Today, members of the British National Party who tried to hold a stall to promote their fascist agenda in Liverpool City Centre were met with angry protests by local people and quite literally ran out of town.
Two weeks ago, when the BNP tried to hold a stall in the City Centre, they were met with massive, spontaneous resistance. As a result, last week they retreated to their stronghold in Huyton, but today they tried once again to claim the streets of Liverpool for the far-right. What a mistake that was.
As two weeks before, phone calls and text messages saw local antifascists mobilise in opposition. And once again, their ranks were swelled by great swathes of the public, particularly young people.
By one o’clock, there was a large, noisy protest under way, held back from the fascists only by a police presence.
The BNP responded by telling people to “fuck off you Irish bastard,” screaming “commie” and calling protesters “paedophiles,” including a Trade Union official. They also gave out racist abuse to black and Asian people who objected to their presence.
The number of protesters steadily increased, with locals screaming, shouting, and singing at the increasingly agitated fash. It was only the presence of the police which allowed them to stand their ground, but their recruitment efforts were stopped and the day turned into a war of attrition.
Whilst chants rose up, activists from Liverpool Antifascists gave out several thousand leaflets to largely receptive passers-by.Some people did angrily reject the leaflets – only to come back and apologies when they realised we weren’t BNP! We also received genuine thanks from people for the work we were doing. Scores of people also passed on contact details and expressed an interest in joining the fight against fascism in Liverpool.
Where this event differed from a fortnight ago was that people, predominantly younger, returned with their mates to laugh and have a go at the BNP. It was a scene to remember as the fash were completely surrounded by good, decent Liverpool people, venting their anger and outrage that these scumbags had dared to appear in our City Centre.
Liverpool is a genuinely multicultural city. Our population come from a wide variety of mixed backgrounds, and make up one of the friendliest and welcoming cities in the world. Here, the colour of your skin and where you come from doesn’t mean squat, and the BNP’s attempts to stir the mire are not welcome here.
The day became the centre of attention for shoppers and visitors to our city. Many people from different countries, Spain, Norway, Sweden, China, the US, France, stopped for a chat and took our leaflets. They congratulated us for our efforts and agreed that these scumbags belonged to history. The only reason that the fascists were able operate was due to the heavy police presence. When I say “operate,” I mean to stand there and look stupid. They managed to do this very well.
Once again, a number of people who knew BNP activist and former Quiggins owner Peter Tierney from old raised questions about his sanity. Rumours are circulating about his mental health and the idea that he joined the far-right following a breakdown. He did little to dispel this wwhen he took to marching up and down, ringing a bell, and grinning maniacally at the antifascist crowd.
By 5 o’clock the crowd of people objecting to the BNP’s presence on our streets had grown even larger. Masses of younger people of all colours joined the demo, many getting in the face of the fascists who had turned up on our streets in an attempt to divide us.
Their activists responded by squaring up to teenagers and youngsters. Andrew Tierney at one point broke ranks to chase a young girl, only to be physically restrained. One fascist shoved a man holding his young daughter in has arms. And Jamie Luby was seen telling the same young girl to find him in O’Neills if she wanted to fight him.
But the threats didn’t work on local people. Even children, some no older than eleven, stood up to the thugs. At one point, they jumped on a raised podium to block Andrew Tierney’s view of the girl he had been shouting at when he tried to take a picture of her.
As dusk approached, there were a couple of explosions close to the BNP. One exploded on the BNP’s stall table, collapsing it. Another exploded within the ranks of antifascists. The result was to make a number of protesters move away from the demo. there were many older people proteting against the BNP as were a number of people with young children; explosions in a closed area were therefore at best unwise.
Whatever the motives, Liverpool Antifascists cannot condone the act. We have found great success by educating people as to what the BNP are and only advocate the use of force in self-defence. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured. Peter Tierney hurt his foot, though given his previous violence against antifascists, we don’t have much sympathy.
The thrower of the fireworks, a silly and incendiary act, was not identified.
By this stage the BNP were looking decidedly ruffled. Having given up on their attempts to recruit people, they resorted to their usual tactics of trying to intimidate people with clenched fists and abuse. Most telling was Andrew Tierney’s threat that – because an unknown individual had thrown fireworks – everyone who opposed the BNP was now “fair game.” Organiser Mike Whitby also promised that when they took pictures of those opposing the BNP, they would end up “on a site far worse than Redwatch.”
This shows that the BNP have far from outgrown their violent roots, and that they are still more than willing to intimidate and attack opponents. As Peter Tierney, of course, showed us when he picked up that camera tripod. But today it didn’t work. It was clear to everyone present, and people passing by, that the BNP are not welcome in Liverpool.
The grand finale came when the fascists decided that they’d taken enough abuse for one day and started getting their stuff together. It was like something out of a television drama.
They complained to the police about the behavouir of the protesters, but the BNP were the target for derision by respectable people for very good reason. The fascists had to rely on police protection to save them from the wrath of local people. Many of the police present were not comfortable with the job of protecting fascist scumbags, but nobody forced them to join the police. Any sympathy for them in this situation had been eroded by the arests of anti-fascists on the flimsiest of pretences, whilst abuse by the BNP was always conveniently overlooked.
The day finished off with a spectacle that will live forever.
Having got together their bits n’ bobs (and the £3.46 that they’d managed for their full days campaigning), the BNP were allowed to bring cars into Church Street. A line of police blocked them from the opposition as they got in, still mouthing off and offering threats.
Under heavy police escort, they managed to edge their way foward behind a convoy of police vehicles. But an enormous crowd, now well over two of hundred strong, surrounded this sorry spectacle, hurling abuse at the huddled group of fascists hiding behind their police minders. They were chased up Church and Lord Street in a scene reminiscent of the old westerns. The fascists were literally ran outta town.
‘Don’t come back soon’ was the message. Liverpool is a fascist free zone and its people intend to keep it that way.