Jun 8 2014

EDL activities (and opposition) in north Notts

We hear reports that the EDL (remember them?) have been active, in a manner of speaking, in north Notts. In March, a group of five held a flash demo outside the Savanna Rags factory in Mansfield, where 30 immigrant workers had recently been arrested for illegal working.  What exactly this has to do with the EDL’s stated purpose of “protesting about islamic extremism” is unclear….

savanna

 

More recently, the EDL latched onto the anniversary of the grim murder of soldier Lee Rigby to hold a “memorial walk” in Sutton-in-Ashfield on May 25th (despite the Rigby family’s opposition to political groups attempting to take advantage of his death).  Around 20 EDL turned up, and were opposed by a similar number of anti-fascists in Sutton.

edlsutton

Despite police attempts to keep the two groups apart, after a brief scuffle the EDL were left minus one of their flags.  This is reminiscent of an occasion four years ago not so far away in Ripley, when the NF lost a flag to anti-fascists, and also echoes successful games of antifa “capture the flag” played at various demos this year….

Mansfield and Ashfield EDL may be small and incompetent, but they seem to be trying to get out on the streets locally, and so anti-fascists will be watching them with interest.


Oct 10 2013

Guramit Singh in prison

Former EDL spokesman Guramit Singh Kalirai is now in prison after his brief period on the run.

Singh from Bramcote, Nottinghamshire, took to Facebook to make a long-winded proclamation of innocence in which he claimed he had “been in contact with metropolitan police and agreed to hand [himself] in,” although the Nottingham Post reported that he was “caught […] in Long Eaton on Sunday.”

The Nottingham Post glossed over his connections with the EDL, only mentioning them in connection with the “taunts” Singh directed at police on Facebook while on the run:

In a slap in the face for officers chasing him, he also posted updates saying he was at the London Eye last Thursday and Trafalgar Square last Friday.

He also ‘shared’ a status update posted by the Luton branch of the far-right group the English Defence League on September 17 – a day he was meant to be in court, which said: “Who is out on the booze with Guramit Singh tonight in Luton?”

This meeting is particularly interesting as it implies that Singh met-up with many of the (then) key figures in the EDL (an organisation which he claims no longer to be involved in) immediately before going on the run. As EDL News note:

It is difficult to believe that their conversation didn’t involve any mention of Kalirai’s plans to evade justice. Yet there’s no indication that Lennon or Carroll reported his plans to the authorities. No doubt the police will be inquiring into this.

Whether any of this will get in the way of the not-at-all extremist aspirations of the leadership which has since left the EDL remains to be seen.


Sep 29 2013

Guramit Singh on the run

Guramit Singh (full name Guramit Singh Kalirai) was at one point a leading, indeed founding member, of the EDL. A spokesman for the group he spoke their demos and gave interviews to the media. He is now on the run after being convicted for a violent raid on a gardening shop in Hucknall, Nottingham.

Nottingham Post screenshotBBC Screenshot

According to the Nottingham Post:

Andrew Wheelhouse, 31, David Mura, 26, and Guramit Singh Kalirai, 31, went into gardening shop Simply Hydro, in Wigwam Lane, Hucknall, at about 12.30pm on Thursday, May 2, with the intention of raiding it.

They attacked a shop assistant, pinned him to the ground and threatened to slash his throat if he did not give them money.

All three were tried at Nottingham Crown Court and convicted  of attempted robbery. On Tuesday (24th September) all three were sent to prison, however Kalirai did a runner before the trial and was sentenced to six-and-a-half-years in prison in his absence. A warrant is out for his arrest.

Kalirai made much of his Sikh heritage, often carrying a Sikh flag on demos. This generated some consternation within the Sikh community. Following his conviction, Sikhs Against the EDL have publicly called for the Sikh community to help police capture the fugitive.

EDL bigwig Tommy Robinson told the BBC that Kalarai was no longer involved with the EDL, but had still found time to contact him:

Mr Robinson said Kalirai had been in touch with him while on the run to say he had not done anything wrong.

“He said he is working with his legal team to fight the conviction,” Mr Robinson said.

“It doesn’t seem like something he would have done.”

So that’s alright then.


Sep 15 2013

BNP scraping the barrel for Euros

East Midlands BNP have announced their candidates for the 2014 Euro elections. The list is as interesting for who’s not on it as who is:

1. Cllr. Cathy Duffy.
2. Revd. Robert West.
3. Bob Brindley.
4. Steve Brammer.
5. To be decided.

The first two are obvious choices for the party as the most prominent BNPers in Leicestershire and Lincolnshire even though both did poorly in May’s local elections (West only managed to get 88 votes). Nottingham’s Bob Brindley, however, is anything but a “safe” choice. Brindley uses his Nottingham BNP twitter feed to launch increasingly barmy diatribes against Jews, homosexuality, Asians and just about everyone who isn’t a signed up white supremacist (although he has made an exception for serial paedophile Jimmy Savile).

Bob Brindley: Holocaust denial

Bob Brindley: Holocaust denial

HagueHomosexual 120913Frankfurt 120913270713Twit 200713

After Brindley comes Steve Brammer from Ranskill, North Nottinghamshire. Brammer is almost unknown to fascists in the Midlands, probably because he lives only a few miles from South Yorkshire. He has never stood in an election before.

"Fresh" blood: First time candidate Steve Brammer

“Fresh” blood: First time candidate Steve Brammer

And next in line after Brammer is… well it looks like they couldn’t find anyone else to stand for them! There are no candidates from Derbyshire or from Northamptonshire, no sign of “super activist” Paul Hilliard from Derby and no sign of “Heanor Patriot” Cliff Roper either. Have they jumped ship as well? We will see. Certainly Roper showed signs of a swing to a more extreme right wing position after losing his Amber Valley seat, headlining his blog with the notorious 14 word phrase beloved of neo-Nazis. Perhaps the BNP isn’t extreme enough for him any more?

The release of this list is a further sign of decline for the fascist party. Only a few years ago, the East Midlands were seen as one of the BNP’s strongholds. Now they are struggling even to find 5 people across the entire region to stand for them. Good riddance!


Jul 29 2013

Nottinghamshire remembers anti-fascist volunteers

Over the weekend, campaigners in Nottinghamshire came together to remember the volunteers from the county who joined the International Brigades. The re-dedication ceremony marked the return of the memorial to the volunteers, which was removed under the previous Tory leadership of the council.

The Spanish Civil War didn’t end well for the republic and the malignant influence of Stalinism on the Spanish Communist Party, and the International Brigades which were affiliated with it, is well known. Nonetheless, the bravery of those who volunteered to go to Spain is not in doubt and remains an inspiration to anti-fascists today. It is good to see that they will not be forgotten.

Banners at Nottinghamshire County Hall


Jul 22 2013

Tits & Tatts Against Global Jihad

Saturday saw the EDL Travelling Circus (freak show?) return to Birmingham.

Although the EDL managed to turn out around 1,000 racists to spend three hours getting pissed before a two hour static rally, this was less than the leadership had hoped for.

It is unclear whether the stated intention of Nottingham EDLer Joanne Dickens to turn up and get her “tits & tatts” out to “insult” the “muzzies” had any impact on turnout.

Joanne Dickens Facebook post

Joanne Dickens to get her “tits & tatts out” at EDL demo in Birmingham

Dickens’ previous contribution to the fight against the Global Jihad involved her getting pissed and falling out of a coach in Tower Hamlets only to be rescued by an Asian man.


Jun 21 2013

Mansfield Strong infilitrated by EDL

This Sunday, a number of “Strong” events will take place around the country. These events have been organised as a response to the murder of Lee Rigby and are supposed to be against extremism but many have been hijacked by the EDL, the neo-Nazi Infidels and the BNP. Nottingham Strong fell apart after it was exposed as being an EDL front group. A Mansfield Strong event, which seems to have wider support, is still going ahead.

However, the Mansfield event still has extensive links with the EDL. Whilst the Nottingham and Mansfield EDL divisions have learnt from previous exposure not to openly promote the event, the EDL’s Mansfield organiser is involved in organising Mansfield Strong and many local EDL activists from across the region will be attempting to infiltrate the event on the day.

StanGreen 170613

Stan Green, the Mansfield EDL organiser, has made numerous posts on the Mansfield Strong page suggesting that he is involved in the organising meetings and in logistics on the day. Stan, once a key member of the East Midlands Infidels, has been to numerous EDL demos with the East Midlands divisions. On his Facebook profile he describes himself as “ENGLISH DEFENCE LEAGUE.MANSFIELD DIVISION” and has shared photos promoting the more openly Nazi group Infidels of Britain.

Stan Green

Stan Green

East Midlands Infidels organisers: (From left) Craig Elliott (Leicester EDL), Jay Clark (Nottingham EDL), Chris Conroy (Newark EDL), Tony Curtis and Stan Green (Mansfield EDL)

East Midlands Infidels organisers: (From left) Craig Elliott (Leicester EDL), Jay Clark (Nottingham EDL), Chris Conroy (Newark EDL), Tony Curtis and Stan Green (Mansfield EDL)

StanGreen Pics

As well as EDL activists being involved in organising the event, quite a few have said they will be turning up on the day. These include Nottingham’s Chris Payne and Nicky Long who were convicted of anti-Muslim public order offences for leaving a pig’s head at the site of a mosque in West Bridgford. Payne urged the organisers of Mansfield Strong to inbox him, presumably wanting to get further involved in the event.

Chris Payne, Dave Stokoe and Nicky Long stewarding an EDL demo

Chris Payne, Dave Stokoe and Nicky Long stewarding an EDL demo

No far right mobilisation would be complete without former EDL speaker and currently Midlands organiser for the English National Resistance, Tony Curtis, making an appearance. Keen to piggyback on something with more than a handful of people involved, Curtis has declared his support for the event. Other EDL activists saying they will come include Adam Bilyk (Nottingham), Dave Stokoe (Long Eaton), Ian Gilbert (Alfreton), Kev Coates (Mansfield), Tip James (Mansfield) and Tracie Bird (Derbyshire).

These exploitative infiltrations are not limited to the Midlands. Brighton Anti-fascists have documented the close links between the Brighton Strong event and the local EDL division. We do not believe these are the only events where there is secret far right involvement.

In the aftermath of the murder of Lee Rigby, his family have pleaded for groups like the far right EDL not to exploit his death. The armed forces charity, Hope for Heroes, has refused to accept donations from the EDL in order to distance themselves from the group’s anti-Muslim politics. In spite of these wishes, the EDL continues to attempt to exploit the tragic murder of Lee Rigby in order to recruit people to events and spread anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. Whether they are setting up Facebook pages to lure people into their sphere of influence or organising memorial events, far right activists have shamefully used Rigby’s murder to expand their political influence.

Further evidence that "memorial" events were an EDL front

Further evidence that “memorial” events were an EDL front

We ask the other organisers of Mansfield Strong to resist attempts by the EDL to infiltrate their event. We hope that they make it clear that the EDL and other far right groups are not welcome.


Jun 11 2013

Nottingham march not EDL? Don’t make us laugh

On Sat 1st March the EDL organised “memorial events” up and down the country in a disgusting and exploitative attempt to make political gain out of a brutal murder. One of those was held in Nottingham. In the Nottingham Post’s write up of the event they chose to focus on the question of whether it really was the EDL organising the event or not, rather than the exploitation of a man’s murder to whip up hatred against the Muslim community. The fact is that the event was timed to coincide with a load of other events organised by the far right group and was openly advertised on the Nottingham EDL Facebook page.

EDL march organiser, Jay Clark

EDL march organiser, Jay Clark

Let’s be quite clear – there is no doubt that this was organised by the EDL. The organiser, as quoted by the Post, was none other than Jay Clark, former organiser of the Nottingham EDL division who is still very much involved in the group’s politics. Despite his attempts to disassociate himself from the EDL, Clark led their contingent at Nottingham’s St George’s Day march last year and organises St George’s Day events in Clifton with East Midlands EDL members. He has threatened to “wipe out” independent media websites in the past for making clear the links between himself and fascists.

EDL members Adam Bilyk (left in green hoody), Donna Walker (carrying wreath) and Emma Laker (glasses and pink shirt)

EDL members Adam Bilyk (left in green hoody), Donna Walker (carrying wreath) and Emma Laker (glasses and pink shirt)

Alongside Clark were other prominent Nottingham EDL members. Donna Walker laid their wreath flanked by Adam Bilyk (last spotted at the English Volunteer Force launch in Birmingham) and Emma Laker. Whether these people still consider themselves EDL or just fellow travellers, their  anti-Muslim agenda differs little from that of the official EDL line.


Jun 3 2013

EDL events in Leicester and Nottingham

On Saturday, the EDL held events in towns and cities across the country, as part of their new spike in activity following the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich on May 22nd.  Having realised that the pissed-up argy-bargy at their national demos in Newcastle and London the previous weekend hasn’t exactly helped their image, the EDL played these local events differently.  They were all branded as memorials, and participants were urged to stay sober, refrain from chanting or shouting, and to carry no banners or “colours” (that’s branded hoodies to you and me).

In Leicester, around 80 joined the EDL-organised march from the Clock Tower to the war memorial in Victoria Park, where flowers were laid.  A UAF counter-demo of about the same size stood with banners at the Clock Tower, with some heckling of the marchers as they departed, but without further incident.

In Nottingham, about 70 walked from the Trent Bridge Inn to the war memorial on the Victoria Embankment, again laying flowers.  Not wishing to interfere with the flower-laying, a group of about 30 anti-fascists stood quietly with banners on the opposite side of the road from the memorial.  Apart from one aggressive EDL supporter who was restrained by police, there was no interaction between the two sides.

The EDL successfully stayed sober and calm on both these events, and achieved their objective of appearing “reasonable and respectful” – something they are generally find beyond them.  It’s concerning that they appear to have attracted numbers to these commemorations beyond their usual activist base, and not everyone who attended Saturday’s events would have thought of themselves as an EDL member.  In other words, they are having some success at rebuilding their numbers and activity, and are expanding their support base.

The gruesome murder in Woolwich has been a gift for the EDL, allowing them to capitalise on a personal tragedy and surf the wave of outrage for their own ends – despite appeals from both Lee Rigby’s family and his regiment that no racist capital should be made by political groups from his horrible death.  The EDL and other fascist groupings will be working hard over the next few months, and anti-fascists must remain vigilant and keep developing strategies to counter their activities in this challenging time.

 

 


May 26 2013

EDL bottle Nottingham demo

Only a couple of 14 year olds and a dejected looking bloke in an EDL polo shirt bothered turning up to the EDL’s attempt to exploit a tragedy in Nottingham yesterday. The organiser obviously lost his bottle before even showing up. A 70 strong crowd of anti-fascists held the square for the afternoon quite comfortably and sent a clear message to these vultures that their attempt to capitalise on a violent murder will win them no converts in the city.