One element present in Leicester that the mainstream media chose not to highlight was the so-called Muslim Defence League (MDL), which sprang into being earlier this year in anti-homage to the English Defence League. Like the EDL, this is more an idea and an amorphous movement reliant upon social networking technologies than an organisation with a strictly defined hierarchy. It will of course have its key activists and agitators, but the MDL is no monolith.
However, unlike the EDL the MDL draws the bulk of its street presence at protests from amongst the locally-resident population, from Muslim ‘communities’ as the mainstream media likes to refer to such neighbourhoods. Thus those labelled as members of the MDL in the videos below may in some cases see themselves as such, but in many instances I am sure that the people you see will be resident Muslims either looking for a fight or coming out to ‘protect’ one of their mosques which they were misled into believing would be subject to EDL attack. As I outlined last month, this piece of police ‘intelligence’ appears to have been fabricated with the express intent of banning the EDL from protesting in Leicester. This naturally caused unnecessary and unwarranted alarm amongst Muslim residents and generated a climate of fear that stoked the violence that occurred yesterday.
Lack of Clarity in BBC Report on Violence and Arrests at Leicester Demonstrations
The latest available BBC report on yesterday’s EDL and UAF demonstrations in Leicester reveals that some ugly violent incidents marred the day and a number of arrests were made. However, as you will see from the excerpt reproduced below, the report is written in such a way as not to reveal who was arrested and why. An anonymous commentator on my blog has claimed that some EDL members engaged in acts of violence, and I would be surprised given the numbers involved (the BBC’s revised estimates now stand at 2,000 for the EDL and 600 for UAF) if the demonstration had been entirely peaceful. Let me once again however make it clear that I do not condone violence, but I support the EDL’s right to protest peacefully. Anyone who deliberately initiates and engages in acts of violence must expect the full force of the law to be brought against them.
Given the BBC’s editorial hostility towards the EDL and the anti-Islamisation movement in general, it is therefore surprising that it does not mention how many of the thirteen arrested were from amongst the ranks of the EDL. This suggests to me that as in Bolton earlier this year the majority of arrests were of UAF counter-demonstrators. Indeed in Harrow on 11 September 2009 UAF demonstrators and hothead elements in the local Muslim population attacked the police at the site of a demonstration planned by Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE), even though the demonstration itself didn’t take place. Likewise, not long after that they attacked the police in Luton with a variety of items including fireworks even though there was no EDL protest. Unite Against Fascism has a long history of seeking to stir up anti-English hatred and initiating violence in pursuit of its Trotskyist violent revolutionary strategy, as the guiding members of UAF such as Martin Smith and Weyman Bennett are members of the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) Central Committee.
Even the BBC cannot gloss over the reality of UAF violence, hence its report only makes mention of one specific incident of directed violence, and this was against two EDL coaches which were leaving the city. For me, “throwing stones and bricks” and vehicles is simply inexcusable, for great injury or death could have resulted. Read the excerpt below, and draw your own conclusions:
Thirteen men have been arrested during two protests in Leicester, which sparked the biggest police operation in the county for 25 years.
The English Defence League (EDL) held a static demonstration and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) staged a counter-protest on Humberstone Gate East.
Riot police moved in after several fireworks, bottles and coins were thrown.
There were also reports of violence away from the demonstration site.
Gangs were seen throwing stones and bricks at two coaches carrying EDL supporters as they left the city.
Those arrested at the main protest site were aged between 30 and 42 and were not from the Leicester area.
Martin Smith, SIOE, SWP, UAF, Weyman Bennett UAF in Leicester: Noisy, Repetitious and Tedious
In my previous post you will have seen video footage of the EDL demonstrating in Leicester yesterday, so I thought that I’d also ‘treat’ you to the sight of the Socialist Workers’ Party guided UAF counter-demonstrators who turned up in Leicester. The chanting makes it evident that these people have been so wound up and indoctrinated that they mechanically reproduce the same old slogans coupled with emotions of self-righteous hatred wherever they go. Up goes the old and misplaced shrill refrain “Nazi scum, off our streets!” Well, if they were truly interested in ridding our streets of the nearest contemporary equivalents of what they describe as “Nazi scum”, then they really ought to be joining with the EDL and protesting against Islamism, but these folk just don’t get it. They really don’t get it. Why is the world filled with vapid, empty-headed, dangerous anti-rational fools?
What really happened at the EDL Leicester Demo?
This is something upon which I can only speculate, for I was not there. That said, I shall endeavour to provide a more objective perspective than you will find given by any NUJ hack (who in all likelihood also was not present) from the information that is at hand.
The Home Secretary Theresa May had banned the proposed EDL march which meant that protesters were confined to the Humberside Gate East area of the city where they were kettled in by a large number of police officers kitted out in riot gear, with mounted police and dogs also at hand. As is now expected at all EDL demonstrations, UAF mounted a counter-demonstration in the city. The Daily Telegraph estimates the number of supporting demonstrators at circa 1,000 and 700 apiece respectively, which is pretty much in line with the scale of previous protests. However, a later estimate on the BBC website claimed that there were 2,000 EDL protesters present, which is a very large turnout, but its later report on associated violence and arrests lacked clarity. Altogether, some 1,400 police participated in the exercise with many being drafted in from neighbouring forces, netting them some handsome overtime payments.
The BBC report on the demonstration was rather temperate in the language that it employed compared to its previous treatments of the EDL, starting off with a couple of interviews with Leicester residents, including a black middle-aged property developer named Mark James who reflected:
"The EDL invited me in to hear what they had to say and I was ready to go in, but the police said I couldn’t, it was too dangerous, it could provoke trouble.
You hear and see terrible things about Islamic extremism, so you can see why people would not want that.
And the neighbourhood I live in here in Leicester is mostly Muslim and every community has its own racism - you don't always here about that."
It seems to me that Mr James is a reasonable man who has a mind of his own and who is keen to find out the facts of the matter for himself rather than relying upon media reports. After moving on to an interview with a young woman from Stoke who expressed sympathy with the EDL, the BBC then relapsed into autopilot and sought to associate the EDL with Nazism. I must confess to being flabbergasted that the BBC always manages to find someone who fled from the Nazis and who is willing to tar ordinary English men and women with this vile and baseless association, but once again they did, this time in the person of Maria Ronner who “grew up in Germany in the 1930s”. What Ronner herself says is not actually that damning, but what is of great interest is the manner in which the BBC hack prefaced her observation. First I shall provide her words, and then the prefatory sentence provided by the BBC:
"I heard about this demonstration last night and did not like what I heard, but I was very curious to see what it was really about," she said.
"I have a great interest in the multicultural society. A great interest. It is important to see how people can understand each other, can learn."
What had she heard and what was she told? I should imagine that she would have been fed the lie that the objectives of the EDL are racist, fascist and far-right, etc, so one can naturally understand that this old woman would “not like” what she “heard”. She had been primed to feed the BBC with the lines that they so desired: the EDL are the new Nazis. However, she didn’t go that far, which is why the BBC journalist saw it necessary to write “But a set of experienced eyes viewed the banners with suspicion” ahead of the quotations. “Banners” and “experienced eyes”? What banners? The EDL carry flags, do they not? Flags of St George. English flags. Not “banners” emblazoned with eagles and swastikas. In what way were Maria Ronner’s eyes “experienced” in this respect? Did she see Nazi stormtroopers marching with crosses of St George against Sharia law in 1930s Germany? I don’t think so. Once again, the BBC displays its typically tendentious reporting, designed to elicit hatred of the EDL and by extension of the English as an ethnic group in line with NUJ guidelines. Still, this report was a model of balance compared to the shockingly poor and partisan quality of the following interview with the ersatz Labour ‘Lord’ and MP ‘Sir Peter Soulsby’...
The AFP claims that there were eight arrests of protestors today, but as on previous occasions, it did not spell out whether all or any of these were from the EDL or UAF. One set of protesters which the mainstream media ignored were the so-called Muslim Defence League (MDL) who intended to attack the EDL. If you would like to view footage of their activity yesterday including a clash with a small group of EDL protesters take a look at EDL and MDL on the Streets of Leicester. The videos below give a flavour of the main EDL demonstration, but for some reason the ITN report appears to lack sound.