Last week I had the privilege of attending Bradford during the pathetic EDL gathering. I say privilege, simply because this sort of event pulls together so many good folk who want to work for peace in the city. In three hours, at the small 'We Are Bradford' event, and at the 'Emporium of Dreams' base for peace activists, I met so many wonderful folk it was beautiful.
From the 'Emporium' well briefed peace lovers went out in small groups to make sure that trouble spots were calmed down, so that the EDL would not get the violence that they crave. The city was flowing with the green ribbons for peace, on each wrist and shop front.
In the 'We Are Bradford' event, there was lots of lovely food, and some great speeches from within the local community. It was small (about 250 at it's peak) but contrary to the lies spread about it by the authorities - it was almost entirely made up of locals, and was completely peace loving. For this reason it was sad that while there were speakers from the local synagogue, humanist association, women for peace, local Muslim groups - not a single person from the local churches spoke.
Though asked, I chose not to speak, as I was there simply to help out, and my comments might not have been helpful! I understand that there are different approaches to tackling the EDL, and ignoring them is one valid approach, but I really think that there are enough churches/clergy around to work on many fronts, including supporting local people who refuse to abandon the city centre to Fascists and the local police when these events happen. At least the local Methodists were around, along with many lay Christians from Anglican/Catholic circles. The only Anglican priest I found on the streets was playing a supportive role all the way from Luton
The great news was that the EDL stump demo was pitiful, a couple of hundred flag wavers (including Israeli flags to try and wind up some local Muslims) who failed to achieve anything thing at all. Even Tommy Robinson/Lennon has realised it is time to desert this sinking ship, floundering under the weight of its own human excrement.
People have seen through the EDL's racist and Islamophobic lies, and their thuggish Nazi beliefs are now clear for everyone to see. The costly Bradford demo was hopefully one of the last breaths of failed movement.