BNP members Mark McGarry (centre with camera) & Joseph Finnie (far-right)
Saturday 18 September saw a hugely successful day of anti-fascist direct action against the racist thugs of the BNP and the Scottish Defence League – both of whom attempted to carry out public activity in Glasgow on the day.
September 18 was originally the day the SDL were planning to hold a march from Blytheswood Square to the Cenotaph in George Square. With this route being denied by the council – who offered them a static protest instead – the SDL announced that the march was cancelled and re-applied for one in the east end of the city in November.
In light of the events of last weekend, however, when the EDL descended on Oldham in a secret ‘flash mob’ protest, local anti-fascists began to suspect that something similar could be afoot in Glasgow. This was compounded when both the main SDL forum was taken offline, and their facebook page announced that they would be holding a ‘social gathering’ in a city centre pub on the day. Acting on these fears, activists from the Scottish Anti-Fascist Alliance decided to keep an eye on the city centre over the course of the day, posting scouts at different locations where it was believed the SDL might show up.
However, it soon turned out that the SDL were not the only group of far-right thugs in town that day. At 1pm, a number of BNP activists were spotted in George Square, setting up a stall and posing for photos with their ‘Support our Troops’ banner. They left soon after, but quickly set up again on Buchanan Street. Anti-fascists from across the city quickly mobilised, and by 1.30 there was a small gathering around the stall, preventing the BNP from engaging with the public. Ten minutes later, a larger group of anti-fascist arrived. Within seconds, the stall was smashed up and the BNP material was scattered and destroyed. The 5-6 BNP members were forced to stand beside the ruins of their stall waiting for the police to show up, which they did – about 15 minutes later. After a humiliating half hour of being chanted at by a now large group of passers-by and anti-fascists, the BNP were driven away in a police van for their own safety. A total victory for anti-fascists and, judging from the response from the public, a reaffirmation that Glasgow will not stand for the bigotry and racism of the BNP. This was the first BNP activity in the city centre for almost a year, and apparently the ‘launch of their new campaign’. We don’t think they’ll be back any time soon.
But believe it or not, this was just the beginning of a day of successful direct action against fascism. At 3pm, members of the Scottish Defence League began gathering in The Goose pub on Union Street, next to Central Station. Upon being approached by anti-fascists, they informed them that they’d be going to George Square at 5.30pm, apparently with the intention of assembling at the Cenotaph. Clearly, they were after a confrontation – regardless, though, this doesn’t change the issue at hand: fascist gatherings need to be opposed.
By 5.30pm, small groups of anti-fascists and local youth were assembled around the square. When the 15 or so SDL supporters showed up, a brief confrontation ensued. The crowd of around 100 anti-racists ensured that the SDL did not reach the Cenotaph, while a few fists were thrown in both directions, although it’s understood that no anti-fascists suffered injuries. A large number of police then stepped in and pushed the SDL to one corner of the square, where they were held for a period then removed. The BBC are reporting that a 14 year old was arrested – as far as we know this was for punching an SDL member in the face. One SDL supporter was also lifted for a ‘racist breach of the peace’.
Overall, a massive victory for anti-fascists: two groups of racists thrown off the streets. We didn’t rely on the police, and we didn’t rely on the council or Home Secretary to ban them either. The numbers of anti-fascists weren’t massive, but were swelled by passers by and young people who didn’t want the SDL or the BNP on our streets either. A reassuring confirmation that Glasgow is not a safe space for fascists to engage in public activity.
Anti-democracy COMMUNIST FASCIST REDS set about the BNP
The captured spoils of war!
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