Some chancers from the social media wing of the far-right decided they would attempt to cash-in on the recent Pegida bubble. Here’s what happened on their first National rally in the UK.
Words and pictures by our man in the field, DM.
Pegida UK got off to a bad start by arranging their first demo in Newcastle when the Toon were at home. The cops had their excuse to ban the march – unless Pegida held it at 9.30 in the morning – so it was demoted to a static rally at 11.00 on Saturday 28th February.
By 9.30 the police presence in Newcastle was already significant as preparations were made to ‘facilitate’ the far-right gathering.
After realising the planned BNP march from Monument to the rally site wasn’t going to happen, I walked down to the Bigg Market to find – with just 20 minutes to go – only a dozen supporters and about 40 media.
A tiny scaffold platform, a tiny PA system and a tiny, tatty Winston Churchill banner were all Pegida organisers had brought with them and the bargain basement theme continued as the morning progressed.
The crowd quickly grew to about 350 by the time the rally was under way, even though the speakers did their best to put everyone off with some truly awful, amateurish, waffling bluster. Either the right have no skilled speakers or Pegida weren’t able to afford them because if Paul Weston is the best on your platform, you are in trouble.
This random stranger started off by giving the audience of Nazis, fascists and racists the shocking news that Pegida are not political and that Lefties were welcome to join. Even when the “as long as they hate Islam too” qualifier was added, the looks of stunned bemusement were noticeable as were the sighs of “what the fuck?”
Liberty GB leader and lone member Paul Weston was well received by those who had no idea who he was, less so by those who did. His usual “Islam is evil” 10 minute bore-athon actually turned out to be the best of a terrible bunch.
Next, the weirdly-wigged guest from Germany had the crowd scratching their heads wondering what she was saying in her broken English. Having watched the video, I’m still non the wiser though I did spot the right-wing classic “who are the real Nazis?”
The speeches were punctuated by blasts of ‘patriotic’ songs for which a lyric sheet was supplied but it was more Last Chance Saloon than Last Night of the Proms.
The old soldier’s speech was marred first by the crappy PA breaking and again when a series of unfortunate events lead to handbags being drawn.
Three idiots had gone to the police lines at the anti-pegida demo up the road and got a Golden Dawn flag out. They were escorted back over to the Pegida side of the street to be reunited with their fash pals but when the media began to scrum around the GD flag it all went a bit wrong.
Some EDL members mistakenly thought the scrum was some Lefties coming to confront them.
The beer and coke kicked-in and they charged up the bank to be met by a line of cops. Everyone I asked said the cops had let some Lefties through to goad them. Wrong! Who knows what the Golden Dawn idiots thought about this mistaken identity balls-up but I thought it was hilarious.
Some further pushing and shoving with the cops eventually turned into a few EDL having a ding-dong with each other leading to one or two being escorted out by police officers.
Things wound down from there as people drifted away through cold and boredom.
Some from the Pegida lot went to shout at the 2,000 anti-racist protesters from behind two lines of police and there were a few giving it the big-un but no serious attempt was made to attack.
Small groups of EDL tried to follow the antis as they marched back up to Gallowgate but they were easily turned back by a handful of cops. Later, some had a little look around the Irish Centre where some antis were having a post-demo pint but again, they didn’t fancy it.
All things considered, this was a piss-poor event organised by incompetent, inexperienced people looking to cash-in on the media-hyped German version of Pegida. The usual suspects turned up, were heavily outnumbered and then embarrassed themselves by fighting each other.