The racist, fascist group the South West Infidels called a demonstration in Bristol for last Saturday. In the end they mustered only around 20 people, stumbling out of the pub and up the road under heavy police protection. They were outnumbered by ten to one by anti-fascist counter-demonstrators. Socialist Party members were among them as we tried to prevent the fascists from marching, spreading their message of hate and posing a threat, especially to anyone who isn't white. We also took part in a demonstration of 250 earlier in the day, opposing racism and supporting the rights of refugees. The far-right were comprehensively beaten in terms of support in Bristol.
The pathetic spectacle of the fascist demo would not have even been possible if not for the extraordinary lengths the police went to protect them and allow them to march. The police spent £100,000 policing the day to make it happen, drawing in support from surrounding forces. Hundreds of police tried to prevent counter-demonstrators even reaching the fascists. Police officers and vans surrounded the fascists to protect them while police dogs and horses were used to clear anti-fascists from blocking their path. At the end of their march they were shepherded behind a huge, solid metal wall that surrounded the whole of College Green. They were joined inside by Stoney Garnett, who stood in the recent mayoral election as an independent. It seems that once inside they were then put behind another fence, just to make sure! (see below)
Questions must be asked of why the police did so much to help them march. They've never shown the same degree of willing towards other demonstrations, in fact they've put obstacles in the way of their being organised. They've claimed in the past that they didn't have the resources even to simply help manage traffic to help keep anti-cuts demonstrators safe. Police have tried to charge organisers of St Pauls Carnival for their operations on carnival day. This has meant that this hugely popular African Caribbean festival which brings together thousands of people of all backgrounds isn't happening properly again this year. How can the police justify these double standards?
As they left with chants of "Nazi scum - off our streets!" still ringing in their ears the 'Infidels' must have known they're not welcome in Bristol. However we will remain vigilant for any attempts to return and will try to make sure the anti-fascist and workers' movements in Bristol are as well organised as possible to drive them away.