SDL and the Edinburgh Anti Fascist Alliance
Scottish Socialist Party on the EAFA march, February 20th 2010, Edinburgh
The Scottish Defence League which is basically the English Defence League in Scotland thought they would have a rally in Edinburgh, they tried this last year in Glasgow and were stopped from marching however managed to occupy a wee bit of the pavement. In Edinburgh there were two demonstrations the Edinburgh Anti Fascist Alliance which took a more occupy the streets, no platform for fascists stance and Scotland United/United Against Fascism which was part of a broad movement to have a demonstration and rally.
I would like to say from the start I am of the opinion both demonstrations were necessary and had merit - as I think you can ride to bicycles in the circus.
To cut a very long story short the EAFA lent up having an unofficial demo and marched to the Canongate to a pub opposite the Scottish Parliament where some SDL bods had mananged to hole themselves up in. EAFA marched there but on the way there there was the usual "splitters" "the movement's demonstration is here" argument that always happens when nazis are about. At one point one of the organisers of the Scotland United march ran after the EAFA and then demanded that they come back and do what they were told. Which resulted in a debate and argument quite literally on the street in fact at one of the major junctions on the road that really the marchers wanted to go to Jenny Ha's pub!
After a humiliating defeat the organisers of other march (i.e. SWP and their kith and kin) went off.
Anyway about 300 people went down to the Canongate and the fascists were not allowed to leave the pub at about 4 O clock they were taken away by the police and three were arrested for inciting racial hatred and to incite a fight. There was no arrests of EAFA and the demonstration in the Canongate by the ANTI FASCISTS ended in good spirits.
EAFA rally outside Jenny Ha's pub - well to be clear quite a bit of the street because the police had
cordoned it off
Three off the fascists fighting over the back seat - obviously did not complete finishing school
The Scotland United march had an attendance of about 2000 and many of Scotland's great and the good turned up and all in all Edinburgh clearly showed that they did not want fascists parading about in their city.
You can watch a video here of what happened on the day from EAFA perspective.
For the record the Scottish Socialist Party back both initiatives, though fair to say the Scottish Socialist Youth were more involved indeed organisers of the EAFA response.