On Saturday the EDL protested in Rochdale again. Recent demonstrations they have held have been poorly attended.They were under the impression that this one could get more of a turnout.The recent trial in Rochdale and the media interest over "grooming " would have given them their best chance for a good crowd,so they thought.The Daily Mail amongst others had done much to stir things up.The reality was that for months there had been a slow drip of information emerging about the case so that when the verdicts came through, and with it all the sordid details, that although depressing were hardly shocking.
In the end the 5-600 EDL that some people feared did not materialise.It was closer to half that number.It was the old guard bussed in and no local support.The lack of any local support is due to the sterling work done by anti-fascists in the locality,and further evidence of the inexorable slide in the EDL's support.
Report by Unite Against Fascism :
The racist thugs of the English Defence League (EDL) shipped in some 300 of its supporters to Rochdale, Lancashire on Saturday 9 June as part of its ongoing attempt to stir up racism against Muslims.
Apart from a few curious onlookers, locals shunned the so-called demonstration.
The EDL is shamelessly trying to exploit the Rochdale grooming case — where a gang of Asian men were found guilty of exploiting vulnerable young women for sex — to revive its flagging fortunes
This cynical move is not about caring for the victims of crime, but an attempt by the EDL to push its agenda of hatred, division and fear.
ArrestsTen members of the EDL were arrested after they tried to break out of the police pen to attack two Asian youths who wondered by.
The thin numbers it mobilised for Rochdale shows the continuing decline of the EDL since its humiliation in Tower Hamlets in September last year. The thugs planned their “big one” with an attempted march on the East London Mosque, but never stepped foot in the borough following a huge counter demonstration.
Since then, the racist street movement has been dogged by splits and internal fighting, with one faction known as the “Infidels” distributing a leaflet that accused EDL leader Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) of being a “pedophile” after he described a 15-year-old Muslim woman as “fit” on his twitter account.
The EDL demonstration in Rochdale consisted of marching around a roundabout in the pouring rain chanting offensive anti-Muslim insults.
Robinson hectored his supporters about the “evils” of Islam. Holding up a copy of the Koran, the Muslim holy book, Robinson screamed “shall we burn it” to the delight of his supporters.
Counter protestAcross town some 90 locals joined a counter protest organised by Rochdale Unity. The rally was supported by Sir Gerald Kaufman MP, Manchester Trades Council, Bolton Trades Council, TFGM Unison Branch Executive, UNITE Fujitsu Manchester reps committee, and Greater Manchester UAF. Picture: UAF rally
Rochdale Unity said in a statement:
“We condemn the cynical and dangerous attempt by racists and fascists in the English Defence League and British Nationalist Party to manipulate the horrific case of the sexual exploitation of young women in Rochdale in order to stir up Islamophobia and racial hatred in our community.”