A day trip to Manchester with the EDL – the write up.
Waking up at 8 am on a Saturday morning is a bit of a foreign world to me these days. I don’t do early mornings if I can help it but the chance to see the grand unification of the various far-right street armies was too good a day out to miss.
I was going to go to Cambridge last week as it’s a place I love and I’ve got a few friends down there. The Mill Road and Romsey areas are very similar to the places I’ve grown up in Sheffield and still have a similar vibe. As it was I decided to stay at home and get a couple of texts from a mates mum who said there were more people on the bus she was on than at the demo. I think that shows how successful that day out for the EDl was.
This day out in Manchester was supposed to be very different for the EDL, a grand statement of intent and proof that they are still relevant.
This was the scene at the Manchester City United part of Albert Square at just after midday. I’ve not been to this part of Manchester city centre before and on a sunny day in early spring it’s a beautiful place with lots of interesting architecture and monuments. Unfortunately on this day the view was spoilt by the ugliness of the fencing and the events that were about to unfold.
Right click your mouse button and select view image where you should see + symbol. Click again and you will see the images in fill size.
And this was the scene at the EDL pen.
We went for a bit of a wander around the city centre to see what was going on and had and bit of a nosey at the EDL in Walkabout.
As usual they were getting tanked up and singing their crappy dirges. The police presence was pretty heavy with cops every few metres and most of the side roads blocked off with either vans or a couple of police stationed. The main roads were just about open and there seemed to be a real effort to minimise the damage to the local community and the effects these twats have on day to day life.
The police were pretty friendly and approachable. Most of them knew the potential for trouble between the various factions of the far-right and had had a decent briefing. Some of them that we talked to were working a day off and not getting paid. If you want a hint of what the cutbacks are doing look no further than that.
We walked back up to Albert Square and had another look at the EDL pen. The great thing about this photo is the young kids who got there early and didn’t realise they were kettled or understood what kettled means on a demo.
The music, if you can term it music was coming from this Landrover with a couple of crappy tannoy speakers. A CD or loop playing the usual utter shite that made me want to stick knitting needles through my ears. I’ve never minded a bit of Oasis but that Eeeeeeeee Dddddddd Llllllllllll song is aural vomit.
More scroat like far-right supporters had arrived and a few more kids who were about to get a pretty quick lesson in what what happens if you whinge at the police because you want to go to a pub and they won’t let you.
The first arrest at the demo site. She wasn’t a happy bunny.
And here they come. Five lines of police at the front and totally kettled.
This cretin walked into the pen and was promptly arrested.
Oh look, another arrest.
The police finally managed to get everybody in the pen and we tried to move around to the other side to get a better view of the proceedings. Unfortunately the police had blocked some of the paths around the square so it was a bit of a trek getting round to the Manchester City United demo.
Demo over and the police loaded the EDL onto the buses and away they went.
So what did we learn from the day and what can the EDL take from this?
Well nothing much really. If I’m being generous I’d say they managed to get about 400 people there which is bugger all considering Manchester United got 75000 at Old Trafford and Manchester City were not playing that day. If you take into account the population within an hour of Manchester 400 is nothing. Some of those places (Burnley, Oldham, Stoke ect) have a history of far-right activity and yet very few of them seem interested in the EDL or the other groups there on the day.
The demo site was well thought out and caused little disruption to the local population in comparison to the Rotherham demo although I do feel very sorry for the couple who were having their wedding reception at the Heron Hotel, a few yards from the EDL demo.
All that is left is finding out how much this cost the Council Tax payers of Manchester