Brexit protest disaster for SEA

Trafalgar Square
Fascists trying to speed up Britain’s departure from the European Union held a disastrous protest in central London on a Friday night at the end of July. There was a shockingly low turnout of around 30 and several attendees required hospital visits afterwards.

During the protest clashes with a Black Lives Matter (BLM) march occurred which saw two of the fascists get arrested. The fascists responded to the passing anti-racist march by shouting ‘white lives matter’ which they continued to chant well after it had passed.

The far-right protest was organised by the South East Alliance (SEA) which bills itself as an ‘angry white and proud’ street movement. This was the latest in a string of poorly attended events organised by the group and at times resembled a pub crawl more than a protest.

Starting in the early evening at a pub on the top of Whitehall, the far-right group were escorted down to Downing Street by a phalanx of police officers. Unite Against Fascism (UAF) held a counter-protest which provided some vocal opposition to the fascists.

While the far-right protest was supposed to be demanding the government immediately invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, attendees shouted anti-refugee slogans and spent most of their time on the streets expressing their hostility to BLM protestors.

Once the fascist’s protest was over they were escorted back up Whitehall to the pub. Thinking they had done their bit, the assorted oddballs began sinking pints and taking selfies outside the pub, glorying in what they had done.

But their gloating was both unfounded and premature.

Once darkness had fallen, several drunk fascists looking to make their way home from the pub discovered militant anti-fascists from across London had mobilised for the occasion. Full and frank discussions left several fascists requiring medical attention.

One of these fascists was Mark Johnson from Huddersfield who has been involved in several attacks on anti-fascists in the past. Johnson is mixed race and regularly uses his identity to claim his obviously racist far-right associates aren’t racist.

Anti-fascists were shocked to see Johnson drinking with two self-declared members of neo-Nazi youth group National Action. Adding to the confusion, when the far-right trio discovered anti-fascists were in the area they tried to hide in a gay club.

After being denied entry to the club there was short and sharp exchange of opinions. While this was happening Johnson’s associates made Nazi salutes while shouting ‘National Action’. Once anti-fascists had made their views known the two young fascists ran away, leaving Johnson to make his own way to hospital.

Two other fascists spent the night after the protest in hospital – Terry Jenkins and Catta Haynes, who are both close to the leadership of the SEA. Haynes told Facebook friends afterwards he had ‘lost [a] lot [of] blood’ after being ‘whacked from behind’.

Other fascists were lucky to leave London without having any such encounters, particularly a certain crew from Essex.

SEA are a group of neo-Nazi pensioners, former BNP activists and self-described patriots which split from the EDL. Led by Cypriot immigrant Paul Prodromou, the group has been attempting to launch a far-right street movement to the right of the EDL since 2013.

The SEA is based in Essex but has members and supporters in parts of London and Kent. Their activity was initially directed against Muslims but as the counter-jihad street movement has dissipated, they’ve taken to the streets to oppose refugees and Irish republicans.

Holding a protest demanding Article 50 be invoked immediately was an attempt by the group to tap into frustration felt by Leave voters. It was also an attempt to establish themselves as a leading group on the British far-right.

The EU referendum has been a focus for far-right activity for months. Fascists across the UK supported the Leave campaign vigorously, distributing leaflets and holding street stalls. Well before the wave of racist violence was unleashed across the country.

Building unity between the disparate groups on the far-right has been Prodromou’s top priority but attempts to achieve this have largely ended in failure. The only exception being the 30 January anti-immigration protest in Dover which saw neo-Nazis and fascists from across the UK uniting behind the SEA.

But the Dover protest descended into five hours of street fighting between anti-fascists and the far-right and many fascists have been jailed for their role in the violence. Pressure from anti-fascists has been one of the key factors in the inability of the SEA to actually build a street movement.

In the past few years they have suffered repeated defeats by anti-fascists in Brighton, Cricklewood and Dover. On one occasion Prodromou had the literal shit kicked out of him after a botched attack on left-wing football fans by the SEA in Southend.

Prodromou was absent from the Brexit protest due to bail conditions so the majority of the organising was done by Prodromou’s wife and Marcus & Vicky Barke from a small Walthamstow based far-right group called ‘AIF English Lions’ which works with the SEA.

London Anti-fascists believes fascist groups such as these are best opposed with a diversity of tactics, picked to suit the specific situation.