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On the 23rd February, myself and three comrades travelled down to Cambridge to oppose the EDL demo in the city centre. The fascists were using the proposal for a ‘super-mosque’ on Mill Road as an excuse to travel to Cambridge, spreading their messages of hate and attempting to divide the community. Thankfully, their turnout was pathetic and their protest was hardly worth the police officers who facilitated it.
We gathered at Petersfield at midday for a rally, with various speeches from Cambridge councillors, a member of We Are Norwich, a member of the Muslim Council of Cambridge and Weyman Bennett, amongst others. Local MP Julian Heppert reinforced the message of the day; ”I want to make it very clear that they’re not welcome here.” We stopped for a few minutes during the call for prayer from our Muslim comrades, and then we started our march.
Up to 1000 anti-fascists, students, workers, Trade Unionists, councillors and members of the local community united for the anti-EDL demo. We had a lively protest, with lots of chanting and singing. We were joined by the English Disco League, a new parody group who brought with them a sound-system on wheels and banged out disco hits such as ‘Love Train’ and ‘Night Fever’, adding a fun tone to the march and attracting shoppers and passers-by. I spoke to Naizah, a year 10 student from Cambridge, who said ”it’s great to see so many of us and so few of them today! A lot of my friends get scared when they hear about the EDL but I know we can always go one better than them.”
We marched through the high streets of the city centre and onto Christ’s Pieces Park where the EDL were stationed in their static protest. There were around 30 fascists fully enclosed by metal barriers, it wasn’t clear if they were EDL members or just pigs in a pen. Many of them were slurring as they shouted and struggling to stand up straight. We slowed our protest down and drowned them out with chants of ”EDL go to hell, take your nazi mates as well” and ”Can you hear the fascists sing? No, I can’t hear a bloody thing.”
Our march ended back at Petersfield, where we were provided with free food and drinks by the Mosque from Mill Road. The police marched the EDL back to the train station in a moving kettle, so they could scuttle back to the various places round the country they’d come from. Only four days before the EDL protest, Marine Le Pen had spoken at Cambridge Union and she was met with a protest of several hundred students, trade unionists and locals outside the building. The protesters denounced Cambridge Union for giving yet another fascist a platform, and the resistance resulted in Le Pen having to be smuggled out of a side entrance by bodyguards. Whilst the feeling around each anti-fascist protest was different and attracted different groups, we must make it clear that a fascist in a suit and a fascist in a tracksuit are one of the same – we build against fascists wherever they stand and however they present themselves.