In London yesterday as steward for the 'Unite Against Fascism' demo. The day was mainly about the themes of Anti-Racism, Anti-Fascism and Anti-Islamophobia, aiming to let the BNP and EDL know what they're up against." EDL - Got To Hell !! "
" Take Your Nazi Mates As Well !! "
Excellent day all round, a wonderful rainbow of people on the demo - all ages, races and creeds. Never thought I'd ever have much in common with so many diverse people! Quite a party atmosphere, too, especially around the moving Sound System float that I was shepherding with a 8-strong team through the streets of London (sidenote: why was it always morons in suits who tried to cross the road immediately in front of the Sound truck despite our stewarding?)
Well, neither the EDL nor the BNP 'came out to play', and the day was peaceful, but I must comment on two Police issues which worried me a little.
Firstly, despite various groups congregating and setting up near Russell Square for 3 hours from 10.30 to 1.30, the Police (who'd been in the Square right from the start) left it to the very last possible minute to tell UAF that the Sound truck was 'Breaching Health & Safety Regulations' and that 'They'd not done a Risk Assessment' on it. This was at a point when the March had already started, and we'd held the crowd back for 1 minute to 'slot' the truck into place'. A frantic few minutes elapsed while the demo was paused, to get the UAF Organiser and the Chief Police Office of the day together to agree that there was no issue involved, and everything could go ahead as planned. But why did the Police leave it 'till the very last minute to tell us they had an issue over the truck? We didn't get an answer.
Secondly, at Westminster, with the Music playing, I was standing security over various musicians equipment at the entry point to the Stage Truck, when a senior Police Officer came up to us and stated that we were breaching Noise Levels for a 'Residential Area'. I did point out to the Officer involved that in that area there was almost nothing except Government Buildings and Offices for about 300m in all directions (and on a Saturday, empty!) We were apparently told to turn it down. I don't know if we did, but the volume sounded just fine to me!
Big mention for a band I've never heard before, 'Missing Andy', who played a great set. I'd call them a cross between The Streets, The Jam and The Shamen. Apparently they were headlined on Sky TV's 'Must Be The Music' but then as I neither watch SKY nor any TV 'Talent Shows', they were new to me!