Far-right groups, namely The English Defence League and Britain First, have organised a “march against terrorism” after the attack in Parliament Square. The man responsible, Khalid Masood, killed 5 and injured a further 50 people, it was later confirmed that the man in question had a long history of domestic violence and drug use. Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the EDL, came out shortly after the event to attack Muslim migration to the UK on the “the rebel media”.
“we’re at war”
Robinson, pictured, spoke to reporters at parliament, saying:“the reality is this is a war, these people are waging war on us, this is nothing new, and the whole time this goes on, police leaders or political leaders want to invite more! They want to invite more!”
As tensions mounted over the nature of the march, The Antifascist Network and Unite Against Racism organised a counter-protest. In a statement released by London antifascists, they expressed that the far-right groups hoped to exploit the attack “to rebuild their failing movements off the blood and tears shed by ordinary people, they would use this attack to justify their own brand of jackbooted terror against the Muslim population of this country.”
Trafalgar Square, Westminster, 1pm:
At 1 pm on April 1st, an estimated 500 anti-fascists and UAF protestors grouped at Trafalgar square; the counter-protest was surrounded by a large police presence.
“This isn’t what London is about“
As CUB magazine approached the counter demonstration, we spoke to a “United Against Fascism” demonstrator (use subtitles: cc):
Tommy Robinson accompanied by his co-reporter, Caolan Robertson, after running into the centre of the counter protest, triggered an uproar from the protestors, who followed Tommy chanting “Fascist scum, off our streets!”. The police then forcibly separated antifascists protestors from Tommy and Caolan, threatening Tommy with arrest for breach of the peace should he return to the counter-protest.
At this point the police aggressively instigated a kettle, slamming antifascists protestors into a wall, while spraying pepper spray into the enraged crowd, who chanted “who protects the fascists? The police protect the fascists.”
“Shame on you!“
Most of the counter-protest remained peaceful, however, the police’s use of mace drew some resistance, resulting in 2 arrests. The protestors were then forced down Whitehall in a kettle, while the road was blocked off to drivers.
“You’re nicked mate!“
As the counter protest began to reach the end point at Victoria Embankment, police attempted to close the alleyways which could connect the upcoming march to the counter-protest. Police officers formed lines in the alley way closing in on antifascists, ripping out two from the crowd and then arresting them:
As Britain First and the EDL marched into Trafalgar square, police vans stormed into Northumberland Avenue, where the march would formally begin, the police then formed three lines, to seal off the march from the counter protest. It was later confirmed that large sections of the march were absent after being detained in a pub 200 meters away for unruly behavior
“Go back to your country!!“
The press quickly followed the march, a number of Britain First marchers turned to yell at our reporter and a hijabi Muslim girl standing close by to “go back to your country” and “terrorist scum, off our streets”
CUB magazine approached Tommy Robinson, who was being monitored closely by police, to question whether he was using the attack to “opportunistically push a divisive narrative”, Tommy responded briefly saying:
“I’m not part of the march, if you go through the history, to be honest, I’ve never really got on with the leadership of this organisation, I’m just here to report truthfully”
“I’ve seen a peaceful march on the left, and on the other side; people wearing face masks coming to attack me, will the media report that? Of course not.”
Tommy Robinson and his camera crew then proceeded to interview counter-protestors:
“Racist Scum, off our streets!“
Both the march and the counter-protest finished at the Embankment, separated 100 metres by fences and armed police officers. Later, as Britain First and the EDL returned back to Charing Cross Train station, protestors surrounded the station:
“You can block me off your Facebook page, but you can’t block me here“
“Who killed Jo Cox? You killed Jo Cox!”
(use subtitles: cc)