On the 3rd June 2017 in Liverpool, Red Antifa members were once again involved in confronting the far-right. After three previous failed attempts by far-right groups to hold public events in Liverpool, we can only guess as to what possessed the English Defence League (EDL) to try their luck.
From the start it was clear that the police had the EDL well protected and the area locked down after the two big kick-offs that happened previously in Liverpool. Not being discouraged by this we decided to make the best we could of the situation and get on with what we could. Just as the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) pre-arranged kettle was forming up on the steps of Lime Street station, Red Antifa members came across Polish fascist Radosław Rekke along with a mate trying to blend in. Lots of police were around so not much could be done beyond an exchange of words. The police quickly intervened so that was the end of that.
There was a lot of waiting and trying to find viable opportunities for physical contact but to no avail. We briefly ended up in the UAF pre-arranged kettle before we left it. Waiting around on the periphery some more with nothing going on we had almost written the day off as a total failure. Lack of physical contact with far-right supporters, heavy policing and little sign of any activity beyond the pre-arranged kettle does not make for good morale.
Things suddenly changed with the arrival of a sizeable and more lively crowd, seemingly out of nowhere. We decided that looking for direct physical contact that day was a non-starter so we threw our lot in with the recent arrivals. Against the orders of the police and the conditions imposed by them that day (sections 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act), we marched around the side and then back of Lime Street station in an attempt to get to the EDL at their meeting point. Once around the back of the station we came up against lines of coppers and their vans. The police then brought out the dogs so we hot footed it around the side of an adjacent building because we did not quite fancy being savaged. We then reached the periphery of St. George’s Hall (site of the last big kick off in Liverpool) where we found that the pre-arranged kettle was no more. It had broken out and was now occupying the road and pavements, surrounding the EDL march. Numbers had swelled with disgruntled members of the public joining in to show their disapproval towards the EDL soiling their city.
The EDL had mustered barely 100 (that is being generous), which is quite bad considering what they used to pull at national mobilisations gone-by. The anti-fascist crowd however was BIG. With the EDL march brought to a standstill by the crowd, there was not much more to do beyond the customary push and shove with the police trying to clear a path for their mates in the EDL. Words were exchanged between us and the EDL, as well as horse manure and fireworks being thrown at the EDL.
The blockade lasted for what seemed like ages before the police turned the EDL around and began marching them away. To rub salt into the EDL’s wound we carried on blockading them (you know, just to be a bit cheeky). We wanted them gone so we let the march pass so they could be sent on their way. We walked alongside the EDL, made fun of them and laughed. They were getting really annoyed but then again, so would we if we had just been held in the blazing sun whilst being humiliated by our enemy.
As that was just getting underway we went and bumped into our dear friend Radosław Rekke and his mate trying to blend into the crowd once again. Exactly how he thinks that as the most well known Polish nazi in England, he will not be recognised, is way beyond us. After yet another exchange of words one of us gave Mr. Rekke a swift slap to the bonce (not before he tried to claim to be UAF) before he slid away to safety. You will not be so lucky next time Radosław, we will be seeing you again at some point we are sure.
We carried on the jeering against the EDL before they briefly broke their escort and a few punches were exchanged between them and our side (with one of our members clipping one EDL supporter on the jaw). Placards of theirs were also taken from them.
The EDL then faded into the distance like the ending of a bad B-movie.
We decided to then leave that immediate area and go for a wind down somewhere. As we were doing that we came across someone shouting at three people at a cash machine next to a Sainsbury’s. As it turned out a concerned member of the Liverpool public was having a go at three EDL members, one of whom was a steward on their demo. Just as we approached and ascertained what was going on, more people arrived. Two of the EDL ran away and another (the steward) ran into the Sainsbury’s where we tried to pursue him. Sainsbury’s security (reluctantly) had to lock the doors to prevent our entry. What ensued was a total farce on the part of the EDL steward. He hid down the chilled goods aisle whilst we were stood outside, having a laugh at his expense. He then went and hid behind the bananas (no joke) before getting on his phone, presumably to call for help from the police or whoever else. The staff were understandably not very happy with his presence and wanted rid of him quick but we were going nowhere. Then arrived a pensioner who asked one of our members what was going on, to which we explained. She then asked “can I carry on my shopping?” and we said “go for it by all means”. The staff let her in the shop where she proceeded to have a go at the EDL steward trapped inside, even attempting to hit him with her trolley. When the pensioner left the shop we gave a cheer. She then removed her coat and wanted to go back in for another go. “Red Nan”, as she is now dubbed, will forever be the hero of the day. Big salute to you Red Nan! The police then arrived, they took the EDL steward out by another exit and we decided to call it a day.
Whilst this day was a success in the physical sense, it is by no means a complete victory because there is much more work to be done politically. Physical successes need to be matched with political work because without that such successes become isolated and in the end, fruitless. Having said that, well done to all involved. Keep up the good work and see you all next time (if the right are stupid enough to attempt a Round 5)!
Star(s) of the Day: Red Nan
(we finally got this report back done)