The anti fascists need the SDL at the Scottish Parliament (photos)
TO Edinburgh, where the Scottish Defence League, scion of the EDL, have held a static rally outside the Scottish Parliament after the council denied permission for a full demonstration. Their shouting was met by a rival protest by anti-fascists. It can be hard to see which side is the least tolerant. The Socialist Worker signs demanded an end to Islamophobia. This is the SW that noted: “I would suggest that perhaps we should face it once and for all: the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus who, by the way, was himself a Palestinian Jew”, think Hezbollah are ok and backed the bigoted Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt. Fair enough. It’s all about freedom of expression.
The other thing about the SDL is that ther wer only about 60 of them. There wer around 300 on the Unite Against Fascism march. If it wasn’t for the anti-fascists, the SDL would have been a small group of people stood by a closed building on a Saturday afternoon. Easy to ignore.
“Far right extremist group the Scottish Defence League has been banned from a proposed march amid claims an attempt had been made to recruit football casuals. The SDL had applied to hold a procession from East Market Street to the Scottish Parliament on September 29.
“Leaders said they wanted to hold the event to call for justice over the deaths of murdered Blackpool teenager Charlene Downes and Robert Fleeting, who was found hanged at an RAF base in Oxfordshire last year. However, the march has now been scrapped after the council meeting was shown video footage posted on the SDL’s Facebook page calling for football casuals to join the fight to ‘destroy Islam’.SDL regional organiser Graham Walker said they were not behind the inflammatory video and insisted it should have no bearing on a decision over the march.We can’t stop what goes up on Facebook. It’s cleaned up every single day. We have nothing to do with Nazi-ism – that video has been removed and then reposted…
“But William Black, of United Against Fascism said: “They [the SDL] wish to bring together all the casual football hooligans in Scotland in one group to attack Muslims – they are tattooed with swastikas.”
Although a representative from the police said that there had been no public disorder at the last three SDL events, Gavin Barrie of the licensing sub-committee, which determines whether protests should be allowed to go ahead, expressed concerns about the protest citing the nature of the video posted on the SDL Facebook page.
Do the left-wing groups who see anti-fascism as, perhaps, their one unifying cause, not worry that if it’s so easy to ban an SDL march, they could be next? In countering extremism, we should take care not to counter hard-won freedoms.