Free Tommy Robinson protests were seen all over the world on June 9 and 10, and Liberty Nation was there to bring you live updates from the epicenter of it all in London. As Liberty Nation reporters found out the hard way, internet in the protest area was almost certainly being scrambled, preventing demonstrators and online media outlets from disseminating live updates from the event. Not to be stopped, we managed to release key points throughout the day via our Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
Now that the event is over and the mainstream British media is predictably reporting a distorted narrative of it, we present you with our impressions of the rally, the speakers, and some gems given to us by protestors we spoke to on the street.
A crowd gathered in London’s iconic Trafalgar Square, bedecked in English flags, “Union Jacks” and a range of other banners and chanted phrases including “Oh Tommy Tommy,” and “We want Tommy out,” as puzzled tourists looked on. Numbers estimates ranged from 7,000 by the police to 20,000 by the event’s M.C. Raheem Kassam, former Editor-in-Chief of Breitbart London; LN can only attest that the crowd was very large.
David Whitby, a protestor, told LN that, “They’re taking freedom of speech away…the police are being cut back, they’re being turned into a corporation now, so they’re not serving us, they’re serving the corporation.”
Among much of the crowd, there was a distinct feeling of anger toward law enforcement. Chants of “Shame, shame, shame on you,” followed police officers as they moved through the crowd, while some more obnoxious protestors took to confronting and verbally abusing whatever individual officers they could find. The sense of betrayal was palpable as they feel they can no longer trust law enforcement to truly mete out justice.
Another protester, who identified herself as Gilly, told Liberty Nation that:
“I’m just absolutely incensed. I think we’re in the fourth Reich, quite frankly. Political correctness has gone completely mad, you’re called a racist if you call out what are terrible crimes…no one’s racist… if it’s racist to not want anyone to rape lots of children I think they seem to have a problem, don’t they?”
The crowd made its way down Whitehall, coming to a stop in front of Downing Street — office of the Prime Minister and other top officials — where a stage was set up for the event speakers. As would be expected in a rally to support an anti-Islamification activist, many of the speakers did focus on issues like terrorism and Islamic grooming gangs, however much of the crowd’s ire was directed toward the British establishment who they believe have unfairly treated Robinson.
Gerard Batten, the current leader of the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP), which campaigned for Brexit, told the crowd that:
“Tommy Robinson is a political prisoner. Whatever the legal technicalities of his alleged contempt of court, he was imprisoned more for who he is and what he says, rather than what he is supposed to have done.”
Dutch politician Geert Wilders flew in from Holland to support the rally; he likened Robinson to a World War II “freedom fighter,” and spoke about the scandal of primarily Pakistani rape gangs that have targeted children throughout the U.K.:
“For years, thousands of English children and girls were brutally raped by those grooming gangs… but for years and years, the police, the politicians, the prosecutors, did nothing and looked the other way. They refused to listen to the victims, they arrested fathers who tried to liberate their daughters, they left children in the hands of those gangs…
Tommy didn’t look in the other direction, he refused to ignore the problem. He gave voice to millions of Britons who were abandoned by the authorities and when he protested, when Tommy protested, the same authorities could not be fast enough to jail him and gag the media. And I can tell you, that is not democracy… My friends, it was not Tommy who was breaching the peace, it was your government who was breaching the peace.”
A counter-protest was held, though the group was kept far away from the main event by a police line. Police confirmed to Liberty Nation that the group was organized by Unite Against Fascism, and we would estimate that there were about a hundred people or so, milling around in a small designated area.
Things Go Sour
As is too often the case, a small group of “bad” apples can spoil it for a large bunch. After the speeches had finished and most of the protestors had peacefully dispersed, things went sour in Trafalgar Square. A group of perhaps one to two hundred protestors blocked the roads and occupying the landmark Nelson’s Column, in what appeared to be a largely alcohol-fuelled demonstration.
Riot police clashed with some protestors in ugly scenes that resulted in a few arrests and minor injuries. All seemed poised to erupt into violence. Thankfully the tension eventually eased and as the group of occupiers gradually dwindled to just a hardcore group of either extremely ardent Tommy supporters, or simply drunken party animals. The police eventually decided that there was no real threat and fell back, leaving those few remaining protestors to continue well into the night.
Unfortunately, as Gilly pointed out to LN, much of the sentiment against Tommy appears to come from a snobbishness toward his working-class background and he is often seen as nothing more than a hooligan, something that this small group of aggressive protestors did nothing to help. The mainstream media unsurprisingly chose to highlight this confrontation which was not representative of the vast majority of those who came out to peacefully support Robinson that day.
Protests and rallies do not always effect change and it remains highly doubtful that the British authorities will release Tommy Robinson soon. But after thousands came to express solidarity with him, one wonders, is his incarceration going to backfire on the British establishment? Perhaps they are merely creating countless more Tommys who are prepared to stand up for what they believe is right in the face of state repression.
Eclectic in interests and political philosophies, Laura came to journalism after years of working as an educator. Her background as a historian has informed her research and writing styles, as well as her approach to current affairs. Born and raised in Australia, Laura currently resides in Great Britain.
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