‘Five years fighting injustice’: Anti-EDL rally back in Bolton to protest police ‘fascism’

Five years on from a violent clash in Bolton against EDL supporters, campaigners will be returning to Victoria Square tomorrow to protest against how police sided with the ‘fascists’.

On 20 March 2010, the EDL attempted to bring their fascist agenda to Bolton by holding a rally in Victoria Square.

In response, protesters attemped to occupy the square to prevent the EDL holding their rally, but it was split in half due to police barricades.

Both sides began to taunt each other and violence broke out, but protestors tomorrow will be arguing that the police who came in to stop it appeared to have more interest in defending EDL members.

Iconic photos from the original protest five years ago will be on display and some of the anti-fascist campaigners who were charged will offer their views on the police response.

On the morning of the initial protest, a stirring poem was read by Matthew Curry to inspire the anti-fascists, and tomorrow he will reappear to present a new piece highlighting the bravery of the protestors.

The event is being promoted by Justice4Bolton, who have been campaigning to launch a People’s Enquiry into the policing of the day. At the time, many anti-EDL protestors were attacked by police, who set dogs upon them.

Arrests were made against 55 anti-fascist protestors on the day but only five were prosecuted.

With support from Justice4Bolton two of the cases have been dropped due to video evidence, and while a third was found not guilty, two cases remain ongoing.

An investigation has been launched by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into the policing of one anti-fascist who was originally charged.

Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said: “I am very glad to give my support to this important anniversary. We need to stand behind everyone campaigning against racism and fascism.”

Kath Grant, press officer for Justice4Bolton, said: “For the last five years, we have been fighting to get a public inquiry into what happened.

“There are a number of outstanding civil actions against the police arising from that day but the Greater Manchester Police and IPCC reports into policing on the day have still have not been made public. 

“We continue to demand the publication of these reports – as well as a public inquiry so the police and IPCC are called to account.”

Image courtesy of Don’t Panic, via YouTube, with thanks

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