Members of the English Defence League (EDL) laid a wreath at the War Memorial on the Old Steine on Saturday, June 1 in memory of drummer Lee Rigby, the soldier who was murdered in Woolwich, London last month.
Members of the EDL arrived earlier than planned, laid a wreath and quickly left. A few stayed to remonstrate with the crowd of demonstrators gathered at the memorial which included many LGBT people and students.
Policing of the event was very low key.
Unite Against Fascism (UAF) issued a statement on Sunday, June 1, explaining why they had no visible presence at the Brighton War Memorial event.
The statement read:
“We had already been calling on members to attend a counter demo in London on June 1, when a group claiming to be ‘Brighton EDL’ announced it planned to march in Brighton and lay flowers at the Brighton war memorial.
“We established that the Brighton event was poorly supported and that the protest in London was of greater importance.
“We called on as many of our supporters as possible to make their way to London, whilst anti-fascists who were remaining in Brighton successfully protested there.
‘The result was that in London our supporters were able to take part in a very successful action against a poor turnout by the BNP, who failed to march.
“In Brighton the march by the far right consisted of no more than a handful of racists sneaking to the memorial early in the day.
“A Facebook event promoting their march had attracted only 11 followers, only 4 of which were supporters from Brighton, a similar page set up to oppose them attracted over 100 supporters.
“Both the BNP in London and the EDL in Brighton had hope to whip up hatred and build their organisations on the back of the horrible and tragic murder of drummer Lee Rigby.
“His family and his regiment had issued statements rejecting these organisation’s activities, but still they went ahead.
‘The BNP and the EDL have failed badly to create the race hatred they had hoped they would, in both cases anti-fascist activists from Brighton were able to play their part.’