets on the day calling for the anti-fascist mood to be carried over into other actions, which was positively received.

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After only one hour of speeches the EDL after fighting against one another yet again were corralled back into their coaches and shipped out of the city, their tails between their legs. Afterwards some of them tried to hang around the interchange but they were met with militant opposition by anti-fascists and they quickly ran away with burst lips and swollen jaws. This was an overwhelming victory for anti-fascism in the city and the EDL unheard and driven away by locals were humiliated in their attempt to rule our streets, but this is not the end of the story, it is in fact just the beginning. We must build anti-fascism in the area and offer mutual aid to other cities facing similar far right groups. Join us and get involved in keeping groups like the EDL in the gutter where they belong.