The English Defence League staged a demonstration today in Leicester. It was originally planned as a march (as opposed to a static demonstration), but the Home Secretary banned all marches in Leicester out of fear of violence.
In response to the ban, the EDL defiantly announced that they would march anyway, but evidently changed their plans. Based on the published news, there were two static demos, one staged by the EDL, and the counter-demonstration organized by the UAF.
I’ll post some analysis later on, but here are the raw details from the MSM, with a little bit of commentary added.
First, the bare bones from This Is Leicestershire. As far as I can tell, this article uses the term “youths” to mean exactly the same thing that the French media do:
Clashes Break Out Between EDL and Black and Asian People in Leicester
Violent clashes have broken out between EDL supporters and members of the local black and Asian community.
Large groups of supporters have become involved in skirmishes with youths in the area of Humberstone Road, Leicester.
As I mentioned while fisking the Grauniad last night, when MSM reporters cover the EDL, they’re always careful to finesse the agentive in their syntax: “supporters have become involved in skirmishes with youths”. It’s as if the violence just materialized out of nowhere, like dew on the grass at dusk, with nobody actually starting it.
This awkward formulation tells us that the UAF and/or the Muslims must have laid into the EDL, just as they always do.
They ran away from the main protest site in Humberstone Gate East to a nearby main road where they confronted gangs of local youths.
Sporadic fighting broke out between the two sides while riot police sought to maintain control.
There it is again: “fighting broke out”. Nobody hit anybody first. Nobody threw the first bottle. Violence just began of its own accord, like a summer storm breaking over the participants.
Kent Street, in Highfields, is currently cordoned off by police.
Officers have formed a line to stop hundreds of people getting through the cordon.
Riot police are also in Charles Street, where skirmishes were going on at about 4pm.
In order to determine how the violence really started, you’d need a continuous video feed from the heart of the action. Or, alternatively, accurate and thorough reporting — but how likely is that?
UKPA has this report:
Violence Flares at EDL Protest
Violence broke out and missiles were thrown at police as rival protesters gathered in Leicester for rival demonstrations.
Yikes! UKPA does it, too!
That pesky violence just “flares” and “breaks out” with no apparent cause. Not only that, the passive voice was in evidence: “missiles were thrown”.
The English Defence League (EDL) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) were holding protests in Leicester, prompting the city’s largest policing operation in 25 years.
Around 1,000 members from each group were expected to descend on the city, police said, although it was not known exactly how many had turned up.
Then, finally, something can be pinned on the EDL (or, more likely, one of the UAF infiltrators within the EDL ranks), so suddenly the reporter suddenly finds himself able to identify the perpetrators:
A smoke bomb was thrown from the EDL protesters into police and crowds of press.
Leicestershire Police said: “Officers are dealing with minor disorder among the EDL supporters on Humberstone Gate East. So far a number of protesters have been detained for possible public order offences.”
Earlier this week, Home Secretary Theresa May authorised a blanket ban on marches in Leicester, but the groups were still permitted to hold static demonstrations in Humberstone Gate East in the city from 2pm to 3.30pm.
The area was shut down by police, with rival groups placed either side of metal barriers.
Police were using Section 14 of the Public Order Act which meant officers could take action against anyone who protests outside that place and time. They were also using stop and search powers, and were supported by the dog unit, mounted unit and East Midlands Air Support Unit.
At one point a policeman was put into a buggy-style ambulance on a stretcher. Some EDL protesters were also treated by police medics, but it is unclear what their injuries were.
A spokeswoman said: “Crowds remain and continue to protest. Four people have been arrested. One officer has been taken to hospital with a leg injury.”
And here’s a somewhat lengthier report from the Beeb:
Four Arrests During EDL Protest in Leicester
Four people have been arrested during a protest by the English Defence League (EDL) in Leicester.
The EDL is holding a static demonstration and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) is staging a counter-protest on Humberstone Gate East.
I know I’m getting repetitive, but here’s the passive voice again:
Riot police moved in after several fireworks, bottles and coins were thrown in an attempt to break police cordon.
And more details about the day’s events:
It is the largest police operation in the county for 25 years.
Four people have been detained on suspicion of committing public order offences.
About 2,000 EDL protesters have gathered in the city, with about 1,000 at Humberstone Gate and 600 UAF at the site. Several roads in the area have been closed until 1800 BST.
A policeman has been taken to hospital with a leg injury and two protesters have been treated by paramedics for minor injuries.
This next paragraph is tantalizing, and I would like to know more. What “disturbances” occurred within the ranks of the EDL supporters? What caused the trouble? Is anybody certain that agents provocateurs were not involved?
Since I haven’t received any reports from the scene, the BBC is all I have to go on:
A police spokesman said: “The disturbance is within the EDL supporter group, not directed at the counter protesters.”
All sides are interviewed:
Nick Cimini, an anti-fascist protester and a shop worker from Derby, said: “We’ve got to show them that racism and fascism are not welcome here.
“If you turn a blind eye, they will come and smack you in the face, particularly ethnic minorities, homosexuals and anyone who does not fit their narrow definition of English.”
Lucy Bethell, 23, a member of the EDL, from Manchester, said: “I’ve come to this great city of Leicester to protest against Islamic extremism.
“I am not a racist. I have Muslim and black friends. There is a big difference between racism and protesting against Islamic extremism.
“I joined the EDL because it made no sense that people defending Englishness were labelled as troublemakers.”
Officers have been stopping and searching people in the city centre. One man has been arrested for drug offences.
Officers from 13 forces are on hand to maintain order in the city.
Ch Supt Rob Nixon said: “There has been a lot of anxiety in the community but in speaking to them over the past few weeks, they know we are taking this seriously and are doing all we can to make sure the event passes off peacefully.”
There’s more to the article, but it seems to be old copy, written before the demo and allowed to remain at the end of the story as filler.
I’ll have more to say about all this later on, when I find the time to sit down and write it.
Hat tips: Gaia, KGS.