Occupy Bristol: EDL accused as second camp trashed

Editorial. The following piece is disturbing, not just because our enemies in the EDL have clearly decided to target the Occupy movement, but because they now appear to be threatening the labour movement and in particular, the day of action on November 30th. Fortunately, the handful of thugs, which is all they are capable of putting on the streets in Liverpool will not disrupt the day of action. However, the EDL are notorious for hanging round in the background and picking off any stragglers they happen to see. There is clearly no need to worry, but everyone going on the march should stick with the main body of demonstrators.
A second Occupy Bristol camp near Temple Meads has been attacked and threats made by what protesters have said were members of the English Defence League (EDL).

In a statement on the Occupy Bristol Facebook page at the weekend, protesters said the camp – an offshoot of the main protest area at College Green – had been attacked and one member had been told he would have “his face bitten off”.

The attack happened at about 7pm on Saturday and ended with a “middle aged woman” handing over an unofficial “eviction notice” which read: “People of Bristol eviction notice get off our green.”

The EDL has written that it has no interest in the various Occupy movements around the UK, saying “most of us are happy to ignore them completely”.

But The Guardian reported that Britain’s biggest unions are warning of a threat of violence by far-right groups such as the EDL during national strike action this month.

Unite, Unison and the TUC said they were taking the prospect of disruption by far-right supporters seriously, and had begun to liaise with police to assess any risk to pickets or those on protest marches. The development follows signs that splinter groups from the EDL are broadening their campaign from targeting Muslims to trade unionists and socialist organisations. Members of the EDL have recently been involved in attacks on anti-racist and anti-cuts protesters, as well as attempting to target the Occupy movement which has camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Occupy Bristol statement continued: “If trashing a few tents and issuing threats of violence is supposed to scare us into going back home, they sadly don’t know the resolve, determination and outrage we share as an international movement.”

The attack came after a meeting between protesters and Bristol City Council and the Dean of Bristol Cathedral, Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, on Friday.

Described as a “constructive” meeting, council leader Barbara Janke said another meeting would be held this week to discuss the issues raised on Friday.

“We reinforced our message that we want to see an end to the unlawful encampment voluntarily and peacefully, and we shall be issuing a letter later today to the protesters re-stating this.

“Concerns about the encampment among local traders and the wider public are increasing and College Green should be returned to its rightful place as a space for all the city to use and enjoy. We are a city of half a million people and everyone should have the opportunity to use the green.

“In the meantime we have agreed to meet again next week to feedback on some of the issues raised by all sides today, so that we can move forward to a swift and voluntary end to this encampment.”

Meanwhile, the Occupy Bristol group has said the council has apologised to them for spreading misinformation regarding the use of College Green for the air ambulance.

Council officials had said that the site was a primary landing site for the air ambulance, using it as a reason for the protesters to leave.

However, the group has learned that the primary site is on the Downs and the College Green site is not used as often as had been claimed.

The group has left a space for an emergency landing, adding: “We have contacted Great Western Air ambulance to get them to confirm that they are happy with the landing space available. We await their reply.

“In addition we are pleased to support the ongoing campaign to get proper landing sites funded, including one at BRI. We also hope that the NHS cuts do not stop this from going ahead.”

From Bristol 24-7 . Nov 21, 2011 

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