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On Saturday 21 May we were setting up our Socialist Workers Party stall as usual. We heard that Britain First were holding an anti-EU stall near the clock tower. The SWP supports a vote to leave but obviously when Britain First are using the referendum to spread their racist lies we were mortified that they were in Leicester. Particularly at the moment because there’s a great sense of unity in the City due to Leicester City winning the premiership.
We decided to move our table directly in front of the Britain First stall – there were about 12 of them. Obviously this didn’t go down too well with the BF and there was a bit of pushing and shoving and our table was damaged in the process. However this drew attention to the stall and passers-by started gathering around us.
Paul Golding and his thugs were calling us the usual stuff – traitors, unwashed, anti-British, etc. But people around us were responding well to us saying they were racist. BF have a large online presence and people generally know what they are really about but might not have the confidence to say it.
By the time the police showed up there was a bit of a crowd around the BF stall – about 30-40 against Britain First as you can see on our video below, insults were exchanged etc, Paul Golding was filming a lot on his camera. A few of us were intervening in conversations their activists were having with locals – exposing them for what they are – racists and fascists.
Paul Golding went on a bit of a rant about Britain being a shit-hole at which point someone said ‘why don’t you leave then’ and he replied because it’s his country. At one point an anti-badger culling protest passed behind the BF stall – there was probably a couple of hundred people on it. By around 2.30 the crowd had began to dwindle a bit – there was about 10 police officers standing in front of the BF stall. A few people were stopping to see what was going on. We’d agreed not to leave until Britain First had gone.
By about 3pm a group from the anti-badger culling demo that had passed earlier marched onto the scene. This bolstered the crowd – we all started chanting various anti-fascists songs. This also meant more people were stopping to see what was happening. By now BF looked visibly shaken. The police had to increase their numbers and form a cordon around them to escort them out of the city centre with the crowd shouting ‘don’t come back’, ‘racist scum’ at them as they walked off.
Leicester has always had good mobilisations against the fascists. We had large demos against the EDL a few years ago and everyone round here knows what happened to the NF in the 70s – we’re anything but complacent when it comes to these Fascist groups. However, this was the biggest impromptu demo we have seen since the EDL had a flash mob against a Muslim stall at the clock tower back in 2011. It turned out to be a humiliating defeat for Britain First and we would like to thank everyone who stuck their necks out and got involved.
They are on tour at the moment so lets make sure they get the ‘welcome’ they deserve in every city they show up in.