It started with a text off Rz, a fabulous person with whom to discuss politics and the state of the world. The text said the BNP are leafleting Liverpool and a protest is being organized.
Now, I don't know much about british politics. But a political party that says things like 'multiculturalism kills' and other racist bs, is a party that NEEDS to be protested. People need to stand up and let others know that this party's basic premise is unacceptable. Specifically people like me, an immigrant, gay woman.
We took the train into town, arriving early at the bottom of Bold St. It was foggy, cold and damp out. A small crowd, university students and many very obviously gay peeps among others, were already assembled in the plaza in front of the Co-Op Bank. We took fliers, pasted on Unity stickers and were given placards to wave.
A few speakers stepped up before the mike to rally us. Music was played. We chanted slogans. Then it was announced that the BNP had changed their mind and weren't coming back to Liverpool after all. We all cheered. A parade was announced, until the police moved to block us.
So our organizers thought better of the parade idea. We chanted some more, music was played and we congratulated ourselves on dissuading the BNP from passing out their hate lit to our city. Eventually we returned our signs and slipped off into the crowds for a bit of christmas shopping.
I saw the new Liverpool 1 shopping center, defrosted my toes in department stores and bought a few bits. When we came back outside, we could see a small group of people waving the Union Jack and St George's flag... We hurried over and sure enough, the BNP were there.
We walked straight through their crowd, rejecting their fliers and rejoined our protesters. The police swarmed around us, standing shoulder to shoulder, blocking us from reaching the BNP. They also prohibited us from leaving our crowd. We were pinched off, separated into two groups. We lost Rz then. Our group was slowly walked away, back to our original protest site. The police didn't so much push, but moved us as a group, herding us with their bodies. Shoppers on the sidelines gawped and took pictures with their mobile phones.
Nk and I were worried about Rz but eventually her group was rejoined with ours and we found eachother. The police were very nice, but very impressive in such multitudes. The mounted police were out too, weird to see horses wearing eye protection...
We were kept clumped together for maybe an hour. We shouted and waved signs, had our pictures taken by all sorts. The police herded us up the street, then back down, then over to one side of the street. Still they refused to allow us to disperse. I believe they were over moving the BNP along because we were told they were gone and shortly thereafter were allowed to leave after we'd calmed.
It was my first protest and I was glad to have been there. At times I was scared, or worried, always careful in the knowledge that I will lose my job if I get arrested.. but the activist community feels so inclusive, so caring that it was an exhilirating day overall.
Someone already has flickr pics up... search for liverpool bnp protest if you're interested. Or you can check out the local news http://www.itvlocal.com/granada/news/
3 min 10 sec into the broadcast.
Hey.. youtube has a few vids up too. http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=NOnHNo3vCLI&feature=related. You can see all the police in a few of them.. and me and my friends as well, if you're sharp! Can you spot my blue vest and rainbow scarf?