The night before the demo, the Bucks Herald announced that there had been no trouble in Aylesbury related to the EDL, despite the rumours circulating around the town ( http://www.bucksherald.co.uk/news/Police-39No-trouble-ahead-of.6265949.jp ). These kinds of rumours are typical of the tactics of the so-called "Unite Against Fascists" (UAF), who stir up fear and hatred . The same vicious lies were spread around Bolton and Dudley before the EDL demos there. These rumour-mongers want to scare local residents, and they want to provoke violence and disorder (their leader Weymann Bennett was arrested earlier this year on "suspicion of conspiracy to organise violent disorder" - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/8578558.stm ). What the UAF fail to realise, is that this tactic cannot be re-used. And the EDL will just come back. The next time the EDL visits a town, the local people will know that they were lied to before.
Even though the local councils and police forces should know better, they talk up these rumours, and put entire town centres into lock-down. One has to wonder: are they so easily fooled by the UAF rumour-mill, or are they actually willing accomplices?
After we'd wandered round for a while looking for a place to have a latte and a panini, we realised there was nothing open except Morrison's supermarket. I guess Morrison's management must have known there was no need to fear a demo by loyal British patriots (it often seems like the supermarkets in Britain know more about the true behaviour of the British people). It was nice to see there were a few elderly people wandering round Morrison's doing their shopping - they were not deterred by the town being under the council's locked-down hysteria. After we'd got some food and drink, about 20 EDL (many with EDL hoodies) were stood outside Morrison's laughing and joking about where to go to meet up with the rest of the demo. There was a black man working as a security guard who obviously overheard us, and came up and helped us with directions. It's not like we were scaring away customers - there were no more than 20 cars in the car park (most of them were probably staff). The media might want to demonise us, but it isn't working - that chap knew the difference between racists and patriots. In the near-empty car park one of the locals offered us his support, and told us they'd see us later at the demo.
When we got to the meeting point, it was all a very jolly affair. We met up with the women behind the Yellow Ribbon campaign ( http://www.yellowribbon.org.uk/ ), and EDL folk were distributing yellow ribbons to everyone. A collection for the Yellow Ribbon Foundation had to be done on the buses earlier, as Aylesbury Council would not allow us to collect on the street, showing they do not support our soldiers, nor the wives and kids of our soldiers. I hope the people of Aylesbury also bear this in mind when they go to vote this week.
Whilst we gathered, we could see there were not just white working-class men there, but plenty of women, some goths, some hippy types, some black people, and also the gay and lesbian group (some of whom were once again wearing brightly-coloured, sequined, cowboy hats). Official estimates are that there were 800 people on the EDL demo.
Across the street from the meeting point was a pub that had decided to open (against council instructions), and it was doing a roaring trade. Eventually the demo moved off and we sang our way into the town centre. We marched back into the centre, where everyone could then see that the council had boarded up all the statues, and many of the shops. Once we were in the main square people climbed up on to the boxed-in statues and flew their flags from there. In a way the council actually made things easier for us, by providing these convenient and very high platforms. You can even see the flag of the EDL lesbian and gay group being held aloft on one of these makeshift platforms.
There was a waist-height cage around the demonstration area. I quite appreciate having something like that - it gives me something to lean on whilst I stand there and enjoy the fun. Just like on the demo, there was a great party atmosphere. We celebrated being English, we expressed our opposition to militant Islam and we made new friends. Of course, that's not what the media concentrate on in their attempt to mislead the public about the threat from militant Islam.
The police did not permit us to have a PA system. But after the speeches we had a 2 minute silence to remember the dead.
The day was a great success, and without the UAF around to cause trouble we could just concentrate on celebrating our diverse and tolerant nation, and opposing the rise in militant Islam.
Since any arrests are all that the media concentrate on, I'll have to deal with that, even though it took up less than 1% of the time I was there, and no-one (as far as I can tell) was hurt and no property was damaged.
One man was ejected from the demo by EDL stewards. I don't know what he did, but of course the vultures from the press ran after the police in the hope that they would get some juicy, sensationalist footage. A local Aylesbury man (who had come into the town centre to see what the EDL were about) commented to me on the behaviour of the press. It's good to see that the ordinary people in Britian are not so easily fooled by the sensationalism of our news media. Other local people have commented that they were disgusted by the Police stopping them from going into the town centre to talk to the EDL and find out what they were about.
It was great to see the Bucks Herald headline read "EDL leave Aylesbury after peaceful day of protests" ( http://www.bucksherald.co.uk/news/EDL-leave-Aylesbury-after-peaceful.6265965.jp ). It looks like EDL has to win over support town by town. The report says that of the 12 who were arrested, the majority were arrested on suspicions that later turned out to be unfounded. One peron was fined, another was cautioned, and 2 people were bailed. So, basically 2 people admitted guilt for something that was too trivial to take to a magistrates' court; 2 more might go to court, and if they do, they might be found not guilty. That seems pretty minimal for having 1000 people on a demo. And we don't know if any of those people were even EDL supporters. Meanwhile, on the same day that the EDL came to Aylesbury, two boys were arrested at a private school elsewhere in Bucks for using knives to attack a third pupil at the £27,000-a-year school (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/beds/bucks/herts/8657028.stm ). Looks like public schoolboys are more of a danger than peaceful patriots.
Even after EDL left Aylesbury, the UAF rumour-mill was churning out more lies - this time a lie about an attack on a community centre ( http://www.bucksherald.co.uk/news/EDL-LATEST-505pm--Rumours.6265959.jp ). This seems to testify to increasing desperation of the UAF. They held a counter-demonstration outside Aylesbury, which reportedly had around 200 attendees. The UAF has always made a big song-and-dance about numbers, seeming to think that sheer numbers somehow count more than principle and reason. Yet every EDL demonstration where the UAF have set up a counter-protest they have been out-numbered by us. Furthermore, in the past few months they have also had a disproportionate number of their supporters arrested.
Finally, I'd like to recommend a very good write-up of the demo from someone who is not aligned with the EDL. It gives one hope that some reporters are able to see that a movement that unites army wives, flamboyant homosexuals, ex-football-hooligans and Jews is something really significant: http://www.buckinghamshireecho.co.uk/