As many as 4,000 EDL supporters took to the street on Saturday, July 20th to protest against radical Islam in Birmingham. A message was sent to Islamists in England’s second city that terrorism and Muslim expansionism will not be tolerated.
The day began with a gathering at Bar Risa on Broad Street for a pre-demo pint. Supporters gathered outside the bar showing their patriotism with English flags chanting “I’m English ‘till I die.” The owners of Bar Risa announced they would donate the profits from the gathering (around £1,500) to the Midlands Air Ambulance, a charity helicopter emergency medical service.
A short march along Broad Street brought supporters to Birmingham city centre where the main demonstration and speeches took place. The event was largely peaceful, although per standard operating procedure, police allowed the UAF (Unite Against Fascism) to gather within bottle-throwing distance of the EDL and a few objects were hurled in each direction.
Masked men, some wearing bandanas over their faces and others with balaclavas rushed at riot police in an effort to get to the EDL demo… Officers in full protective anti-riot gear and wielding batons restrained themselves amid serious provocation by anarchist elements who had joined the Unite Against Fascism demo.
Despite this, scuffles with police were minor, with a total of 20 arrests being made. Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe said of the demonstration, “…It is reassuring to see that both demonstrations have largely passed off without serious incident…Most people who came to Birmingham to go about their daily business in the shopping areas would have done so without having been greatly affected by the protests…”
Speeches were made by French counter-jihadist Yann Valerie, LGBT division member Tommy English, a former member of the British armed forces, as well as Kevin Carroll and Tommy Robinson. Tommy’s speech was exuberant, opening with a quote by UAF Vice Chairman Azid Ali stating that British soldiers were “legitimate targets” and Ali’s admission that he had once been a protégé of al Qaeda affiliate Abu Qatada. Tommy stated the reason for the demonstration was the problem of endemic extremism in Birmingham as exemplified by the six men arrested for planning to blow up the EDL demonstration in Dewsbury. The would-be bombers gave as the justification for their planned attack the fact that the Qur’an mandates blasphemy laws and that anyone who blasphemes Allah should be killed. Tommy also mentioned that not long ago 30,000 Muslims marched in Birmingham demanding such blasphemy laws.
Tommy said he had heard that several Nazis had slipped into the demonstration. For the umpteenth time, he reiterated the EDL’s policy toward Fascism and Nazism.
There’s a lady here today, a Caribbean lady, who’s flown here today from the British Virgin Islands…We have West Indian youth here today, we have Sikhs here today, and it is out of respect to every one of those communities that Nazis are the enemy. You will be treated as the enemy. And the fact that we’re four years in and you still haven’t got the message that you’re not welcome on the streets with the English Defence League is disgraceful.
For the record, these “Nazis” had earlier been unceremoniously drummed out of the demonstration.
While making a point about Michael Adebolajo misquoting the Qur’an after he killed Lee Rigby, chants of “Hero!” and “There’s only one Lee Rigby” rose from the crowd. Tommy stated this about British soldiers in harm’s way; “We have to remember it’s not 120 degrees. We’re not 6,000 miles from our families. And there’s zero chance we’re going to drive over a bomb today which is what our armed forces are putting up with every day. God bless every one of them.”
Other topics Tommy covered were the problem of Muslim grooming gangs in Birmingham, support for the EDL among British armed forces, and the fact that CCTV cameras put up by counterterrorism units in Sparkbrook and Alum Rock were taken down after pressure by the Muslim community.
Across police lines, a small group of about 200 members of the radical-left UAF were huddled. In pre-demo online heroics, the UAF had threatened to field thousands and block the EDL demonstration. Apparently their members were too busy to show up. Saturday is bath-day for many UAF members, after all. The dismal showing left many UAF members with looks of dejected disappointment. The only signs of life came from the dozen-or-so members of the ‘English Disco Lovers’, who introduced some 70’s funk into proceedings. We do hope they plan to turn up to more of our demonstrations – they’re far more fun than the likes of the UAF.
After the failure of the counter-demonstration, the far-Left Socialist Workers Party put out a call for supporters to help swell the ranks of the UAF. UAF Joint Chairman Weyman Bennett, in a fit of desperation, was quoted as saying, “Today is a warning. The racist EDL can still mobilise big numbers. We cannot be complacent. We need UAF groups rooted in every town.”
The plea for reinforcements will likely fall on deaf ears, as even the far-Left begin to challenge the mindless and prejudiced assumption that EDL supporters are racist. Opposition to Islamic extremism is not racist, nor is it fascist. It is those who assume otherwise who are really guilty of prejudice
All told, the EDL demonstration was a success. It showed the government that the EDL is a force to be reckoned with, and showed Islamic radicals in Birmingham that the English people will not cower in fear of violent extremism. A lot of work is yet to be done in Birmingham. The plague of radicalism persists in neighbourhoods like Sparkbrook, Sparkhill and Alum Rock. The English Defence League is committed to countering this radicalism and we will be back.