Emergency resolution: anti-EDL demonstration, Bolton

The following resolution, submitted by Jubilee South & East London Line branch and seconded by Hammersmith & City branch, was carried unanimously by the March meeting of the Regional Council.

This region notes:

Thousands of UAF supporters gathered in Bolton to oppose the English Defence League on Saturday. The protest was strengthened by striking taxi workers protesting at the EDL coming to their city. It was a magnificent display of anti-fascism. We outnumbered the EDL by 4 to 1.

Just like Cable Street and Welling, it was not the fascist and racist thugs we had to deal with – it was the police.

Even before our protest had begun the police had decided that anti racists were the problem. They did everything they could to intimidate anti fascist protesters and to stop local people attending the protest.

Hundreds of Asian youths were blocked from joining the protest and were held under Section 16. Police and child protection officers walked through our protest warning parents that if they did not leave with their children they would be reported.

Hours before the EDL arrived in Victoria Square the police launched a series of savage attacks on the protesters - they brought out horses and police dogs and assaulted protesters.

They charged into our protest snatching leading members of UAF. At least 64 UAF protesters were arrested. But 60 of those were either released without charge or were given an £80 fixed penalty charge. This is a violation of the right to protest.

It was obvious to everyone on the demo that the police were targeting leading members of UAF. Weyman Bennett, the joint secretary of UAF, was snatched by police and has been arrested and is on police bail charged with “conspiracy to cause violent disorder”.

Likewise the secretary of Manchester UAF was arrested, whilst she was in the cells the police took her house keys without informing her and went to her home and confiscated her computer and files. They used a section of the prevention of terrorism act to legally justify this!

For hours protesters held their ground – outside the police kettle hundreds of protesters were stopped from joining the main protest. However, the situation changed when suddenly hundreds of Asian youth pushed through the police lines joining the UAF protesters in the square. A huge cheer went up and thousands chanted “No Pasaran”.

The police panicked and started to drive the EDL protesters out of the square and towards the train station.

The day ended with many Boltonians cheering on UAF protesters as they marched through the streets of Bolton chanting “Whose streets? – our streets!” The police issued a press statement complaining that UAF were holding a spontaneous victory march without their permission!

This Region resolves

• To support and build for all mobilisations called against the EDL (The details of the next protest are as follows: Saturday 3rd April, 11am, Market Place Dudley)

• To support the People's inquiry into the police in Bolton: (UAF will be submitting evidence to this panel and will invite all other interested parties to give evidence. The hearing will be open to all members of the public).

• To support and financially contribute to the “Defend Weyman Bennett” defence campaign.

• Help activists pay their fines: Around 30 activists were issued with £80 fixed penalty fines. UAF groups will be putting on socials to raise money to help people pay their fines. We should support and financially contribute to these socials.

• Re-double our efforts against the BNP including against Nick Griffin's General Election campaign in Barking and Dagenham.

To submit this motion urgently to the Council of Executives