Scottish Defence League routed in Glasgow.
Image by John Lanigan
Almost two months of organising against the Scottish incarnation of the fascist English Defence League paid off yesterday – the SDL were outnumbered 50 to 1 by anti-fascist demonstrators, unable to march and spent most of the day kettled in a pub in Glasgow. Earlier fears of the SDL marching on Glasgow Central Mosque, attacking anti-war and pro-Palestine stalls on Buchanan St or assembling in George Square were unfounded thanks to the presence of well over a thousand anti-fascist demonstrators.
While the SDL spent their whole day stuck in the Cambridge Bar anti-fascist demonstrators had freedom to march all across Glasgow in what were effectively illegal marches. It was this presence which stopped the police from allowing the SDL any kind of demonstration in Glasgow, bar a pathetic 60 pace “march” outside the Cambridge Bar to police lines. The SDL themselves had to be taken out on double decker buses for their own safety.
Theres lots of things we could have done differently on the day – there was a split in the demo between those who wanted to stay at the Cambridge where the SDL were and those who went to Glasgow Green.
SSY members and GU Left Society members argued throughout the build up to this demo that we should have a mobilisation in the city centre early on in the day, as the SDL planned to demonstrate in the city centre well before the Scotland United rally. Having a rally away from the city centre and after the SDL were due to turn up therefore couldn’t be the only way to confront the SDL. At first UAF opposed the 10am kick off but later came round to supporting it.
The split in the demo between those who went to the Green and stayed at Cambridge is a lesson for any future demos the SDL or the far-right try to organise; many people did not stay at the Cambridge because the SDL presence there was tiny, and it was believed they would try to hold a larger rally later on in George Square. That made getting kettled outside the Cambridge an unattractive prospect, especially as there were rumours 100 SDL supporters would be coming in on the Trains at 12 to assemble in George Square.
As it happened the only SDL presence was in the Cambridge and in retrospect the demo could have stayed there for most if not all of the day. If part of the demo had to split off for speakers etc then in the future it should be somewhere much closer to the SDL – for example George Square.
Despite this the day was a resounding success, the SDL were totally unable to march or advertise themselves or their message. Just take a look at their comments on their Facebook group – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&ref=search&gid=227558430152
The free march the EDL had in Luton was totally denied to the SDL.
SDL’s tiny “demo” kettled by the police
This wasn’t just down to a large anti-fascist mobilisation but a mobilisation which was committed to meeting in the city centre and confronting them – not simply going to the Green. SSY comrades played no small part in many of the meetings in the build up to this demo in arguing and promoting that city centre confrontation and we should be proud of our role in making sure the SDL had a bad day in Glasgow.