I had a busy weekend with karaoke on Friday, Hibs v Aberdeen & Andy Chung on Sunday, but it was the SDL non ‘march’ on Saturday that provided the best entertainment.
The cast included…
On the right..SDL(Scottish Defence League),EDL (English Defence League), North East Infidels & North West Infidels.
On the left..UAF(Union of Anti Fascists) & some anarchists
In the middle..Uncountable numbers of Lothian & Borders Police plus support(BTP,Fife,Tayside,Central,Strathclyde) and countless bemused shoppers & tourists.
The UAF met at the Mound Precinct under the gaze of a huge portrait of a grumpy Queen. Rallying speeches over, the UAF assembled to march under police escort all of 300 metres East along Princes St. At this point a small group of anarchists? pulled on/up balaclavas & face masks/scarves and set off independently East.
Keen to get the full picture(and spy) I too made my way East towards the SDL rally via a quick pit-stop for a pee & pint in the Guildford Arms. Inside were a suspicious looking couple adorned with tattoos carraying a very large bag. At this point I realised that spies were everywhere; PCs were using the pub toilets; I was spying for the Left & the dodgy pair probably for the Right.
As I approached the SDL rally in Waterloo Place I realised that the convenience store run by my Sikh buddy Lucky was only ten metres safely beyond the restraining Police lines. At this point there were only about thirty SDL? and their biggest flag covering a bus shelter was a St. Georges Infidels one.
Suddenly two coaches appeared and unloaded fresh SDL supporters thereby raising the tension. Lucky hadn’t realised the gravity of his position at first but we quickly agreed that I would act as a white-faced doorman, this position giving me a very close view.
Reckless tourists (many with clearly foreign faces) were still trying to reach Calton Hill beyond the SDL rally but eventually the Police cleared the street of bystanders and brought in reinforcements easily outnumbering the SDL.
The UAF rally was now largely contained and a 300 metres gap was controlled by the police. However, a breakaway group(the anarchists?), briefly got within 50 metres of the SDL before being forced away and kettled outside the Black Bull pub.
I suppose everybody had a good day. The SDL got to rally, the UAF stopped that march, the police ensured no disorder happened and hundreds of bystanders watched it all with bemusement.
The number of actors was small.;SDL about 200, UAF about 400, anarchists 30 but there were thousands in the audience. Five stars.