By South London Anti-Fascists / @SouthLondonAF
South London Anti-Fascists joined London Antifascists and other groups this weekend to take part in a mobilisation against the EDL in Tower Hamlets. As many of you reading this will know, there were upward of 280 arrests of anti-fascists on the day – many of whom are close friends and comrades.
So our thanks today go out not to the various “leaders” of this-or-that faction, but the the hundreds of anti-fascists (from many different groups and none) who took to the streets intent on refusing to allow racists to march through London. We were heartened to see so many willing to take on the EDL beyond a static show of opposition, and cheered by the number of local community members and young people who joined us.
Our special thanks go to those members of SLAF, AFN, London ABC, GBC Legal and Migrant Solidarity groups who organised to support arrestees as they were taken to police stations and charging centres in the furthest-flung reaches of London, late into the night and the next morning, for many after an exhausting day on the demonstration itself. This work is absolutely vital, as anyone who has been kettled, arrested and detained for hours will understand. The people working in the GBC back office deserve special mention, having worked tirelessly through the weekend.
It is particularly deplorable that the police arrested five independent legal observers during the mobilisation, and we offer solidarity to them, and all at LDMG. We urge you to read their statement, and share it online.
We are not so eager to claim, as others do, that this weekend was an untarnished ‘victory’. Through the mobilisation, we ensured that the EDL met visible and audible disruption to their march, and curtailed their route through Mansell Street. The huge police presence and impossibility of direct confrontation, however, meant that the racists were able to cross Tower Bridge largely unconfronted. We will be reflecting on what went well, and what could have gone better, in the coming weeks. Nonetheless, there is plenty to be proud of from this weekend, both in the strength of the mobilisation and the work done supporting it.
The mass arrest of antifascists, after a containment of several hours, underlines very clearly that police are willing to arbitrarily restrict and punish any attempt to take action beyond symbolic protest, and will use any pretext, however flimsy, to do so. We hope this makes clear that co-operation with the police, other than providing cover for daily racist and violent policing, threatens anti-fascist work.
We will be working to support our arrested comrades, as well as continuing our organising in the coming weeks: not only for street opposition to fascism, but working to dismantle and providing strategies of resistance against racist policing and state violence. If you’d like to be involved, email hello [at] slaf [dot] org [dot] uk
NB: if you were arrested at the weekend, and Green and Black Cross don’t yet have your details, drop them a message on email@example.com
Originally posted at South London Anti-Fascists
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