Usually irony is described as wry. I understand that. Usually it brings a kind of half-smile. The irony of arresting over 160 members of the EDL before they have done a single thing, and when it was well publicized that their intention was nothing more than to show respect for those who fought and died to give and defend freedom to British patriots, well that is a irony that requires at the very least an anti-emetic if not an army sent from Roto-Rooter.
Simply put, arresting people who wanted to attend a ceremony commemorating those who fought for freedom…. makes one wonder who or what actually won the war. Perhaps more accurately, who inherited the Kingdom from those who did win it.
Below, a first hand account from an EDL member who was there…
I arrived at Westminster tube station at around 10.30 am. There was a minimal police presence, even outside the two pubs that I passed that were full of EDL supporters who I recognized. From previous events, I knew the police could quickly surround groups of people and contain them for long periods of time, waiting for an excuse to arrest someone or cause trouble, even if they had to attack people with batons and dogs, like in Rochdale. I didn’t particularly fancy being contained like cattle today, as I was there to pay my respects to our fallen war heroes and experience being at the cenotaph to do it, I didn’t want the police to take this opportunity away from me.
I snaked my way to the back of the Cenotaph, spotting many recognizable faces and EDL supporters doing the same thing, along the way. From my position I was fortunate enough to see lines of heroes in front of me, taking part in the service and the walk from former service personnel to the Cenotaph, which received grateful applause from all.
As the service took place, thousands of people stood silent, listening to every word spoken, hearing of the sacrifices made for the alleged freedoms we enjoy today. ‘For your tomorrow, we gave our today… We WILL remember them’, as these powerful words were spoken, I choked up with emotion, thinking of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who had given their tomorrow, their future and ultimately their life.
After the service, I intended to make my way to the meet point and say hello to some friends, but first I wanted to take a few close up pictures of the Cenotaph and the tributes. As I did this and the crowds dispersed, I could see the large EDL group, still just standing talking amongst themselves with very minimal police around. Then, all of a sudden, as I started to walk back, 6 or 7 police vans with sirens blaring came by and came to a halt outside the pub, the time for the needless and provocative ‘kettle’ had come so I stayed clear watching events from a safe distance. I could hear passers by commenting on the situation ‘Why’s there so many police there?’ ‘What are the police doing?’ ‘Who are the people they are surrounding?’ It was obvious that the public didn’t know it was the EDL whose members were peacefully and respectfully paying homage to our war dead. No colours, no flags, no singing, nothing, but apparently that matters not to the police.
As I looked on, I could still see small groups of recognizable EDL dotted around the Whitehall area, avoiding the aggressive police containment, which now contained dogs (although these were put away again). I rang one of my friends and he said that the police were not allowing anyone to leave, anyone who tried to, would be arrested for ‘breach of the peace’ – A claim very similar to what another EDL supporter told me after escaping the police clutches, by telling them he didn’t know it was the EDL.
Then, a group of about 10 or 12 officers swarmed around 5 or 6 young middle aged males with short hair, who were just standing on the pavement talking. The officers left them alone after what appeared to be questioning, by this time, more vans were arriving despite nothing happening, No one had been arrested and still no songs. I was now concerned by the over-the-top police presence and could see they were planning to do something, so I decided to leave the area completely. However, as I walked off, the same group of 10-12 officers surrounded me and 3 other young middle aged males with short hair, I did not know these people and didn’t recognize them. They appeared to be members of the public or tourists who had come to pay their respects and see what our capital has to offer. I hope for England’s sake they were not tourists, because the rude, arrogant, overbearing interrogation that was to come from the officers was disgusting.
‘WHO ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU GOING?’ I enquired of them as to their reason for suddenly surrounding me, to which the officer replied ‘You were walking off down that street’, I was stunned, as I’m sure anyone would be upon receiving this response and asked whether walking down the street had become a criminal offence in the 4 hours I had been out of the house, walking down many a street. Obviously, it wasn’t a criminal offence and I was allowed on my way after denying any involvement with the EDL and claiming that I didn’t know the EDL was across the road being treated like war criminals.
I quickly left the area hoping not to face such shocking police treatment again, even as a seasoned demonstrator that has put up with a lot of rubbish policing, this shocked me and I thought what impression it had left on the would-be tourists and also pondered upon those profound words and wondered what our fallen heroes would think about the ‘freedoms’ they had died for, when apparently you are now unable to walk down public streets if you look a certain way and oppose proscribed terrorist groups such as MAC or islam4uk or whatever they will be called next.
Coming home, I received a phone call from a worried relative saying she had seen on the internet pictures of EDL in London with facial wounds caused by the police and that 200 had been arrested. This news did not shock me in the slightest, the victimization and treatment I faced, just as a member of the public was disgusting and I dread to think what those within the containment had to put up with. Dreadful, truly dreadful policing that has now taken the focus away from our fallen heroes and the charities that work so hard to support them which is so crucially needed due to the lack of government help.
We WILL remember them and we will not forget the sacrifices they made. I just hope the police will soon remember the freedoms that our forefathers died for and allow us to enjoy those freedoms again, such as walking down a road.
Maybe it’s time that more of the British public did a little community organizing along with the EDL.
Eeyore for Vlad.