The EDL's visit to Liverpool ended in humiliation, reports Madeline Heneghan
Despite having an unprecedented level of police protection the EDL were prevented from marching through the streets of Liverpool on Saturday, echoing the failure of the 'White Man March' last year when fascists were humiliated by the people of Liverpool, refusing to let such happen in our streets. On this occasion, the EDL's horrific attempt to exploit last week's Manchester bombing ended in clear failure.
Fortuitously, the road I took to get to the city centre passed the pub where the EDL were gathering, downing their pre-march pints whilst shielded by a police cordon. There were a few guys across the road that I recognised. They told us that the anti-Nazi protest was being kettled on the steps of Lime Street station. As we rounded the corner onto Lime Street I was astounded by the number of police vans and officers stationed around the station and St George's Hall, while police dogs could be heard barking from inside the vans. Over 1000 anti-Nazi protesters were on the steps of Lime Street station, lively with drummers and chanting from people of all ages and backgrounds.
Protesters were under the impression that the EDL would come out of the station, but as word quietly got round through whispers, texts and Facebook posts that they had arrived by coach and were being marched in a different direction, people quietly slipped past the cordon in ones and twos. When the police brought them down Lime Street, protesters rushed to block their way. Standing toe to toe with a double line of police chanting ‘whose streets? our streets’, protesters blocked the road. The police pushed us back and then came their horses. Still, it took roughly an hour for the EDL protest, flanked by police on all sides, to make a progress of 100 yards. Then something amazing happened. One woman laid down in the road, in front of the police horses and officers with the EDL behind them. She brought the police to a halt and they didn't seem to know what to do.
The march came to a stand still as more anti-Nazi protesters surrounded the EDL and the police, chanting ‘Liverpool, Liverpool Liverpool’ and shouting ‘we're not English, we're Scousers’ and ‘if it wasn't for the police you'd be dead'. Bob Marley’s Don't Worry blasted through the sound system and then, to the delight of thousands, the police and their horses turned around and ordered the EDL into Lime Street station. People cheered and with chants of ‘you're going home', while the police presence that was intended to accompany the EDL on their march through Liverpool city centre, ended up escorting them the 100 yards to the station and out of the city. The EDL arrived in Liverpool to exploit the recent terrorist attack in Manchester but returned home with their tails between their legs.