Siege At Jenny Ha's - Edinburgh
Written by Tony Williamson Saturday, 20 February 2010 00:00
A demonstration by the Scottish Defence league was announced for the 20th February. We the English love our Scottish cousins and some of us were keen to support their protest by arriving to help. Any excuse to travel to the beautiful country of Scotland.
We were forewarned by local people that the Scottish police were very different to English police and that we should be wary. We were also told that the police would be stopping people getting to the demo. I put that down as rumour mongering basing it on the assumption that police, even if they planned to do that, wouldn’t tell people about it. Also, I am a great believer in our fine democracy and in our inherent right to protest.
Now, of course the communists (Socialist Worker Party using their ‘front’ of UAF) were putting the usual lies out about our membership, saying that we were a bunch of neo-nazis, fascists, and other unsavoury characters. The fact is that a large amount of our number are former or current armed forces, hard working people, or just ordinary people from different walks of life that would like to protest about what we perceive to be a problem with radical Islam in this nation. However, as usual, we just laughed off their weasel words, preferring to let people see for themselves that we are neither racist nor fascist, in any way at all.
At first, the English police gave us a bit of a hard time, as they too believed the propaganda of the ‘unwashed hippy types’ to be the truth. Now of course they see the EDL in an entirely different light, though of course they do recognise that EDL does have some problems, which are largely in part due again to the lies of the communists in that it has attracted some unsavoury types. However these are very much a small minority and they are being cleared from the group very quickly. We do not, and will not associate with racists. Two of our four speakers at our last demonstration were made up of a Sikh and a black supporter. No racist organisation would have Sikh and black speakers. Their speeches were very well received. We also raised over £1,400 for charity at the last demo (towards a soldier who had lost three of his limbs in Afghanistan).
Now, back to Edinburgh.
We had planned to meet up with one of the Scottish folks and from there go into the town together by train. Firstly to keep our vehicles away from the communists, and secondly to have more people together (safety in numbers) in case we got attacked by some of the so-called ‘Antifa’ thugs.
We were due to arrive and meet at 10am, at 9:30am. He called me to say he had been arrested and could no longer meet us. He was later released without charge (seven hours later, well after the demo was finished). They do believe him to be one of the top SDL people, but the truth is he isn’t, he is just a member. However that point is unimportant, he was still arrested purely to stop his right to protest.
We got into the train station and immediately a large group of police officers descended on us (we later found out that they had observed us on CCTV at the train station where we boarded, and were waiting for us, we had committed no crimes or caused any disturbance of any kind). Out of our group of around thirty or so, only six got through without the police noticing us.
We figured that the police would take their photographs and record them giving their names and addresses etc, which we’ve had to do at nearly every event EDL or SDL have had. Once they’d done that, we thought we would see them outside. We were incorrect. They were held for four hours in the train station from then on. Later as others came in, they too were penned into the same holding area for the duration of the demonstration. None of them had committed any crime whatsoever other than attempt to join a peaceful demonstration.
We found ourselves in a lovely quaint little pub to wait for the others once they’d caught up. Now as we were walking up we noticed a pub called the Scotsman, and phoned our people and told them we’d see them there (still expecting the police to allow them to leave). When we arrived at the pub we saw it was not yet open, so we carried on to another and decided to just tell them where we had gone when they got out. It turned out this also was a stroke of luck, as the police told our people that they could only leave if they told them where they planned to go. Not having anything to hide, they told them the Scotsman pub. The police sent a team to the Scotsman to clear the pub of any EDL/SDL and arrest them. We were of course blissfully unaware of this happening at the time.
We settled down in the pub, I had myself two cups of coffee. Some of the lads had breakfast in there, and we chatted quietly among ourselves. At this point we were first told by phone that we should meet up with the others in the ‘Jenny Ha’s’ pub. As someone had only just ordered food we decided to stay put for a bit, still contacting the lads in the station trying to find out when they would be released. Then the Socialist Worker Party UAF march came past. We looked out of the window at them marching up and down. It should be noted that we respect their right to protest, even though we think they are a bunch of loons. We never interfered in their march, we didn’t heckle, we didn’t scoff. We simply observed them out of curiosity and went back to our conversations.
Later, when it became quite apparent that our people at the train station weren’t going to be let out anytime soon, we decided to get to the Jenny Ha’s pub and meet up with the others. A few more lads from other areas had found their way into the pub and they came down with us.
We found that at the top end of the road the pub was on was full of the unwashed, we just walked through not saying a word and went to the police at the line. We told them we were trying to get to Jenny Ha’s. They told us that we couldn’t get through. We didn’t anticipate this, and now found ourselves in the middle of several hundred people and the police telling us we had to (alone without police assistance) go through this hostile crowd, all the way around the block and come in from the bottom side. There we would be let in. At this point we didn’t know if nearby anarchist communists had heard this conversation or not. Either way the police didn’t care. Again lady luck played a part and nobody heard it, and we managed to get free from the main crowd.
Along the way, we passed several of the communists (they are very easy to spot with their unwashed style of hair and ‘hippy’ clothing), but managed to keep our heads down and walked in groups of two or three. Then we were faced with a similar crowd of them to walk through on the bottom side of the pub road.
We walked through their midst and went to the police officers and again told them. They refused to let us in. We had walked around a mile or so all the way around. We asked them to radio the other officers to clarify that we had indeed been following police instructions. Eventually, they started to listen and one of the officers from the top came to the bottom. The crowd had noticed who we were but suddenly inexplicably, someone shouted ‘fascists’ and they all ran away down the road. Now I know I am no fascist, though they seem to think I am but they were running away from us.
I later found out who they were running to, it was one of our female members. They spat at her, one of them touched her breast, and another punched her. No police at any time did anything, and I personally heard her report this to at least three different officers on the day who told her to make a complaint. This is exactly what I thought she was doing, though not one of them even bothered to get a notebook out.
The police with us then decided to let us in but first we were to have a humiliating search and give our details into a camera. We were lined up against a wall while this process continued. We asked if this process was also being done to the SWP, we were told everyone was being treated the same. We knew this was not the case. We were chatting happily with the officers during this time. They are not our enemy, they are simply doing as they are told. Though it should be noted that ‘only following orders’ was not accepted as a defence during war crime trials.
Finally, we got into the pub and met up with people. They had all had the same search process. A few more arrived, though not many. I heard that several more groups had arrived by train and held in the station holding pen. Two of my friends managed to evade this, however they never got into the pub despite several attempts.
There was an announcement. The demonstration was to start at 1pm. The pub was fairly full but the true horror of the railway detentions were coming through. There were people from all over Scotland and England being held in different train stations. Around 250 in number were being held, which left a mere 60 or so in the pub with us and thus able to proceed with the protest.
We did speak with an inspector (Inspector Bruce of Strathclyde police) and asked him the situation with regard to the people in the station. He told us he was unaware of it and would immediately get in touch with them so they could join us at the demo. Thinking it must have been a misunderstanding somewhere, I was just glad to have got the wheels in motion. Of course it turned out that these detentions were their plan all along.
Waiting to hold our Demo
Waiting to hold our Demo
Come 1pm and we assembled by the pub entrance ready for the police to lead us to the demonstration point which they had said they would have cleared for us to protest.
There was general excitement, and happy chatting and a few songs being sung.
As time passed, from 1pm to 1:05pm, to ten past, people started to be concerned at what the hold up was.
I made my way to the front to find that the police were blocking the protest, and not allowing it to proceed at all. It very quickly became obvious that the police had no intentions whatsoever of allowing us to go anywhere. They simply formed a circle outside the pub exi t and would not allow us past.
More people came out, all curious as to what the hold up was only to be push back by the police.
EDL Members Laughing with Police
EDL Members Laughing with Police
As can be seen in this photograph, the SDL protestors were being very friendly with the police, smiles and jokes all round. The police themselves again didn’t know why they were having to hold us back, just that they had been instructed to do so.
This picture was taken from the pub doorway and shows the full extent of the demonstration.
After a while of singing songs such as ‘we want our freedom back’, ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘Rule Britannia’, the majority of the protestors went back into the pub to consult each other on what to do next. Adding all the factors together, arrests (at this time nobody could get in contact with Tommy Robinson), detentions and the plain lying by police, we realised that the police were in fact suppressing our freedom of speech. The police then informed us that our demonstration was now over and that they would be bringing buses in to clear us out.
A few people were all for protesting further against this treatment and wanted to barricade the pub, which we effected by putting some tables up by the main door and blocking the handles of other exits.
At this point, the bar staff said that they couldn’t believe the treatment we were suffering, and that they hadn’t had a bit of bother ‘not even so much as a dropped glass’ was the landlords exact quote. They did offer to write in to say what was only the truth.
Buses arrive to transport EDL members out of Edinburgh
Buses arrive to transport EDL members out of Edinburgh
After a little while the buses arrived. People were of course wanting to stay as lawful citizens and get on the buses. Others were more ready to protest further at this clear breach of civil, moral and human rights. I myself decided that I wanted to be the last person on the bus, just as my own personal protest.
Over time people were filtered into the bus, again after a thorough search and again giving our names, addresses, dates of birth etc into the police cameras. All this was done in front of what can only be described as a crowd of police officers. It was a humiliating process, yet even now people still went through it totally calmly and willingly.
There then came the time when the last few of us were left inside the pub. The police had earlier forced the pub to stop serving drinks. There had been no violence or trouble of any kind, it was Inspector Bruce again who issued this order to the bar staff. I did ask Inspector Bruce why we were being denied the right to protest, I was wondering if perhaps there were circumstances that had occurred elsewhere that we weren’t aware of. There were none, he never game me any answer at all, he evaded every question then simply ignored me. As the last few of us waited the doors clattered open and in ran a squad of around 8 riot police who quickly ran behind each of us shouting at people to get out of the pub. I asked sergeant 308 what would be the consequences of not getting on the bus, as I didn’t want to get on it unless I was getting a full instruction. He simply repeated for me to get on the bus. I asked again if I would be arrested if I didn’t go on the bus, he then told me to get on the bus and squared up to me and snarled in my face ‘are you obstructing me?’ and repeated this several times each time getting closer to my face and getting louder and faster in a very threatening and intimidating manner. At this point I took his number and proceeded to get on the bus as I felt I was in imminent danger of being assaulted and was very intimidated.
We were then driven in procession in front of all the jeering communists, some of them performing obscene acts towards us, with no hint of arrests or even a ‘talking to’ from any of the nearby officers.
The bus was filled with riot police. At no time had any SDL or EDL person made even a gesture of violence of any kind, and yet the bus was filled with black uniformed police in riot gear.
EDL & SDL Members Held on the Buses
EDL Members Held on the Buses
The bus journey took a very long time. After around twenty minutes or so, one of the passengers, a pregnant lady, asked to use a lavatory, to which she was told the bus will not be stopping. After some pleading she eventually had to relieve herself in between two seats of a moving bus while some people held flags up to try and preserve some of her dignity. People on the bus were very concerned about this and others also had by now been on the bus for quite some time as they waited for every person to be fully searched and read the details into the cameras.
A lot of them also were quite desperately in need of toilet facilities of which there were none available. We were on a motorway and someone suggested the police stop the bus and allow people to relieve themselves at the side of the road. An inspector was asked and he refused. Men asked if they too could then relieve themselves in the same manner as the lady, which was refused. Half an hour or so later, people were getting quite desperate, and also it had been noted that we were being driven in circles as we were passing landmarks for the third time.
One man, who had a medical complaint of an ulcer, was pleading to be allowed to relieve himself. It got to the point that he was getting very ill and he did ask if he couldn’t relieve himself that someone needed to call him an ambulance. It took a full ten minutes before the bus was finally stopped to allow himself to do this. Eventually, after much protesting within the bus, the police also allowed others outside to relieve themselves on a fence at the side of the road, in two's.
Two women, a pregnant woman and an old woman had to go and crouch behind a wall at the other side of the road, they were very nearly in tears of embarrassment as they were overlooked by the double decker buses.
Eventually, we were dropped at a place called Linlithgow, many miles away from our starting point. Some people only had return fares on their trains from Edinburgh with no money at all to return back. The police told us we could now do whatever we wanted, including going back to Edinburgh and just dumped us upon that town.
A few had a pint, a few went for food, a few went home. A lot of people had to borrow money from each other.
At no time even after that when the police had left us, was there any trouble anywhere, people simply had a sociable drink then went on their way. A group of decent law abiding citizens who support our troops were treated worse than I’d ever expect lawful people to be treated within these shores. The police were favouring the anarchist, anti-British types who will be throwing bottles of urine at the next homecoming of our troops as is their usual trick. Police making political decisions and forgoing any impartiality is a very dangerous precedent, and means that freedom of speech in Edinburgh is dead and gone.