On Saturday 17th June antifascists, trade unionists, anarchists and socialists gathered from across Scotland to demonstrate against an anti-immigrant rally being held in Elgin by Hitler fanboy Alek Yerbury and his neo-Nazi Highland Division.
A vigil for refugees was organised on the Plainstones by Moray TUC on one side of the church, where people started to gather from around 11am, while a handful of fascists began to gather around the other side. A self-described libertarian wandered around the vigil with his young children while filming, generally being an arse, and trying to get antifascists to debate him. Despite the clear advantage in numbers, Moray TUC were reluctant to go around the church to confront the fascists, aiming instead to focus on their own peaceful vigil – fortunately they were unable to maintain control over the situation.
Just before noon, a 17 year old punk boy upheld a glorious antifascist tradition by punching Alek Yerbury and was cautioned by police. Shortly after this, antifascists spontaneously began to pour around the side of the church, quickly surrounding Yerbury and the 7 Highland Division Nazis and forcing the police to form a protective circle around them.
Susan Slater of Moray TUC made a weak attempt to stop people chanting “fascist scum off our streets” and stick to “positive slogans” – there’s always one liberal telling people how to protest. This request was promptly ignored. Susan Slater later told a Northern Scot journalist she was disappointed that the Nazis were confronted directly – maybe Moray TUC needs new reps or to up its commitment to antifascism!
For two hours Highland Division were drowned out by between 200 and 300 antifascists, trade unionists and locals. There were chants of “fascist scum off our streets”, “say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here”, “when refugees are under attack what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” as well as such hit songs as “you can shove your Nazi flag up your arse” and “the master race? You’re havin a laugh,” with a special shout-out to comrade vuvuzela. Several times Alek Yerbury tried to start speaking, only to be drowned out with a wall of noise and forced to give up.
Eventually the Nazis had enough and the police line fell back to try and offer them an escape route, which was met by antifascists immediately surging forwards and pushing the tightly protected Nazis into an alleyway while victoriously chanting “who’s streets? Our streets!”
Some antifascists then broke off and ran down a parallel street to cut the Nazis off at the other side, sandwiching them in. After some half hearted threats to charge the antifascists blocking the other side of the alleyway with participating in an illegal moving protest, the police let the Nazis out of a side entrance. Yerbury and Highland Division were then pursued all the way back to their minibus, with police forming a defensive line across the entrance to the car park.
Other than the boy who was cautioned there were 0 arrests, the fascists were outnumbered at least 20 to 1, and they were driven out of Elgin in one of the most humiliating defeats anyone could expect.
We’ll never let Nazis have a platform in Scotland, nae pasaran!
~ Antifascist Action Dundee
Image: EDL in Leicester / Guy Smallman