March 4th Bristol action report

On Saturday 4th March we saw another fantastic example of grass roots community anti fascism when the Hitler loving Pie and Mash squad and various assorted racists and fascists from around the UK as well the South West Imbeciles descended on Bristol to “pay tribute” to local scumbag and football hooligan Kevin “Bunny” Crehan who died in prison in late 2016.

We’re no fans of the prison system but we were well aware of the fascist agenda behind the demonstration outside Bristol Crown Court and had no intention of letting a bunch of sieg heilers mobilize unopposed.

We felt that the fascists represented a threat to our Muslim communities in particular and the situation called for a strong Anti-fascist presence in the city. We met up with comrades and other groups such as the IWW as well good people who wanted to take a stand. Our call out had created a positive response and pretty soon we had mobilized well over a hundred people.

From an early stage in the day we noticed a heavy police presence, not unsurprising but we always find it hard to understand why the state is so determined to protect the rights of Neo Nazis and allow them to demonstrate and spread their poison when their only agenda is hate, division and violence.

We set off as a large group into the centre of Bristol to confront the Nazis and shut down their demonstration. As soon as we were close to Small Street and the crown court, we encountered a wall of cops as well as horses. Despite the police protecting the fascists as usual we made our voices heard and were pleased to see members of the public taking an interest in what was happening.

One entrance to the courts may have been locked down but we were pretty sure we could find a way around the cops and their horses. A large group of us headed round to the rear entrance of Small street letting Bristol know what we were here to oppose, and were quickly joined by the rest of our group.

The police had blocked off the second entrance to the street, but undeterred we headed to march down the main road to Small street moving quickly to try and stay one step ahead of the cops!

The resilience and determination of everyone involved on the day was second to none, from the anti fascist crews present to the general public it was inspiring to see no one prepared to give up at any point.

This really became apparent when we were again confronted by the police who became increasingly aggressive and mob handed in their approach attacking us with CS gas and using unnecessary amounts of force! Some of us even saw batons being drawn by cops on horses…

Determined not to be pushed back, we tried to force our way through the police lines towards the fascists demo and resisted the attempts by the cops to break our line with their riot foot soldiers. We’d overheard one cop say that he didn’t like protecting the Nazis. If that’s the case then maybe he should change his job and stop working for a system that does!

We finally decided to head back to the other side of the street and found ourselves for the first time getting close as we could to the fash. A riot van still blocked the entrance and we caught sight of the Nazis for the first time enjoying the protection of the police flying their flags and spouting their poison. It was frustrating for all of us but we were still determined not to give up.

At one point we had a brief verbal exchange with some of the fash, masked up and over confident and issuing threats from behind police lines. This isn’t something that’s new to us and it was clear the death of local wrongun ‘Bunny’ Crehan was just an excuse to spread their hate.

After their main demo had finished they decided to skulk off under protection of the cops. By this point the general public who weren’t with us had learnt of who they were and were just as angry as ourselves that Nazis had mobilized in our city.

We heard they were being escorted over a bridge near the city centre towards the train station (we’d learnt that groups from outside Bristol had headed down for the day) and decided to try and ‘head them off at the pass’

The cops by this point had decided to start deploying dogs as well as everything else they had thrown at us over the course of the day. From the looks on the handlers faces it was clear to us they were enjoying every minute of their brutality in defence of the far right! Some of us were attacked and bitten but despite the assault we still wouldn’t give up!

Things began to wind down after the Nazis headed off followed by a stream of abuse from the general public and were unsurprisingly quiet… when we regrouped after the events of the day it was refreshing to see that Bristol appeared to be fash free, proof that that only time fascists mobilize is when the state offers them their full protection.

From our point of view we wanted to shut down the demonstration all together.The concept of no platform is not to stamp on freedom of speech as some believe. It’s about not letting fascists organise and spread their message.

It’s really about making it clear that hate and intolerance and dangerous ideologies have no place in our society. It’s about community resistance to the far right and all they stand for. History has shown us what happens when we do nothing.

After the events of that weekend we feel there is a stronger than ever case for militant anti-fascism and now more than ever we need to keep up the fight. We’d like to thank everyone who joined us. You did us all proud. Bristol as always is Anti Fascist.

EXIT RACISM STAGE RIGHT!

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There have been widespread reports of increased xenophobic attitudes, abuse and hate crimes in the aftermath of the European Referendum results. The racism and xenophobia that runs through our society have been thrust out into the open. The apparent post referendum increase in racist attacks and more open expression of anti immigrant sentiments has been a long time coming.
Anti-migrant rhetoric has dominated newspaper headlines for years and is fuelled by politicians and the racist border policies of fortress Europe. There are so many disillusioned, angry people, impoverished and left for dead by mainstream politics, who seem ready to point their anger in the wrong direction.
The divisive referendum was a gift to far right extremists and a big confidence boost to racist bigots and fascists everywhere. It was also never a choice of our making, but one between one set of bosses or another.

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The problem is not the result of the referendum but the underlying everyday racism and xenophobia that it has encouraged and made so visible. If the vote had gone the other way we would have seen the same upsurge in racist attacks and violence. The only difference would be less triumphant and more angry, vengeful perpetrators of such attacks.
It’s going to take more than wearing safety pins or similar gesture politics to effectively defeat racism and fascism.
Antifascists have been fighting these racist, anti working class ideologies for many years. We believe solutions lie not in parliamentary politics but in our own streets and communities.

OUR SOLIDARITY KNOWS NO BORDERS

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Immigrants have always been blamed for the problems created by politicians and the rich. Sadly, many people accept the endless misinformation and lies, allowing themselves to be duped, manipulated and divided. Immigrants are easy targets and scapegoats for misdirected anger. Here’s a few answers to some common myths used to attack them:

“Immigration is out of control”
The U.K. Border regime is one of the toughest in the world. Over recent years border controls have been been massively increased and racist immigration and asylum policies have meant misery for thousands of people. It’s no surprise that In reality, the vast majority of refugees and asylum seekers head for countries other than the UK and poorer countries nearer their countries of origin. Media hysteria about being “invaded” bears no relation to the reality of our closed borders. But ever tighter border controls and stricter policies do not stop people trying to find a better life. More secure borders result in people taking more dangerous and life threatening ways to attempt to cross them, and many people are killed by trains, lorries or drowning.

A terrified child clings to a rock on the shore as a group of Syrian refugees arrive on the island after travelling by inflatable raft from Turkey. The Eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey to Greece has overtaken the central Mediterranean route, from North Africa to Italy, as the primary one for arrivals by sea. From January to June this year, 68,000 people arrived in Greece, compared with 67,500 in Italy, accounting for nearly all the arrivals in the period.

 
“They take our jobs and benefits!”
It has repeatedly been shown that migrants’ contributions to the UK far outweigh benefits claimed.  Asylum seekers are not allowed to work and immigrants ultimately end up in low paid jobs instead of claiming benefits. They are the worst exploited of our class. It is not migrants that are slashing public services and mounting attacks on worker’s pay and conditions but the government and bosses waging a relentless class war on us all.

“They take our houses!”
Migrants are not responsible for a chronic shortage in social housing, massive rent increases and gentrification. Our housing problems have a lot more to do with a market driven, not by tenant’s needs, but by the needs of property developers and greedy landlords. Migrants and refugees are more likely to end up in overcrowded and intolerable living conditions or homelessness than most of us.

“The U.K. is seen as a “soft touch” and a destination of choice for immigrants”
Thousands of the migrants arriving in the EU are refugees fleeing war and persecution. They have had to leave their homes, their families and everything they have known. Many have suffered unimaginable horrors and atrocities. We cannot blame people for trying to find safety and a better life. Yet when they arrive they are treated as criminals and less than human. The reality of life in UK for refugees and immigrants is anything but an easy option.

Concept of security. Silhouette of refugee men and metal fence with barbed wire on the background of night sky

“WELCOME MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES!

RACISTS AND FASCISTS IN THE SEA!”

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Fascism goes south in Southampton

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Another brilliant and strong example of grassroots community antifascism was on show in Southampton yesterday. It was met by a total no show by the neo nazis and racists who had planned to march in the town. The so called Pie and Mash squad, recently renamed Cry and Dash by militant antifascists who have met them, must have had a quick look at the hundreds of antifascists occupying their intended rally point and thought better of it. We got reports from spotters that they were lurking in a pub but had strangely disappeared by the time a large group of antifascists arrived to have a word about their misguided politics. We’ve noticed these fascists always have good running shoes. When word got out that they were at the train station police lines could not stop a mob determined to get there to see them off. They must have been right on their toes and only just managed to escape with help from the police who put them on a train home for their own safety. 5 words: “Get on the train, quick!” So while the fascist losers (all 16 of them!) were having their customary and laughable “victory” photo on the getaway train, we celebrated with several hundred antifascists on the real victory march through town to the Guildhall. The mix of people and sense of solidarity was an impressive reminder of our strength and shared contempt for right wing politics in the face of the fallout from Brexit. We heard a lot of people asking how they could get involved with the local group and we’re sure this will be a big boost to antifascist organising in the town. Winning grows confidence, which grows movements! We were very proud to help keep the streets of Southampton tidy and to stand alongside such a top bunch of comrades. Respect and solidarity to all Southampton antifascists!

Another fascist flop in Bristol

£100,000. 18 fascists. 6 police forces. 1 ring of steel. 1 arrest.

The only thing more embarrassing today than the pitiful fascist turnout, was the pathetic smash happy cops. Happy to force a march through of the dregs of the EDL, the die-hard zeig-heilers that are left behind couldn’t even agree on a chant in their little picnic of rollies and booze on College Green. A strong turnout for the Refugees Welcome rally, anti-fascists but more hilariously the Naked Bike ride highlighted the lack of willing ants of the Bristol United Patriots, or was it the Bristol Defence League, or the South West Infidels. It’s hard to keep up with such a piss poor shit show.

photo credit: @louisjemanuel

Meanwhile a ‘Refugees Welcome’ rally and Bristol Antifascists rally and mobilisation attracted hundreds between them, with a strong determination and continuous effort to block the fascists, who only succeeded in their short walk thanks to the sheer numbers of police protecting them.

Full report soon. In the meantime, point and laugh…

photo credit @bristolAFed

Video showing the extent of the rally and how it sounded here- https://twitter.com/Michael_Yong/status/739189118299721728

Dover – Solidarity and Kettled Nazis

from https://antifascistnetwork.org/2016/04/02/dover-solidarity-and-kettled-nazis/

Today, anti-fascists from across the country stood in solidarity with locals from around Dover to oppose neo-nazis and assorted far-right rejects who decended on the town, once more openly flying fascist flags and seig heiling.

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The AFN had organised coaches from across the country, with groups traveling from Brighton, Berkshire, Oxford, Bristol, Portsmouth and London amongst others. London2Calais also organised transport, as did the UAF. We were met in Dover by a large contingent of locals organised by the Kent Anti-Racism Network.

All in all, around 350 antifascists gathered around a KARN aid convoy to Calais, which, after being filled with donations from locals, was to be sent to the port.

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Several vehicles had been provided, and the plan was for them to be escorted into the port, right under the noses of the fascists. Whilst the far-right bimble around burning EU flags and throwing bacon at mosques, we offer practical solidarity with those fleeing both ISIS and the Western bombing.

After some short speeches, nearly 400 antifascists moved off towards the port, the aid convoy in our midst. Despite the enormous police presence, we stuck together and made it down to the seafront, where the convoy was cheered onto a Calais-bound ferry. The nationalists were powerless to stop us, after all their online bluster about “smashing the reds” and “doing antifa”. Only around 100 to 120 of them actually bothered to come, and they were clearly not interested in making good on their online threats.

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After the convoy was seen off, antifascists quickly moved to block the road and stop the fascists marching. The far-right march route was blocked, and the fascists ended up being stuck in an immobile kettle for nearly two hours, bored out of their skulls waiting for the police to move us out of their way.

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Eventually, inevitably, the police moved in. Kent’s finest seemed determined to facilitate open neo-nazis marching through Dover, despite local opposition. They kettled us and aggressively arrested several antifascists, eventually forcing us back onto one side of the road so they could move the fascists through.

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Then the fascists were finaly marched into view, and what a sorry lot they were. Barely half the numbers of last time, marching slowing in silence, surrounded by a mobile kettle of police for their own protection. They couldn’t even muster a good chant as they went past us, most prefering to keep their heads down and stay silent. Even those few who did make any noise confined themselves to shouting “come on then!” at antifascists from behind 4 lines of police, horses and vans. How brave, lads. They marched past us (with a couple of lacklustre seig-heils), held a few speeches at the docks (in which cypriot immigrant Paul Prodromou burned an EU flag and shouted about “imigants” for a while) then marched back past us (again in silence) and were escorted under extremely heavy manners back to the station and promtly sent packing.

All in all, not exactly a good day for Paul and his fascist mates. They had very low numbers, and it took the combined protection of about 5 different police forces for them to march 500m through town, and even then we held them up for nearly 2 hours! All this plus the fact that we proudly marched an aid convoy to Calais through the centre of town right under their noses, and they couldn’t do jack about it.

We’ll leave you with this utterly hilarous photo of some of the neo-nazis who were in town today. Is it just us or does this remind anyone of kiddies dressing up as power rangers?

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Nazis target anti-racism meeting in Bristol – and FAIL

Over the last couple of days we’ve seen reports of how antifascists successfully repelled a small group of far right thugs (which was the South West Infidels according to their own page) from gatecrashing an anti-racist event. Obviously it had to take them a while to write up another bullshit tale of how they were somehow victorious ignoring the fact that the good folk of The Bristol Cable have a far more detailed report of what actually happened.

Despite South West Infidels’ delusional report and chest beating imaginings (one too many knocks to the head perhaps?), they were absolutely, decisively dealt with and seen off. Not a good night for fascist attempts to take the streets of St. Paul’s and intimidate anti racists. Further evidence of the fascists’ need for good running shoes was had as they were forced to flee in the face of a very concerted defence of the meeting. What a top show…

antifascists disposing of a confiscated Nazi flag

as reported in the Bristol Cable

A fight kicked off last night outside City Road Baptist Church in Stokes Croft where a Stand Up to Racism meeting was taking place. The clashes began as a group of between 7-10 men began to unfurl flags including the St George’s Cross and the fascist cross, the latter widely used by neo-Nazi groups and violence prone fascist organisations. Within seconds they were on the back foot as anti-fascist activists appeared to confront them and defend the meeting. A series of quick clashes ensued, with the fascists clearly coming worse off and rapidly retreating down Stokes Croft, with some clearly showing signs of injury. Anti-fascist activists continued to keep watch outside the church until the meeting was over 2 hours later.

It is unknown what organisation, if any, was behind the attempted disruption of the anti-racism meeting. However groups such as the South West Infidels and the New British Union of Fascists are known to have activity in Bristol. The fascist action in a known multi-cultural and anti-fascist area may suggest an escalation in tactics by the extreme right in Bristol.

The Stand Up to Racism meeting, attended by around 100 people, continued with several speakers. They were mayoral candidates Marvin Rees (Labour Party) and Tony Dyer (Green Party) as well as Joanne Kaye, South West Regional Secretary for Unison. A representative from the Jamia Mosque in Totterdown, which was subject to a racist action in January, was also present.

Bristol Antifascists join Kurdish Solidarity March in London

Great day out in London today, it was fantastic to be a part of the Stop War on Kurds Demo to highlight the brutal attack on Kurdistan by Erdoğan and his Turkish state thugs. A great chance for the Anti-Fascist Network to show their support for the Rojava Revolution. Many thanks to the organisers who helped made this rally possible!

Down with ISIS. Long Live Kurdistan!

 

ANTI-REFUGEE SCUM SEEK REFUGE ON THE STEPS ON ST GEORGE’S HALL

What a fantastic day! Not, of course, for the fascists who had a day they will never forget! What happened on Saturday on the streets of Liverpool will go down as one of the great moments of antifascist history. The goose-steppers cannot, if they have any self-respect, claim this as a victory, although knowing their pathological bullshitting ways, they may yet be able to convince themselves otherwise.

The NORTH WEST INFIDELS along with NATIONAL ACTION and some confused Polish nationalist ultras decided to hold a measly “proud to be white and racist” demo up in the North – only they appear to have chosen the wrong city. In a pathetic attempt to catch antifascists and locals off guard Shane ‘diddyman the grass’ Calvert declared that his band of white supremacist fuckheads would host a demo in Manchester, while in reality they headed for Liverpool to attempt to spread their white supremacist filth.

We can’t know for sure what was going through their minds before deciding to host this demo in such a place as Liverpool, but when they chose to host a neo-Nazi demo in a city that has, over it’s history, suffered the worst bombing outside of London by Hitler’s Luftwaffe in the blitz, has destroyed The Sun newspaper’s trade within its own city limits, has celebrated a proud left-wing history, kicked out National Action last August, and is a community built from people of so many backgrounds, did they really think that they would be able to take to the streets of Liverpool without any resistance?

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Numbers on their side were, according to reports on the day, at a miserable count of fifty, possibly because most fascists who did not attend decided better than to dig their own graves in Liverpool. BRISTOL ANTIFASCISTS along with other groups affiliated with the ANTIFASCIST NETWORK went to support MERSEYSIDE ANTIFASCIST NETWORK’S counter-mobilisation at Lime street station. The day started off well and by the end of it all there was no doubting how successfully events had turned out for those who came out to oppose the fascists on the steps of St George’s Hall. Almost immediately after the NWI planned demo had started, Merseyside AFN along with support from other locals had already surrounded The Crown public house, who were unfortunate hosts for the Nazi scumbags. True to their words, the fash decided to use their method of attack of attempting to walk amongst the antifascists. Almost as soon as they infiltrated the group two boneheads were forced to flee following a physical reminder that they were in the wrong group. Then the hooligans from Poland arrived, kitted up in their new anti-antifa merchandise in an attempt to show off the latest in their fascist fashion craze, the critics were merciless in their response as three of the hooligans had to be rescued by the police after being surrounded by clearly pissed off antifascists and a fourth attempted to run away only to find out that he had run in a circle back to the same group of pissed off folks he was running from!

Eventually the police began their attempts to move the scum out of the pub and back onto the streets, while meeting heavy resistance from antifascists easily blocking their advance. As this was happening, a number of fascists from a separate group were spotted on the steps of St George’s Hall and were almost immediately surrounded by antifascists and numerous locals; the police at this moment moved in to protect the far-right and try to prevent the public from confronting the Nazi thugs. The police, realising that they could not possibly help the group from the pub join with their fellow Nazis now trapped on the steps, had no other option but to escort the pitiful group to the Lime Street Station ready to to be sent away for their own safety. They managed to march a few hundred yards only to be sent back home. By this point, word had got around Liverpool of the far-right presence in the city and many more locals turned up to confront the Nazis on the streets. The diversity of the antifascist resistance was impressive, from kids to old age pensioners. Along with them arrived plenty of eggs to remind the Nazis of their previous defeat in Liverpool last August. Volley after volley of eggs, flour, bottles, and bricks turned the fascists from being all smug that they had “taken” the steps of St George’s Hall to being defeated and humiliated after receiving a battering of groceries and masonry.

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The police, as the situation developed, were desperate to protect the fascists from the ever growing mob of Liverpudlians, who by the end of the day reached as many as one-thousand in strength, along with many more onlookers from across the street. Agitated by the overwhelming constant barrage of missiles from the locals, the far-right made four attempts to try to break out of their cordon to confront the mob that had now completely surrounded them, but the space around them only got smaller and smaller each time – by the end, they were quite literally in a corner, appropriately covered in filth and with an undeniable feeling of deja vu! In one attempt to break out they came close, but Liverpudlians from across the city and from many backgrounds raced up the stairs towards the police line to face them off and make sure that any Nazi who escaped the cordon would not come out of it unharmed.

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Later on in the afternoon, after getting some much needed back-up, the police tried to move the far-right thugs off to the station, but they were not going to withdraw so easily. Even as they left, hundreds of people surrounded the group and continued to humiliate them as they were being escorted away by police; it was much like a pillory for the Nazis, all they could do was walk and carry their injured in shame as they were mercilessly pelted by missiles and eggs. Eventually they made it to the station under heavy police protection and were transported away from Lime Street station, hopefully never to return.

It was an outstanding victory today for the antifascist movement, and the credit truly goes to the good people of Liverpool who have shown – by means of direct action and solidarity amongst their community – how to defend their city against the threat of fascism and its violently racist agenda. Other groups from the wider AFN were also in the thick of it to support Merseyside AFN and the community, but we are sure that in our absence the people of Liverpool could easily have confronted these boneheads without trouble and still sent them packing. It would be an even greater achievement to see this impressive example of community response to the far-right echoed in whichever city, town or village they dare to show their faces at again. In fact, the next best opportunity for this will be here in Bristol when the SOUTH WEST INFIDELS and NEW BRITISH UNION will be hosting their next neo nazi debacle on the 12th March. See you on the Streets!

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