Aug 10 2018

It’s kicking off

We’re excited by a new anti-fascist initiative amongst football fans: Football Lads and Lasses Against Football (FLAF).

The organisation has been set-up in response to the recent surge in far-right activity.

The Football Lads Alliance is at the core of this new movement. Despite the hard work that has taken place in football to fight racism, it’s clear there remains a section of fans who are susceptible to far-right and fascist ideas. FLAF want to change that.

In it’s founding statement FLAF state:

It’s time now for those fans who oppose the rise of the right at football to stand up and be counted. As well as mobilising against their marches, we need to counter them at our own clubs, by whatever means is necessary, from leaflet and sticker campaigns to gentle persuasion.

The founders have been busy creating versions of the logo with shitloads of team crests. Among them some of the big local clubs: Nottingham Forest, Derby County and Leicester City (see below).

Fans are encouraged to use these logos at their club as they see fit (provided they don’t add any other political symbols). Apparently eager Leicester fans have already begun printing wads of stickers.

You can find FLAF on Twitter and Facebook.

Nottingham Forest FLAF

Derby County FLAF

Leciester City FLAF


Sep 8 2016

EDL march in Nottingham

So the EDL marched in Nottingham, last month, or was it the far right extremist Casual Infidels? So many of the same faces popped up that it was hard to tell the difference, but then the fascists have always been an opportunist lot. EDL, BNP, National Front, EVF, Casuals United, Infidels – all different names for the same bunch of losers, who shift alliances according to where they can get the most cash, gullible followers or both.

While they were enjoying their taxpayer funded street drinking – was it the cops or the local council who generously provided their portaloos? – we took the opportunity to document the diehard few who still cling to the EDL banner.

EDL marching in Nottingham featuring Ian kellett *Sunglasses and Union Jack scarf), Craig Burridge (white vest, cap, lanyard), Jack Stevens (black coat, hood up) and Daniel Hall (red shirt, black cap)

EDL marching in Nottingham featuring Ian Kellett (sunglasses and Union Jack scarf), Craig Burridge (white vest, cap, lanyard), Jack Stevens (black coat, hood up) and Daniel Hall (red shirt, black cap)

All of the main organisers and participants from the previous Casual Infidels outings were there, including Daniel Hall, Jack Stevens (who got convicted of criminal damage for throwing a flare at the demo just this week), Craig Burridge, Andrew Shaw, Jimmi Rae, Adam Repton, and Ian Kellett. In fact, Worksop’s Craig Burridge – a key Casual Infidels organiser – was one of the EDL’s security crew. There were a lot of other faces from other parts of the country who turned up to the last Casual Infidels demo as well: Luke Hathaway (Walsall), Spencer Shirley (Colne), Conrad Ayscough (Halifax) and Gaz Jones (Manchester).

Craig Burridge, Worksop EDL and Notts Casual Infidels

Craig Burridge, Worksop EDL and Notts Casual Infidels

Far left: Daniel Hall (Mansfield, Notts Casual Infidels) chatting with Luke Hathaway (Walsall, United Patriots)

Far left: Daniel Hall (Mansfield, Notts Casual Infidels) chatting with Luke Hathaway (Walsall, United Patriots)

Andrew Shaw (Centre, blue hoodie): Worksop EDL and Notts Casual Infidels

Andrew Shaw (Centre, blue hoodie): Worksop EDL and Notts Casual Infidels

Right: Jimmi Rae, Worksop, Notts Casual Infidels

Right: Jimmi Rae, Worksop, Notts Casual Infidels

Spencer Shirley, Colne EDL

Spencer Shirley, Colne EDL

Centre, rolling cigarette: Conrad Ayscough, Halifax EDL

Centre, rolling cigarette: Conrad Ayscough, Halifax EDL

Left: Gaz Jones, Manchester EDL

Left: Gaz Jones, Manchester EDL

In addition to the Casual Infidels, the few members of Leicester EDL who have stuck it out turned up including Craig Elliott and Simon Smith.

Simon Smith, Leicester EDL

Simon Smith, Leicester EDL

Another familiar face from the Notts Casual Infidels demo was this chap (see picture below) who turned up with his camera to take a few pics for Redwatch. He was also trying to pass himself off as a bystander at the Notts Casual Infidels demo in July.

Photographer2

Confused steroid man


Oct 4 2013

Leicester EDL member faces terrorism charges

A teenager from Loughborough who was associated with the EDL’s Leicester division and claims to have been in contact with Tommy Robinson is currently on trial at the Old Bailey for “plotting a terrorist attack, having a terrorist manual, and possessing parts for an improvised explosive”. He kept a notebook of potential targets which included Loughborough mosque and had a Nazi flag above his bed.

Repost from the Loughborough Echo:

A 16-YEAR-OLD neo-Nazi from Loughborough plotted a Columbine-inspired school massacre using pipe bombs, knives, and a crossbow, the Old Bailey heard this week.

The English Defence League supporter stockpiled home-made bombs, terrorist manuals, and an array of weapons as he planned attacks on his former school and the college where he was studying for his A-Levels, the court was told on Wednesday.

He kept a notebook of potential targets, including Loughborough Mosque, REEL cinema, Loughborough University and council offices, and dubbed plans for an armed assault on his former school as ‘the new Columbine’, it is said.

Inspired by the violent Nick Cave film Outlaw and Heath Ledger’s portrayal of Batman nemesis the Joker in the Dark Knight, the teen allegedly drew up a list of teachers and pupils he wanted to murder.

He scrawled the mantra ‘When order fails, violence prevails’ in his notebook, which had Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara on the front alongside slogans including ‘EDL: No Surrender’, ‘British and Proud’, and Nazi Swastika drawings.

The teenager, who is now 17 and cannot be named because of his age, had a Nazi flag above his bed and wrote essays on his hatred of Muslims.

“You will be considering whether he is just a misfit, or whether he is something altogether more sinister and serious,” said prosecutor Max Hill QC.

“In light of the items he assembled, bombs etc, in light of what he wrote in this notebook, you need to consider whether he was in fact arrested in February this year before he could pursue any further a plan for, or intention, either to terrorise pupils and staff at his college against whom he bore a grudge, or whether he wanted to target other locations.”

The teenager, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, is accused of plotting a terrorist attack, having a terrorist manual, and possessing parts for an improvised explosive.

He and two other 17-year-old boys have already admitted possessing petrol bombs and pipe bombs.

Mr Hill said the ‘sheer weight’ of weapons the defendant is accused of possessing at his home in Loughborough set him apart from the other two boys.

“For any average young man, that list is startling,” he said.

“The eye stops at references to partially assembled petrol bombs, it stops upon the reference to pipe bombs, and upon the stab proof vest, on firearms and rifle pistols and the crossbow.”

The jury were shown extracts from the teenager’s notebook, allegedly outlining his attack plans.

He wrote: ‘Before we go into school gates, enter block and chain both exits shut.

‘Enter each classroom taking out the teachers.

‘Use explosives to eliminate most of the students.’

Mr Hill said: “What does he mean by plans and tactics for operation the new Columbine?

“Columbine is a high school in Colorado, USA, which was the scene of an infamous mass shooting in 1999.

“Two students of the college entered and killed more than a dozen of their fellow students and ultimately committed suicide on their own school premises.”

The defendant had drawn in his notebook stick figures with arrows showing where knives, a machete, a sawn-off air rifle, ammunition, and pipe bombs would be concealed inside a trench coat, the court heard.

Mr Hill said other parts of the book contain rantings against Muslims, calling for mass deportation to ‘stop the spread of Sharia law’.

“He is talking about British and European people rising up and fighting Islamic fascism that is sweeping the world,” said Mr Hill.

“He is a member of the EDL Leicester division and a supporter of the Knights Templar, which we suggest are far right wing British National movements.”

In among plans to make bombs out of jerry cans, which could be detonated by mobile phone, the teenager wrote about planning to bomb Loughborough Mosque, the court heard.

He wrote: ‘There’s too many Muslims in the UK and Europe, so we must stop them coming over here and send the ones already over here back home before they take over European governments and put Sharia Law in place.’

The teenager, who is supported in the dock by an intermediary because of his Asperger’s, denies possessing an article for a purpose connected with terrorism, possessing a document likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, and possessing an article for a purpose connected with terrorism.

He has pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon.

The would-be terrorist and his two pals dubbed themselves the United Revolutionary Army as they experimented with making and detonating home-made bombs, the court heard.

The 16-year-old and his two co-defendant donned balaclavas for a series of videos of them preparing Molotov cocktails out of wine bottles and white spirit.

In the first video, shot on February 16 last year, the defendant tells the camera: “This is the URA’s second attempt at a petrol bomb.”

His friend, also covering his face with a balaclava, then prepares the home-made bomb before throwing it at a wall where it explodes into flames.

Jurors heard the bomb tests were filmed at the back of a leisure centre in Loughborough, which is also home to a creche, between February and April last year.

“This is part of the evidence which shows possession of, and through the films, use of explosives,” said Mr Hill.

“These items are clearly dangerous, they clearly explode, causing fire and damage.

“You will have to consider making the allowances for a young defendant, but you have to also consider was this merely play on the part of the defendant and his friends or was it actually preparation for something more, bearing in mind what we know about him.”

Mr Hill said the URA graffiti has been seen sprayed on walls around Loughborough, and is believed to have been created by the defendant.

“They identify themselves as the Urban Revolutionary Army,” he said.

“It appears to be the name the defendant created for themselves.

“Sometime the R stands for ‘rebel’ rather than ‘revolutionary’.”

Mr Hill conceded that the videos are at times ‘funny’ and the attempts to make home-made bombs ‘haphazard’.

But he added: “Is this done for laughs, all self-amusement and clowning around, or does this support the conclusion it was for something more?”

The defendant even jokes to his pals on one of the videos: “If I die during this, split my guns between you.”

The jury were shown more of the teenager’s Che Guevara notebook, in which he is allegedly justifying his potential terrorist targets.

He said his second target after Loughborough Mosque is his community college, the court heard.

“He describes the reasons as personal rather than political, the choice was due to bad experiences he says he has had there,” said Mr Hill.

The teenager is then alleged to outline reasons for targeting Loughborough University, where he had been on work experience.

“It is a reference which may be informative and may in fact be rather chilling,” said Mr Hill.

Mr Hill said the teenager claimed he still had a university uniform which could potentially help gain access to certain areas which most people would not be allowed into.

The boy wanted to target the Reel Cinema in Castle Market, Loughborough, because of ‘the attitude of the staff and the prices of items’, the court heard.

He selected his sixth form college as a possible target if they did not accept him on his GCSE results.

In text messages to one of his co-defendants, the teen is said to further outline his racist ideology.

‘What black friends? I have hardly any friends and they don’t belong here,’ he says.

‘It’s called nationalism mate,’ he continues.

‘Don’t believe the propaganda on the news and on the street. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your race and being willing to fight for it.’

He also writes in his notebook: ‘I don’t hate all Muslims, just the extremists, and the ones who think they can come to our country and do what they like.’

The trial continues.


Sep 8 2013

Heavy manners in Tower Hamlets

The EDL are being very quiet about their latest failure this morning. Yesterday a pitiful 600 of their foot soldiers turned up for their latest “big one”, a demonstration that never had a chance of getting to Tower Hamlets. “Top boy” Tiny Tommy was arrested (to be debriefed by his handlers no doubt) at the end of the demo and several of the cannon fodder were nicked for carrying offensive weapons and fighting the police. Over a thousand people attended an anti-fascist rally at Altab Ali park and several hundred marched off in defiance of police restrictions. A group of over 100 actually made it to the EDL’s route before being kettled. Despite all of their macho bravado, the EDL were easily contained by the police but anti-fascists were much more effective.

AFN

The EDL is obsessed with the London borough, home to the East London Mosque and a large Muslim population. The last time they tried to go to Tower Hamlets, in 2011, they had 1,500 marchers on their side. Locals and anti-fascists made sure that they did not pass. This time the police drafted in a massive 3,000 officers to make sure that everything was locked down and resorted to the extremist tactic of arresting all 240 anti-fascists who were kettled near Tower Bridge and on Commercial Road. The charge? Disobeying the police!

Meanwhile, some fascist Leicester Casuals were also getting nicked. They’d decided to venture into the belly of the beast, the “no go area for whites” they’re always fantasising about and trying to control their terror as they passed the East London Mosque. Apparently, all the Muslim youth did was “chomped at us in some far away bongo bongo language” which they reckoned was a massive show of cowardice. Clearly disappointed that no one gave a fuck about them they were relieved to be bundled to safety by the police.

It was also a bad day for Craig Elliot, leader of the Leicester EDL who provides the sound system for EDL demos. He was arrested and held till midnight although he was cautious about saying what for. That will be one to look out for in the coming months.

In summary then, it was a very bad day for the EDL. The “Rigby bounce” has already been squandered, probably because more ordinary people who were duped into coming to their events have worked out what a bunch of racist losers they are and moved on. The turnout was very poor for a much-hyped national demo. They failed to go to Tower Hamlets for a second time. A much bigger and better organised anti-fascist movement turned out to oppose them and did a better job of challenging the police lockdown. The leadership were put under more police pressure with strategic arrests and late night chats in the cells. The EDL ship has no direction and is floundering.

Well done to the Anti-Fascist Network, South London Anti-Fascists and London Anti-Fascists for their great work in mobilising for the day! Solidarity with all anti-fascists arrested under police state laws! And great work by the Green & Black Cross who did some late night legal support for the arrested comrades.


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.

 

 


Mar 27 2013

Leicester Nirvana FC take a stand against racism

Leicester Nirvana FC have fought against all manner of racism over the years, both on the pitch and from the authorities. The club, based in inner city Leicester, is made up of predominantly black and Asian players who have faced abuse from rival players and fans as well as being continually overlooked by the local authorities. Now they have compiled a report called Racism and Resistance which chronicling the club’s experiences and how their players have struggled to better themselves, in spite of the prejudice they have faced. Well worth a read!

LeicesterNirvana


Feb 19 2013

Pig’s head man gets off

Liam Ferrar, the man who put a pig’s head at the door of a community centre used by a Muslim group, has escaped jail. Ferrar, a prominent member of the EDL-led Forgotten Estates group was given a suspended 12 week jail sentence and ordered to do 250 hours community service and pay costs. Ferrar pleaded guilty to religiously-motivated harassment in January.

Whilst much was made in court about Ferrar’s remorse and how he’ll never do it again, the act was clearly premeditated. He obtained the head many months before the act and kept it in his freezer.

That said, it’s a good thing that Ferrar wasn’t jailed. Leicester EDL would have loved to have had a martyr for their cause and would have been banging on to anyone who’d listen about their fabled “two-tier justice system” and how the CPS are all communists. Importantly, As Salaam’s imam made a statement to the effect that they were satisfied that justice had been done and it is good that no one had to go through the dehumanising experience of prison.

The EDL, however, are baying for blood about another incident:

LeicesterEDL 120213At first glance this looks like another made up story, like the one about a cross being covered up by Muslims from August. However, this one seems to have an element of truth to it:

CraigWelbourne 140213

It seems as though the incident was a) nothing to do with the people who hired the hall and b) resolved to the satisfaction of the injured party. All done and dusted by the looks of it. It’s also hardly comparable to the pig’s head incident which was clearly a premeditated attempt to intimidate the Muslim community, given the particular significance of the pig to Muslims and the context of ongoing protests in which Muslims claimed to have been abused and intimidated. There is no evidence of premeditation or intimidation in this church hall incident and you can bet the EDL would be shouting it from the rooftops if they’d found some.

This is just another bit of hypocrisy from the EDL, who always moan about the police force, filling their profiles with ‘1312’/’ACAB’ (All Coppers Are Bastards) posts when ‘their’ people are being arrested and repressed by the police. However, it seems they are quite happy to see arrests and punishment of people they don’t like.

It’s also very strange that they are complaining about the media giving coverage to the Ferrar case but not this rowdy party gone wrong. After all, the Ferrar case only got the amount of coverage it did because of the hysteria the EDL and friends had whipped up around the Thurnby Lodge scout hut and the nightly protests that they instigated. That’s why it was front page news rather than a small crime report buried on page 10. Their own exclusive scoop isn’t really much of a story unless you’re a paranoid anti-Muslim bigot who sees Islamic domination on every street corner.


Jan 26 2013

Pig’s head man had links to EDL

Liam Ferrar has admitted religiously aggravated harassment of the Muslim community after he left a pig’s head at the door of a community centre on Christmas Day.  Much was made of his drunkenness in court, although the act seems to have been premeditated – he acquired the pig’s head during the summer and kept it in his freezer and the As Salaam group’s imam, Mohammed Lockhat had received “malicious communications in relation to pig’s heads and blood” before the head was left.

Ferrar is clearly none too bright. He played a police liaison role during the Thurnby Lodge protests so was well known by police. He carried out the act in full view of CCTV and was easy to identify by officers.

Ferrar was described as a member of the Forgotten Estates group, a group led by EDL activist Chris Hopewell. As if to further underline the central role the EDL have played in the protest movement, well known EDL drunkard James Elliott has also been arrested on charges relating to unauthorised protests against As Salaam this week. Members of the Muslim group have claimed that protestors have been intimidating and used racist language against them.

Unfortunately, Forgotten Estates have been rewarded for their threatening behaviour. Earlier this month, Leicester Mayor Peter Soulsby agreed  to give Forgotten Estates the lease on the disused Scout hut that had been promised to As Salaam without paying rent for 2 and a half years. The idea that an EDL-run organisation will provide a centre that welcomes the whole community is laughable.


Dec 29 2012

Pig head attack on Thurnby Lodge Muslims

A pig’s head was left at the doors to a community centre where Muslims pray on Boxing Day. The Thurnby Lodge Community Centre in Leicester is currently used by the As Salaam group whose controversial plans to takeover a disused Scout Hut in the area met with protests this summer. Muslims attending the regular prayer sessions have said they have been intimidated by the protestors, although the groups involved have claimed that their motives are not racist.

A Muslim who attends the Wednesday prayers at the centre said “Muslims are prohibited from eating pigs and whoever did this obviously knew that and were setting out to be offensive and make fun of something very serious to us.”

The latest news is that three people have been arrested in connection with the incident – a 40-year old woman and two men aged 37 and 46. It will be interesting to see whether there are any familiar faces.

We recently reported on how the main group protesting As Salaam, Forgotten Estates, was headed by a Leicester EDL activist, Chris Hopewell and that the EDL’s local organiser, Craig Elliot had been spotted at demonstrations. The EDL are not the only far right group who tried to exploit tensions between different communities over the affair – Nick Griffin attended protests along with the local BNP and hapless liars, Leicester Casuals United also stuck their oar in.

Infantile “hate crimes” like this are the kind of thing that the far right specialise in – just witness Nottingham EDL’s very similar attack on the site of a mosque in West Bridgford and EDL member Kevin Smith’s efforts in Dudley. However, it now seems as though new generations are apeing the efforts of these racist elders. Recently a 13-year old boy was arrested in connection with a string of racist attacks in Bingham, including putting a ham-wrapped burning cross on the doorstep of a Muslim family.

Academics studying fascism in the UK have suggested that the implosion of the organised political fronts for racism and anti-Muslim prejudice, the BNP and the EDL, is resulting in a rise of “lone-wolf” far right attacks. Without any official demos to go to, racists are acting autonomously to intimidate the people they hate. Indeed, Faith Matters have recorded 496 self-reported Islamophobic incidents in the past nine months of which 1 in 10 was against a mosque. It seems that, as their organisations collapse, racists are going back to taking matters into their own hands.


Oct 31 2012

Forgotten Estates and the EDL

Remember Thurnby Lodge – the Leicester estate abandoned by the local council until protests irrupted over plans to convert an old scout hut into an Islamic community centre? Well protests are still ongoing although the numbers turning out have dwindled significantly. Unsurprisingly, the far right hoped to exploit the issue to further their own anti-Muslim agenda and the BNP, EDL, Casuals United and 212 all descended like hungry vultures. Since then, evidence has emerged that demonstrates just how pivotal the EDL are in the campaign, which has publicly distanced itself from far right politics.

Leicester UAF have published an article exposing the links between the EDL and the Forgotten Estates protest group which has set itself up as the voice of Thurnby Lodge estate. It turns out that the leader of Forgotten Estates is none other than Chris ‘EMI’ Hopewell, a Leicester EDL member who proudly identifies as an East Midlands Infidel. Hopewell was pictured in the Leicester Mercury handing a Forgotten Estates petition to Leicester Mayor, Peter Soulsby, last month. Leicester EDL organiser, Craig Elliott and notorious drunkard, James Elliott, have also been involved in the protests, which they have used to prop up their own flagging organisation.

Chris ‘EMI’ Hopewell – leader of Forgotten Estates

As Leicester UAF put it:

The group have been drawing in people who normally wouldn’t touch the EDL with a barge pole, by giving the impression that their protests are driven by community spirit.

There is no doubt that in the early days, working class resistance to the dictates of the city council certainly were an important motivator in the campaign, but now, thanks to the EDL’s role, Forgotten Estates is focusing on the anti-Muslim element.

Unlike the UAF, we reckon that most people aren’t foolish enough to be taken in by the EDL’s hijacking of the group and have abandoned the protests rather than being associated with the far right agenda of Forgotten Estates. A recent post on Leicester EDL’s page illustrates their disappointment at not being able to get more political capital out of this Trojan horse.

The EDL in Leicester have gone from being one of the bigger, more active divisions to struggling on the ropes, a situation that reflects the national picture of the far right group. The Thurnby Lodge protests seemed like an ideal opportunity for them to inject their anti-Muslim poison into a genuinely popular, grassroots movement, but it seems they’ve even managed to fuck that one up.