The EDL turned up in Slough last Saturday with a pitiful ~150 people. This is their lowest ever national call out, showing that the organisation is on the rocks, thanks to the concerted efforts of anti-fascists all over the country. Some of their coaches had as few as 8 people on board, and organisers were overheard trying to coax the few members who did turn up to give further donations to pay for losses incurred by the under-occupied coaches.
From the moment the EDL arrived at their assembly point they were met with resistance from members of the local community along with anti-fascist activists. This meant the only way they could move around town was with the aid of a mobile police kettle, keeping them contained and unable to deviate from their planned route.
After initially being held by police at the train station for almost 3 hours, the police facilitated their march moving on surrounded by a mobile kettle, while police cordons held counter protesters away from them. As they turned the corner onto the high street, however, they were held up as anti-fascist activists attempted to block their route and prevent them from incurring further into our town. Unfortunately, as the police moved in with mounted officers and dogs, we did not have the numbers to hold the police back. They did hold up the march for at least over an hour though, as police attempted to clear the high street of everybody from activists to locals going about their Saturday shopping.
As the EDL started moving again, they also started throwing missiles, including glass bottles and full cans, at the counter protesters held back by the police at the side of the high street – so much for a dry demo! The police responded to this aggression from the EDL by pushing back the counter protesters as missiles continued to be thrown and the mobile kettle led the EDL thugs onwards.
As the police escorted the EDL to their rally point, they again met resistance from anti-fascist demonstrators made up of Anti-Fascist Network members and locals. At this point, the EDL again started throwing bottles and other objects at the counter demonstrators. The police responded to this fresh attack by the EDL by letting them take 3 steps forward towards the counter protesters. At this point the police also started to push back against the assembled counter protesters, who did manage to hold their ground for a little while, before mounted police forced them back.
This continued for a short while with cops in full riot gear and cops on horses forcing the crowd back down the high street with batons and shields, until they were past the entrance to the Observatory shopping centre. During this confrontation the police seemed to be most intent on trying to provoke the locals in the group of counter protesters and were focussing their aggression primarily towards the local youth.
At this point the EDL had their rally, with counter demonstrators unable to get close thanks to the cordon of mounted and riot police. This had the effect that the EDL held their rally in front of an empty high street and a closed shopping centre, with no-one near enough to hear their hateful message.
As the EDL started to move off from their rally point, they were again escorted by a mobile police kettle, while counter protesters followed harrassing them all the way back to the station, where groups of local youth and black bloc were also waiting to give them the send off they deserved.
During the course of the day there were 4 arrests and one counter protester sent to hospital. If anybody has any information on these arrests, please contact GBC Legal
All in all it was a good day. While the EDL managed to have their rally, this was only down to the heavy police presence facilitating it, and they were just talking to an empty street, so their message did not get heard.