Odd disturbances in Birmingham

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33 people were arrested yesterday as two protests took place in Birmingham city centre.

The original protest was organised in opposition to Islamic fundamentalism. It seems to have been put together by football firms calling themselves the ‘English Defence League’. Some of those supporting the EDL are claiming not to be at all racist. But others have been advertising the protest on the neo-Nazi website Stormfront. 

Then there were the counter-protesters organised by Unite Against Fascism.

Local Birmingham blog The Stirrer praises the police handling of the protests and reports that “no significant incidents of disorder appear to have occurred”.

Characteristically, the Daily Mail talks of “mass brawls” and “race riots”. Photos accompanying the Mail’s report do not necessarily show mass brawls but do suggest that some serious incidents of disorder did indeed occur.

My thoughts:

1) Football hooligans gathering together in public places and singing the national anthem aren’t actually doing anything to combat Islamic extremism in this country. When neo-Nazis become involved their claims to be not racist are blown out of the water.

2) Race riots help nobody except the BNP, so if UAF can’t keep control of their demonstrations they should not hold them in the first place as they run the risk of being counterproductive.

3) If the left was able to do a better job of promoting community cohesion and Muslim integration and of denouncing Islamic extremism (anti-fascist campaigns could broaden their efforts to include clerical-fascists) then perhaps there would be less chance of people turning to racists such as the BNP and the moronic chauvinists of groups like the EDL.

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