Yesterday, following the EDL march in Bristol, a sizeable group of EDL supporters were confronted by antifascists outside a pub on Old Market.
Reports that a large number of EDL members had congregated in the Long Bar on Old Market Street were confirmed when a pissed-up group outside began to hurl abuse and insults at random passers-by who they presumed were 'opposition.' Beknown to them, there was a crew of around 40 antifascists just around the corner...
The EDL group seemed surprised as the antifascists approached them at speed, responding by launching a number of bottles, cans and pint glasses. A load of the group inside the pub just watched from the window, apparently bolting the door behind their mates who were outside. The two police officers initially present were left in the middle of a volatile situation, helplessly running around swinging batons and shouting.
A couple of people went to ground and at least one of the EDL felt the true extent of local opposition. Another of their number was apparently overheard pleading with a copper, shouting "why aren't you stopping them?"
The stand-off lasted for a few minutes, with rocks, bricks and even a breeze block thrown between the two sides. As police riot vans arrived, the antifascists made good their escape. The EDL group were not so quick off the mark, getting stopped and having their details taken by the filth around the corner.
One EDL supporter had this to say on the facebook event page for the demo:
Ricky Howell: "it went right off in old market an hour ago, everyone outside long bar got attacked by a load of scruffy fuckers with bricks, bottles and lumps of wood......loads of edl just stayed in the pub and watched while a hand full of use fought with them and just about held our own!!!!!! not on we should of all stood together, some people got all the gob but no bottle when the shit hits the fan.....you know who you are!!"
Chris Rasher Bacon: "all ok?"
Ricky Howell: "not really, one of ours got his face bit, another had a bit of a kicking as there were so many of them and he went to the ground......just shocking how so many stood in pub and watched out of the window,we were out numbered and they were tooled up."
A youtube video from the Gas Hit Squad (Bristol Rovers football hooligan firm) has since gone up online, claiming to show them 'Chasing Antifa and UAF out of Old Market.' The 41-second video actually shows a very small proportion of the events; the two groups moving back, forth and across the road as cops arrive, and nobody getting 'chased off' as they claim.
Despite all of the machismo and arm-waving, this was certainly no victory for the EDL. They were made aware that not all of their opposition will just walk on by when they abuse and threaten, and that some are more than willing to play them at their own game.