Monthly Archives: January 2012

EDL supporter convicted of racist attack in Derby

Lee Preston targeted a Muslim taxi driver with a group of friends who said “We are EDL” while drinking in his cab. The group chanted “EDL” and threatened to kill Mohammed Rashid whilst attacking him. The group also assaulted a second taxi driver who tried to intervene. Preston was later found hiding under a bush.

Preston has been sentenced to 18 months for affray and racially aggravated assault causing actual bodily harm. I guess Preston doesn’t believe that the EDL are a “human rights organisation” either.

Leicester EDL march: route announced

The EDL will be meeting from 11am on Saturday 4th Feb for their Leicester march. The muster point is St Margaret’s Pastures, just outside the ring road. The march will start at 12.30pm when they’ll go onto St Margaret’s Way, Burley’s Way, Abbey St, right onto Belgrave Gate, then Church St and back to St Margaret’s Pastures where they will be allowed a static demo for a limited period of time. Pubs in the city centre are being discouraged from serving alcohol for the duration.

The route of the march goes perilously close to the Somalian area of St Matthews, a likely target for fascist trouble making on the day. Leicester Police’s Rob Nixon, who patronisingly told the local Asian community to leave it to him last time, is in charge again. We do not have any confidence that this idiot or his colleagues will defend the local community and call on anti-fascists to support the well organised community defence against this fascist invasion.

Meanwhile UAF are having a pointless parade at the other end of town, proving once more that they are more interested in self-promotion than actually helping to defend communities.

The EDL have been making their intentions clear on Facebook. Leicester Casuals United have said that “We will not be meeting in the town centre as we refuse being herded like cattle for the day, we will go where we want when we want” adding ominously “we have a good idea where we’re heading”. As EDL LGBT division leader Liam Woods put it “YAY WERE GONNA GET TO SMASH LEIECESTER UP”.

EDL LGBT division leader Liam Woods

The Leicester public are not impressed by this EDL invasion or the lockdown of the city for the day. Despite increasingly desperate denials and justifications from the leader of the Leicester Division, most have seen through the shoddy excuse for a fight with Leicester’s Asian community and wish the EDL would leave the city alone.

Obviously it takes a lot more than distaste to stop these fools. If we are serious about turning the EDL away, we need to be out in numbers in the communities they are likely to target on the day. It would be a good idea for anti-fascists to join the local communities of St Matthews and Highfields and make sure that the fascists do not assault these areas. They shall not pass!

Race hate on the rise in Lincolnshire

Recent statistics released by Lincolnshire Police suggest that racially and religiously aggravated crimes in the county have risen by 22% over the past 5 years. The number of racist incidents has also risen by 12% over the same period. The most commonly reported crimes were racially  motivated criminal damage, verbal abuse and minor assaults. Nationally, racist incidents decreased by 18% over the same period.

The Lincolnshire Echo illustrates the story by interviewing Munir Zafar, an 18 year old from Afghanistan, who was attacked in Lincoln in 2010. Zafar suffered a fractured skull and cheekbone as a result of the racist attack.  “When I first came,” he said, “people would look at me in the street and argue with me over nothing. I was always thinking people might swear at me or want to start a fight.” He says he last experienced racist abuse in the street 4 months ago.

This very worrying trend might be partly explained by tension over the large number of migrant workers employed in Lincolnshire’s agricultural economy. Lincolnshire farmers have realised that they can take advantage of migrant labour at much lower wages than local workers. This has led to large numbers of migrants arriving in the area looking for work, often living in extremely poor conditions, and a strong downwards pressure on wages.

The far right have been looking for opportunities to exploit this tension. We are not talking about the deranged babbling of David Icke lovers, the Lincolnshire Voice here, but the more cynical elements in the BNP, EDL and their fellow travellers. They were given an opportunity last October, when Boston resident, Dean Everitt, organised a march against immigration on Facebook. Stating that “we are fed up of being second class citizens in our own town. The British person is being discriminated against in their own country”, Everitt claimed that “We are not racist…  but we are saying this place is now full and we should not have any more.” He was also reported as saying “The problem is simple – they need to shut the floodgates.”

Unfortunately Everitt failed to identify the problem as an economic one, driven by the bosses of the farms who want to exploit cheap labour. If decent pay and conditions were the norm and the practice of housing workers in poor conditions abolished, local workers would be able to find work again. Instead, Everitt focussed on cultural invasion, using language reminiscent of xenophobic politicians of the past. And whether or not you believe his claim not to be a racist, his march instantly became a beacon for fascists of all stripes.

It was soon picked up by the BNP as well as EDL offshoot, Casuals United. Each far right website moulded the story to fit its own agenda with the BNP trumpeting “People in Lincolnshire have had enough of migrant workers who have invaded their county”. The London Patriot used it to push the line that “the Labour party don’t support the white working class anymore” and the South West Nationalists claimed that “there are plenty of tales of drunken Eastern Europeans urinating in public, and of being able to walk through the town and come across next to nobody who speaks English.” Needless to say, no sources for these tales were produced.

Realising that he was going to attract all kinds of misfits, boneheads and delusional idiots if he went ahead with his march, Everitt cancelled saying that he was worried about it being hijacked.

The incident showed that organised fascists are taking an interest in the situation in Lincolnshire and trying to exploit the tensions between the settled community and migrant workers for political gain. Wherever the far right and their poisonous propaganda gain a foothold, racist attacks follow.

Leicester EDL march update

It looks like they’re going to get their march this time but an alcohol ban is being imposed which will dampen their spirits.

Meanwhile, the “50 strong” crew of Leicester Casuals who were supposed to be turning up to a UAF meeting in Highfields to “make our voices heard” seemed to get lost on the way. References to the plans were quickly deleted from Facebook in an attempt to save face. Oh dear.

The PR campaign isn’t going very well for the EDL either. The Leicester Mercury wrote an editorial saying they should call off their march and spokesman, Jeff ‘Stabber’ Marsh got ripped apart in a phone in by the local BBC team as well. Marsh had a paranoid rant about the CPS being a left wing organisation and said that the Ministry of Justice is “biased against white people in favour of immigrants” leaving listeners in no doubt that he has lost grip on reality. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon was not available for interview, presumably having a cosy chat at a police station somewhere about the demo plans.

The Welsh Defence League

Marsh is an interesting choice of spokesman given his violent, racist past and his involvement in the openly Nazi Welsh Defence League. He has made threats against journalists in the past suggesting he is not a particularly smooth operator. The EDL’s choice to make him spokesman is more evidence that they are scraping the barrel.

Coming down the road?

One of the EDL’s ‘inspiring’ slogans for the Leicester demo is “We’re coming down the road”. Just makes me think of this.

Racist chanting at City/Forest match

At the City vs. Forest cup game on 7th January, complaints were made about racist chanting by sections of the crowd.

This serves as a reminder that decent footy fans need to be on their guard against this sort of nonsense creeping back into our grounds…the EDL and their various factions have been deliberately targeting football crowds as somewhere they hope they can gain support, and it’s up to the non-racist majority to isolate and counter these idiots.


EDL to demonstrate in Leicester

The EDL have announced that they will be going to Leicester for their next national demo on 4th Feb. They say that this is in response to the “racist” attack on Rhea Page, who was assaulted by four women of Somali descent in Leicester in June 2010. The women all received suspended sentences in November.

The case would probably have passed unnoticed had it not been for the Daily Mail’s extremely selective and dishonest reporting of the most salacious details of the case. The Mail reported that Ms Page’s attackers shouted “Kill the white slag” and suggested that they were “freed” because “they weren’t used to drinking because they’re Muslims”. Cue much foaming at the mouth about racism cutting both ways and politically correct sentencing gone mad, etc.

Although it doesn’t make for such a good knee-jerk reactionary story, the facts of the case paint a rather different picture. It seems that both Page and the defendants claimed that racist comments had been made but there was insufficient evidence to support either set of claims. Indeed, the CPS stated that although “the comment ‘white bitch’ was reported to have been heard during the incident… this racist comment could not be attributed to any particular suspect and was not adopted by the group as a whole. There was therefore no realistic prospect of conviction for a racially aggravated offence.” They knew that there was insufficient evidence to make the case for racial aggravation in court.

The fact that the defence solicitor used the argument that the women were not used to drinking was not mentioned by the judge in sentencing. Instead he accepted the womens’ argument that they were victims of unreasonable force from Ms Page’s partner, and took this into consideration.

So the real picture of what went on looks much, much murkier than how it is being painted by the tabloids and their ever eager guard dogs in the EDL. A drunken confrontation in the city centre, during which both sides are alleged to have hurled racist abuse and Page’s boyfriend used unreasonable force to end. But that story doesn’t whip up enough hysteria to sell papers or get people to demos.

It’s also interesting the hypocrisy of the Mail’s coverage which is set up to suggest that these women got special treatment because they were Muslim. They themselves give special treatment to Ms Page (22) who is referred to as a woman throughout whilst the other women (aged 24-28) are referred to as a “girl gang” and “girls”. It is Ms Page’s interpretation that the attack was racially motivated that is treated as factual by the Mail even though it was rejected by the legal system.

The EDL take this one stage further than the Mail though by claiming that this case is “a clear example of a two tier system in which crimes perpetrated by ‘sensitive minorities’ (particularly British Muslims) are treated with far greater leniency than they would be if committed by a member of the majority population”. They do not give any other evidence of this two tier system in action or compare this sentence to other sentences in comparable cases where the perpetrators were white, so we presumably just have to take their word for it.

If, rather than selectively focussing on one prejudiced newspaper report of one crime, you look at the statistics on sentencing throughout the justice system, there is clear evidence of a racial divide… but not in the direction that the EDL claim. A recent study into over 1m court records found that black offenders were 44% more likely than white offenders to be jailed for driving offences, 38% more likely to be jailed for public disorder or possession of an offensive weapon and 27% more likely to be jailed for drug possession. Asian offenders were 41% more likely to be jailed for drugs offences than white offenders and 19% more likely to be jailed for shoplifting.  For indictable offences, the percentage of those given immediate custody was 24% for white defendants, 27% for black defendants and 29% for Asian defendants.

The 2010 Department for Justice statistics agree. Despite whites being more likely to be convicted of indictable offences than other ethnic groups, a higher percentage of those in the BME groups were sentenced to immediate custody (White 23%, Black 27%, Asian 29% and Other 42%). They were also given longer average sentences of 20.8 months (Black) and 19.9 months (Asian) compared with  14.9 months for the White group. Any racism in the justice system is favouring whites, not other ethnic groups.

The EDL are refreshingly honest about their knowledge admitting “we accept that we do not have the full details of the case” but this hasn’t stopped them from constructing a whole theory of persecution of white people around it and rallying their troops for another assault on Leicester’s Muslim community.

Blood & Honour leaks: East Midlands fascists exposed

Happy new year antifascists! Hackers Anonymous have got the 2012 off to a good start with Operation Blitzkrieg, a sustained assault on neo-Nazi websites in order to expose the fash.

One of their targets was the infamous Blood & Honour network, which promoted Nazi gigs and bands and was linked to wannabe stormtroopers, Combat 18. B&H was founded by Ian Stuart and took its name from the motto from of the Hitler Youth. In the early ’90s the East Midlands division of the group was active in promoting gigs around the region. Thankfully B&H’s humiliation by antifascists at the ‘Battle of Waterloo’ (the London railway station, not the Belgian town), which is amusingly retold in No Retreat, and Ian Stuart’s fatal encounter with a Derbyshire ditch took a lot of the wind out of their sails. However, the group is still active and organises occasional highly secretive gigs in dingy shitholes around the country.

A complete leak of personal details from the UK B&H website can be found here. There are quite a few names from the East Midlands on there, including BNP councillor, James North. North is the BNP’s representative on Asfordby Parish Council (Melton, Leicestershire) and appears no less than 3 times on the leaked list along with his ‘stallion’ email address (lol). James was a rising star for the BNP in Leicestershire and regularly chairs their meetings and gives presentations to other branches as well as writing articles for the BNP website. The revelation that he was a signed up member of an openly Hitlerite organisation will no doubt cause him a few image problems. The BNP is already in freefall in Leicestershire, having lost a number of councillors at the last elections and now being forced to merge branches due to insufficient interest. This damning detail about the formerly squeaky clean North will put him alongside Ian ‘NF plank’ Meller and Wayne ‘racist torture’ McDermott as yet another embarrassment.

Nazi James North

Other local Nazis include Marc Adams of Countesthorpe, Leicester, Liam Hankin of New Selston, Notts, Nigel Robinson of Ilkeston, Derbyshire, Ian Stafford of Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, David Honeybell of Beechdale, Nottingham, Lee ‘Morphus’ of Bulwell, Nottingham, Jonathan Benn of Mansfield, Notts, Ian Smith of Grantham, Lincs, and Wayne Buckby of Hinckley, Leicestershire.