Report from Brighton Anti-Fascists
Around forty comrades made the trip from around the country to Exeter to check out the last EDL national demo of the year (don’t worry folks, there’s still a few regionals to counter).
Perhaps ignorantly we’d considered Exeter to be a bit of a void politically speaking so we were pleasantly surprised by the size of the turn-out of the Exeter Together effort. Around a thousand locals marched into town from Belmont Park (accompanied by a slow funereal soundtrack of the kind more usually associated with a witch-burning).
Exeter Together was not organised by the UAF – in fact it seemed as if the PCS union played the leading role. The march and rally replicated all the flaws of a UAF gathering – local MPs speaking, bad poetry from the stage and a reluctance to actually confront the racists in town. It also started a good two hours before the EDL were even due to assemble which is as good a way as any to dissipate energy.
However, to be fair, this was a thousand folk who had decided not to be intimidated by the EDL and they decided to stay the course and be in town until the EDL had left. AFN played a useful role sniffing out EDL spotters on the fringes of the crowd and moving them on.
Evading the police later, AFN, together with 50 odd locals, made it to the gates of the EDLs rally point to provide the only opposition visible to the main body of the fash all day. Eventually a heavy police presence forced us down a road away from the rally site and a police cordon was set up to allow the fash to get on their coaches.
The EDL looked dispirited – barely summoning the energy to chant. Altogether there were 200 – tops. The vast majority of them left without a fuss. Given that some of them had come from as far as Mansfield and Dartford it was a piss poor effort
Small knots of EDL were half-heartedly wandering about a couple of hours later – handing AFN activists the opportunity to grab a fantastic souvenir in the shape of the Exeter division’s main banner. No surrender? Fucking jog on, more like.
Portsmouth Anti-Fascists with captured flag. Will Exeter EDL now be forced to commit suicide from dishonour?