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The pro-freedom of expression rally in London

The rally in Trafalgar Square today was attended by about 1,000 (at most by my estimate) very disparate people and was a worthy effort for a poorly funded ad-hoc team of folks.

My main criticism would be that most of the speakers seemed to have little concept of speaking to a wide coalition of people united by a single issue: If an Iranian communist or anyone else, wants to talk about freedom of expression at a rally in London, then I am happy to listen, but the moment they start talking about Guantanamo Bay, US foreign policy or ‘just’ economic systems, which are NOTHING to do with the issue at hand, I will quite bluntly thank them to stick their views where the sun does not shine. They would do well to talk about what we have in common and not remind me that we are in fact profound ideological enemies.

Peter Tatchell and Evan Harris were well received and made compelling points. However in my opinion Sean Gabb was without doubt the best speaker as he was direct, clear and uncompromising, and most importantly confined his remarks entirely to the subject of freedom of expression. He also spoke for about half as long as most as the others, eschewing off-topic rambling and partisan digressions, which also endeared him to many in the crowd. If an unreconstructed free market capitalist like Gabb can resist advocating capitalism at a pro-freedom of expression rally, I will thank communists, socialists, greens and anyone else to kindly show the same focus on why we came to listen to what they have to say.

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The stout fellows of the Infidel Bloggers Alliance were well
represented and took the piss most artfully

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In the Trafalgar Square cafe, they were serving Danish Pastries, which seemed appropriate

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Police photographers were very much in evidence and
seemed inordinately interested in the back of Sean Gabb’s head

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The police did not like this sign at all

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According to a warden, there is allegedly a by-law against flying national flags in Trafalgar Square, which I find hard to believe as I always see Palestinian flags and (burning) US or Israeli flags when ever folks from the Middle East protest in Trafalgar Square… so the Danish Flags here became ‘Danish Shawls’… I find such lack of compliance with regulations quite heartening.

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On two occasions, The Plod tried to prevent certain signs being shown (one featured the Mohammed Cartoons on a placard from the Iranian Communist Party and another showed a mask of Tony Blair over a Nazi symbol). These incidents at a ‘pro-freedom of expression’ rally, and the presence of the police taking pictures of the crowd, were a useful reminder of the deadening hand of the state and just how precarious the state of civil liberties in Britain are.

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98 comments to The pro-freedom of expression rally in London

  • I have a migraine

    More ‘Free Speech Rally’ photos here;

    (Link)

    here;

    (Link)

    and here;

    (Link)

  • Verity

    Thanks so much, Perry – for the plentiful, interesting photos, and for the commentary. I am puzzled about why this rally was organised in the first place when everything was banned at the last minute. It has had appalling press on the blogs, including The Rottweiler Puppy and quite a few others. Appalling press meaning, the ban on motoons at a rally for freedom of expression that was motivated by the worldwide Motoon Rage.

    Too bad some of the speakers turned it into a lefty political rally. I think a lot of people suspected this would happen after the organisers made the announcement of no motoons, and stayed home after all. I know that if I’d been in Britain, I would have changed my plans to attend after that announcement.

    The heavy police presence was disheartening. Who on earth are these people to decide what other people can do legally? I liked the fact that there were so many other people there with cameras though, filming the police. I think all the police filming was for purposes of intimidation. There weren’t that many of them filming the Islamofruitcakes threatening death and a British holocaust a month ago.

    Peter Tatchell’s an honourable man and his placard was good, but he too got mixed up on the side of political correctness/lefty totalitarianism in this instance, which is a shame.

    All in all, disappointing turn-out, although, like the rally in front of the Danish Consulate in NYC, all the people looked nice, well-behaved and courteous with no faces contorted in fury and no foaming. Nice change.

    Good for the crowd for turning the Danish flags into shawls, although your point that Palestinian and American flags – prior to being set alight – are freely displayed at totalitarian rallies in Trafalgar Sq. What was the sign, that was being held by a black chap, that the young policeman was so disapproving of?

    And why should the police try to stop someone hanging a swaztika round a mask of Tony Blair? What crime was committed? It’s not allowed to insult The Leader? The Little Father?

    Thanks for your excellent coverage, Perry!

  • Nick M

    Samizdatistas, and other freedom loving folk, good show.

    I love the photo of the guy with the Carlsberg inspired slogan. It shows our moral and intellectual superiority for the simple reason that we have a sense of humour and goals that don’t involve the beheading of anyone.

    We are right and we will win. The good guys always do, in the end. That’s what my mother taught me and Clint Eastwood showed me. In the end, but the fight will be terrible.

    Per ardua, Ad astra!

    (if only they hadn’t given up their nukes.)

  • Mr. Good Show

    I would have loved to hear exactly what the police officers told the man, what justifications they gave.

    Sure, it would have probably been standard fare copper horsecrap, but these kind of things need to be kept in mind.

  • Nick M

    Trust Verity to get in first. I was still typing when she posted. She’s a machine!

  • I am happy to see that people showed up with the “Satanic Toons” regardless of what the organisers said. Good show!

    BTW, your point about strictly sticking to what unites people at a demo like that is VERY good advice, I must say.

  • Nick M

    BTW, your point about strictly sticking to what unites people at a demo like that is VERY good advice, I must say.

    We’re English. We expect better grammar We don’t expect more compliance. This ain’t Airstrip-1 yet.

  • Verity

    I wasn’t trying to get in first, but I am in a different time zone and had just sat down at my computer with an (early) cocktail and checked whether Perry had posted yet.

  • Alan Massey

    I was there (I’m even in the background of one of your pictures :o) ), and agree with what you say. The lefty speakers couldn’t keep themselves from veering off-topic, and Sean Gabb was definately one of the better speakers.

  • Nick M

    Verity,
    An early cocktail? I’m impressed. I’m having a Calsberg right now, so cheers!

  • fred_says

    Thanks for the pics, that danish is making me hungry (the pastry, that is).

  • The bit about the Iranian Communists is troubling. They also came to the Toronto rally from a few weeks ago, peddling propaganda flyers and posturing as political martyrs. These arseholes have a great talent of playing victim and of cynically using any opportunity as a soap box for their ideological trash. I am of Eastern European origin and I lived Communism. I cannot comprehend why Communists were allowed to speak in public at the London and Toronto rallies, but the BNP wasn’t (there’s no BNP equivalent in Canada). There is no difference between Communism and Nazism with regards to their equally murderous nature, yet somehow Westerners think that the former is an acceptable ideology, even an acceptable ally when suitable. More to the point, if Communists are given the limelight to shine as defenders of freedom (what a hypocrisy!) why not also invite some Islamists to address the crowd? Why would some totalitarians be embraced and others shunned? Communists, Nazis, Islamists are surely persecuted or worse in various places (Communists in Iran, Nazis in Germany, Islamists in the USA – just to give the obvious examples) and have a valid claim to decry a lack of freedom… to attend to their business like regular citizens. They could surely enrich the discourse on freedom of speech by bringing to the fold their unique perspectives. Let’s expand the multi-ideological alliance set in place by today’s rally. It can only contribute to a deeper understanding and tolerance between equally valid viewpoints, wouldn’t it?

    Well, enough ranting. It seems that relativism is the preferred form of suicide in the West.

  • Verity

    emil – That is what I fear, too. Brainwashing is so evident throughout British life, and the victims are willing, which is even worse. The only difference between Fascism, Communism and Islam is that Islam is, in the main, more intolerant and violent. Yet there are “open-minded, non-judgemental” (the new sainthood) Brits who defend it – including our own dear Fascist Little Father, Tony Blair in an extraordinarily deranged – even by his standards – speech a couple of days ago. And more anti-woman, yet the Left, who whine about glass ceilings in corporate offices and think pregnant women ought to get a year’s maternity leave on full pay, embrace it anyway.

    It’s chilling.

    I almost agree with you that the West is committing suicide, but I would change the definition to Europe and Britain (save Denmark). Why is this strange event taking place? And Britain’s at the front of the queue.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Why are they embracing evil and calling it tolerance? Why are they sacrificing their culture to an evil strand in humanity? Why would the organisers of a rally to support freedom of expression issue a fiat against Motoons?

  • James

    As I understood it (‘understood’ being the operative, before I get shot down in flames again), the organisers only ‘requested’ that Motoons not be displayed. Even in Trafalgar Square, I find it hard to understand how rally organisers could ‘ban’ something in a public place anyway.

    I would suggest that the reason this was requested was to ensure that it didn’t descend into an anti-anti-Motoons-fest, with the focus on the broader agenda of freedom of expression sidelined or lost completely. This was, after all, an event which gained media attention, however insignificant, so I’m sure the organisers were very much mindful of this when planning it.

    Now, the only questions remaining after seeing this article are i) where can I get one of those T-shirts and ii) who is that hot young woman in the bottom pic? 😛

  • Verity

    James: ” so I’m sure the organisers were very much mindful of this when planning it.”

    No. They back-peddled the day before the rally. It wouldn’t have turned into an anti-Motoonsfest because the feeling of the antis is more dismissive and not as passionate and intense of that of the Musloonies. There might have been some fairly bland, basically good-natured jokes, but nothing like the face-contorting intensity the Islamonuts pour into their demos. There was absolutely no danger there.

    Yet the organisers of the freedom of expression rally took fright. Why? My guess: threats. Either from the Islamonuts or the police or both. So it became an assorted non-rally with no focus and thus few ralliers.

    James – Yes, that girl is very pretty and stylish and has a nice sense of attitude. She could not occur in an Islamic country. But the left doesn’t seem to care. That is what is so eerie about this whole thing.

  • James

    Ah… Found this entry of Peter Risdon’s blog:

    In practice, Muslims who wholeheartedly endorse our statement of principle, as quoted below by Peter Tatchell in his superb essay, who abhor the threats made against Danish cartoonists and believe people should have the right to publish things they themselves find offensive or abhorrent would be UNABLE to come to our rally on Saturday, because to be surrounded by these cartoons, now, in the present context when the BNP are using them as a rallying point, would be intolerable.

    So I now appeal to people not to bring the cartoons on T-shirts or placards.

    Which sounds like a bit of a fudge, really. Surely the principle of freedom of expression is absolute, beyond irrational conjecture such as the reason stated?

    But, as I mentioned, it was a ‘watched’ event, so perhaps he was mindful of wanting to make sure there were a few Muslim faces for the faces. Who knows.

  • James – You can get the shirt at T-Shirt Hell.
    I’m still geeking over my Che Guevera shirt I got at Those Shirts

  • James

    Ah… If it was a turn-around the day before, then… Well, who knows? Obviously wasn’t a planned tactical ploy for the media, then.

    I can imagine Inspector bin Knacker having a kind word in their ear, in that case…

    Any ideas as to why the police were recording images? In case of far-right infiltration, perhaps? The leftist element that was there? Or just concern about too much promotion of freedom of expression?

  • Bernie

    The in the bottom picture was from the University of London and hails from Texas. She was spectacularly good looking from the rear too I might add.

    I agree 100% with Perry’s analysis. I would add that Sean Gabb, who is not my favourite speaker, was eloquent and charismatic in coparison with any other speaker there today. He made his points with incisive logic and I’m sure won friends who may seek out what else he has to say because he left the audience wanting more rather than outstaying his welcome like all the others.

    I’ve a couple of interesting pictures of the police which I am unable to send to Perry till tomorrow night but hopefully he will consider them still worth posting.

  • nic

    I think the sudden shift was unfortunate. And I believe the idea that the motoons are capable of scaring genuine free speech supporting muslims is somewhat laughable. But there are strange moves being made at the moment over icon useage and it is hard to tell how productive it is for libertarians to pick some pretty unfunny cartoons as their standards to be born. Maybe if it was organised so that offensive cartoons of all targets were displayed all at once (including anti-christian, anti-semitic and anti-athiest), the point might be got across more evenly.

    Personally, I aimed for humour instead. And will do in the future.

  • Verity

    She’s not only very pretty, but has a Texas attitude, that’s for sure. And good on her! She’s right out there!

    But again I say, she would never have happened in an Islamic country. That neat outfit she was wearing would not have happened in an Islamic country. Islam is everything that is against freedom, natural development and humanity – and flirting. (Gives women too much power. That’s why they have to be neutered young; in case they are motivated to flirt later.) Yet the rally organisers, the day before the rally, bent to pressure from someone and asked for no vapid Motoons.

    Something wrong here. Why did they organise the rally if they were prepared to render it meaningless? I think this point has to be pursued.

  • emil

    @Verity

    “Why are they embracing evil and calling it tolerance? Why are they sacrificing their culture to an evil strand in humanity?”

    One reason could be moral confusion and a lack of courage (the latter being a by-product of the former). There is a paradox going unnoticed in the behaviour of many pro freedom of speech people. Most agree that freedom of speech includes the freedom to offend, and I fully agree with that. However, in their day-to-day dealings, most people actually willingly censor themselves in order not to offend anyone. One of the most widespread disclaimers is “not that is anything wrong with that”. Opinions are carefully worded (and diluted in the process) such that they cause as little mental distress and offence as possible. People are so obssessed by conforming to social norms that it has become second nature. This submission to the sensibilities of the other has actually been elevated to a pinnacle of civilization and sophistication. Telling it like it is, vigourous debate centered on proving a point even at the cost of leaving your opponent in the dust is suppressed in the name of getting along. This is the paramount value being worshipped nowadays. Self reliance and fighting spirit are considered signs of backward isolation breeding violence. So, since most people are actually conditioned to not offend, how sincere, effective and consistent with their daily lives is this once a decade support for the freedom to offend? Freedom has to be lived and exercised on a daily basis, in all its aspects. Then we’ll stand a better chance of prevailing. Maybe that’s the main lesson taught by today’s rally, especially since its organizers have clearly failed to exercise their freedom by opposing the display of those offensive cartoons. That was the wrong example, but I hope that in the future people organizing such events will have moral clarity and courage.

  • James

    I get the impression that there might be another reason why he did a U-turn: I’ve been reading a couple of leftish blogs and have come across a bit of criticism of the rally, just because it appeared to be that it wasn’t necessarily going to be a left/ centre love-in.

    So perhaps he felt that he’d have lost a potential group of supporters at the rally, if he’d continued with the absolutist principle.

    Normally, I prefer to refrain from being nasty about someone, but this guy’s just a complete tosser: http://johnnyvoid.blogspot.com/

    He has absolutely nothing of intellectual worth to say or contribute to, choosing to ridicule anybody who doesn’t share his ideology instead.

    I’m thankful for him though, as he makes me appear capable of making cogent arguments now and again.

  • Verity

    emil – Your analysis was very interesting and, I think, correct. People dilute their spoken opinions for fear of offending.

    There is a distinction between offending needlessly and speaking frankly against wrongs which can be righted and anti-civilisation attitudes that have been freely adopted. I think we all know the difference and don’t need instruction from the totalitarian sector.

    But emil, you also cite “moral confusion” and I do not believe this. I would argue that every normally developed human being has a moral compass. There is no “confusion”. That is my point. There are deliberate anti-liberty choices being made here, and I think they are being made by those in our own societies who harbour great bitterness against Western civilisation.

    Who knows why, and who gives a shit? What’s critical is, we rally. And the rally was neutred, de-clawed and de-fanged at the last minute.

    Why?

  • Expatriate

    All in all it was just a tiny bunch of well-behaved middle-class kids politely making a point. The whole thing had been watered down to ensure that no nasty chavs with their un-PC attitudes turned up and that no member of the BEM could possibly be upset by the presence of “racists” (i.e. the non-university educated lower orders).

    I applaud the attendees for their efforts, but honestly, if this is the best the UK can do you are pretty well stuffed. The young street-toughs who are going to force Sharia down your throats will have been inspired to further action by seeing not the demonstrators but the LACK of demonstrators; not the passion of the marchers but their meek and mildness. Cronulla may have been a disgrace but it did have a far more sobering effect on the beach-invading thugs and the communities which bred them than any display of British good manners.

  • Henning

    From a Dane.
    Thanks for the support.

    And take a look at this. Thats is what the religion of peace is about in Denmark.

    (Link)

    (Link)

    No flags in Trafalgar Square !!!!!!! What about New Year ????

  • pst314

    emil, I agree with your comments–and since you have lived under communism may I offer my inadequate sympathies?

    I agree with what you said about moral relativism as something which mentally cripples people’s ability to recognize and confront evil. However, I think there is another factor also at work: Many who profess this relativism nonetheless are moral absolutists on various topics–they simply use relativism to undermine the ideas of their opponents.

  • Verity

    Cronulla wasn’t a disgrace. People sticking up for their own territory are not a disgrace. It is outrageous to dub the Ozzies who stood up for Australian values against Islamofascist thugs “a disgrace”. The thugs were – oh, ‘disgrace’ is too refined a word – fascist, controlling, aspirational, violent and primitive aggressors who really don’t belong in civilisation. That’s a bit closer.

  • observer

    To be fair to the police, they only stepped in regarding the tony blair mask with swastika at the insistence of the organisers head steward who had failed to remove the swastika himself. Apparently freedom of expression has its limits – the organisers couldn’t tolerate the swastika.

  • Verity

    Expatriate notes: All in all it was just a tiny bunch of well-behaved middle-class kids politely making a point.

    You are correct. Two thousand years of civilisation and civility to other people and a quiet acceptance of their rights as our fellow humans. Beheading those who disagree with us is so infra dig.

    You know what? I think the cowardly restrictions put on this watered-down rally are evolving into power for those they sought to disempower. Because so many blogs are disapproving to say the least. The force has turned against them – with blogs from Europe included.

    Those unintended consequences just keep barrelling along, don’t they?

  • hm

    Just been reading some of Sean Gabb’s writings and they make me wonder how he ended up being “the best speaker” yesterday.

    IMHO, that guy’s pretty much gone off the kooky end.

  • Expatriate

    Verity,

    I am an Aussie (and a Brit)! And Cronulla was a disgrace because it was the culmination of years of turning a blind eye to the activities of violent ethnic gangs until their victims felt obliged to abandon rule of law and lower their own standards of behaviour to those of their aggressors. The most digraceful part was played by the politicians for ignoring gang activity in return for ethnic votes, and the police for allowing the politicians to bully them into inaction.

  • Miguel

    In my opinion, this rally was organized by lefties et al. In other words a faked rally. Those atacks on the US, Blair, religion (“All religion is anti-human”), the lefty speakers addressing the crowd…it all makes me think that it either was infiltrated or perhaps even organized by the moonbats.
    It’s not the kind of rally that would “really” oppose Muslim tyrany.

  • Nitpicking time…

    The two signs in the top photo are dumb. Most people believe a) in some concept of the divine, and b) that slander/libel is not a victimless crime, so “Blasphemy is a victimless crime” is ludicrous to any other than the atheist microminority. (Blaspheming a prophet indirectly slanders/libels the deity in question; it ridicules the deity’s wisdom in making hiring decisions, as it were.)

    “There is nothing more sacred than freedom” makes a similar error, ignoring that most humans believe in the existence of something outranking humanity, and thus in something more sacred than human liberty.

    The slogans should appeal to principles that liberty-loving folks of all faiths and faithlessness can agree upon. Giving government the power to define blasphemy gives it the power to define someone’s religion; to paraphrase Shakespeare, the State can rewrite Scripture for its purpose. A government could prohibit blasphemy against all religions, but not with intellectual honesty – pluralism enshrines blasphemy by allowing conflicting religions to exist.

    The bottom line is that the slogans should focus not on blasphemy itself but on the dangers posed when the State or other temporal agencies (like armed mobs) aim to settle such issues through force.

    Perhaps the next placard could take a little inspiration from Martin Niemöller.

  • guy

    James,

    Any ideas as to why the police were recording images?

    Now standard procedure at all demonstrations or ‘secured’ events. It is certainly intimidatory in effect even if not in intent. Hard to see people demonstrating for really unpopular causes under such circumstances. There were also helicopters monitoring the rally from overhead, as is standard.

    Given that the smallest group with placards (outside a conference, say) merits a police cordon, and if government or diplomatic buildings are involved there will be armed officers present, it is quite astonishing any actual criminal investigation gets done.

  • Blaspheming a prophet indirectly slanders/libels the deity in question

    Absurd. You can’t slander/libel ‘god’ any more than you can slander/libel Santa Claus because neither are real. If god is upset by something I said, let him personally appear before me with his lawyer and we can thrash it out in court. Deal? How otherwise intelligent people can hold with such nonsence is a marvel.

    And I have news for you, mate, most people in Britain are “functional atheists” even if they are noninal Anglicans and you only need look at church attendence figures in Britain to see the truth of that. Most people have never read the bible either. Not once. Practicing Christians, THEY are the micro-minority, in England at least.

  • Thanks for the link to my pictures. Interesting site you have here …

  • Ted

    The police presence confirms my worst fears – that the authorities are failing to differentiate between law abiding citizens (gosh – protesting to protect free speech) and islamic fundamentalism. The latter is a real and dangerous enemy to our way of life and a stronger government would declare it to be so and then apply the full force of the law and military against its adherents and sympathisers. As it stands, the government is indulging in what is today called ‘moral equivalence’ and what has in the past been termed ‘appeasement’.

    The only need for police and security forces at a gathering of this kind would be to protect the citizens, not to harass them, photograph them and treat them as the enemy, or potential enemies. This government is showing that it cannot, or refuses, to protect honest citizens. Rather it provides massive security details for itself and its employees (eg ministers) while actively harassing those of us who are trying to live free lives ‘on the front line’ – we who are most in danger.

    To think that we pay taxes to support this lot makes the situation more absurd. We need a government that adopts a zero tolerance attitude towards islamic extremism, before more mass murder ensues. I know that this is not PC, but it is reality and we are all living in it.

  • Hereward

    Re police taking videos/photos, has anybody ever attempted to take pictures of the police who are taking pictures

  • john

    Joined at 3.05 and I only managed to catch the tail end of a very idealist woman who, rhetorically, was going all around the houses and in and out of so many doors, and, it sounded to my ears, she was unable to close these same doors before she ventured through other ones. It was raining at the time, and I was irritated. I too was mildly impressed with Sean Gabb only because I heard the names of Griffin, Hamza, Irving & Ellis mentioned. This is meat and drink. Don’t understand for the life of me why Hamza though, he’s a terrorist!? But then sometimes its impossible to follow the logic of these radical libertarians, with Hamza surely it’s an indisputable fact he was inciting , recruiting and encouraging acts of terrorism from Finsbury Park Mosque, whereas the other 3 are genuine free speech issues. I too don’t know why it was “de-clawed, de-fanged at the last minute”. This wasn’t the same Voltaire who wrote a book on Mohammed. I’m English, and my whole point in going was to “protest” and show solidarity with Denmark and the Danish people, not to get all “catholic” about it, and “love Muslims”. I agree that Cronulla sent shockwaves around the globe, asserted Australian values and sent out a powerful image that is very far from dhimmitude (the don’t mess with us sort, or take us for fools) Yesterday’s rally was really a kind of “institutionalised dhimmitude”, whereby the Labour gov, and Met police provided the real parameters. Next time perhaps it will be bigger, better and brighter. Can anybody explain to me why this organiser has a bee in his bonnet about one of the British political parties, that according to my own understanding, isn’t banned, isn’t illegal and doesn’t advocate terrorism? Moreover it has that terrible democrartic habit of appearing on ballot papers(not in cartoons). In what way when “they “ turn up is it any different from supporters or voters of Labour or UKIP? Surely, following the attempted incarceration of its political leader by the CPS for precisely an issue of free speech concerned (surprise, surprise!) with Islamo-fascism, such a reaction is truly pathetic and smacks of bigotry and bias.

  • I didn’t see anyone asserting his/her right to be offended. Suppressing speech also suppresses people’s right to be offended. Sounds cockeyed but without the right to be offended, everybody becomes the king with no clothes.

    Also, one would never know when one has bad breath or an ineffective deodorant. Cartoons mocking Islam are mere mirrors. Muslims want to break the mirrors. The mainstream media complies. The images endure.

    Want people to read a book? Ban it.

  • Fash Harry

    Presumably it’s “free speech” that allows for you to inflate a gathering of 200 wet Nazi’s into a crowd of 1000.

  • eee

    Fash Harry,

    So if there were 200 Nazis there, how many people were there there that are not Nazis? Just the Samizdatistas and Sean Gabb? What about the Communists; are they Nazis?

  • Nazis where Fash Harry? Are you trying to be cute or clever?

  • Verity

    Someone who knows Voltaire could tell us whether they think he genuinely intended an anti-dhimmitude gathering and was bullied by the Islamofascists into backing down and sending out a panicky “No Motoons!” the night before the rally, or whether he never intended it to be a protest against intolerance in the first place.

    After his instruction not to bring the Toons I would have changed my plans and not attended, and I suspect this happened with many others. All the blogs I have read condemned this pusillamity. I mean, he handed the Islamonazis a victory in which they didn’t even have to fight.

    The only other possibility is, he got warned off by the government, as Tony Blair sees anything that might be misconstrued as anti-Islam as something he personally does not approve of. And Britain today is run by what Tony Blair does/does not approve of.

    Which of the three I’ve mentioned above do people think this huge back-down was caused by?

  • Wow. I find it quite shocking just how many police are monitoring – and videotaping in a most insidious fashion – what is obviously a good natured and peaceful demonstration. Banning the unveiling of national flags? Removal of certain banners stridently critical of national leaders? Britain is further down the path to tyranny than I thought.

    My first reaction was to thank god that this kind of stifling of expression wouldn’t happen in Australia. However, the more I think about it, the less confidence I have in the ability (and interest) of my country’s leaders to defend such liberties. Profoundly depressing.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Nice pictures, Perry.Question: how heavily policed was the event? It looks from the photos that Pc Plod turned out in some force.

    I agree that Sean Gabb did the right thing by focussing on the issue at hand – the right to say what you want in a public forum regardless of how offensive that might be. The moonbats only turn people off by doing their “Bush is McHitler” routine.

  • Verity

    Stephen Pollard quotes from a blog on which Peter Tatchell has written about freedom of speech. (Link) As Pollard says, Tatchell absolutely hits the mark.

  • Johnathan

    Verity, I have read Tatchell’s comments and they are excellent. I have actually met him and he is one of the good guys, even if he needs a bit of work on the economics. But his gut instincts are entirely to the good.

  • Did anyone take a look at the link to more photos of the rally that Nordish provided above?

    Scroll two thirds of the way down the page and have a look at the pictures of Maryam Namazie making a speech.

    In the background of two of the snaps, the photographer speculates that he’s caught shots of the person responsible for a complaint mentioned in a BBC report. The man, who is of “Middle eastern appearance” or possibly subcontinental, is pointing out something in the crowd to a police officer. Apparently the complainant

    felt threatened by a placard they believed depicted the Prophet Muhammad.

    The article goes on to state

    details of the complaint, together with evidence gathered by police are to be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service.”

    Absolutely unbelievable. Is Britain really such a dhimmi state?

  • I said ‘at most’ 1000… might have been 600 like the BBC said, but saying 200 is absurd. There were probably 200 when I arrived 20 mins before the rally even started.

    And please keep in mind that it does not matter that there were communists, greens and libdems there, anytime anyone does something these people do not like (and I refer to the far left dhimmis and not just the Islamo-fascists), they scream FASCIST! at the top of their voices and point away from theirselves so that folks to not realise how similar they are to the, well, fascists. They are all collectivists working towards a authoritarian future.

  • Verity

    Yes, that crappy little manipulative troublemaker – ooops! – outstanding citizen of Middle Eastern or Mediterranean appearance – maybe even a taxpayer, although I doubt it – is definitely on a mission. The British police and Crown Prosecution Service will give him all the assistance he requires to close down freedomof speech.

    If he “felt threatened” by a poster, maybe he should stay away from rallies? Especially violent, ill-natured, foam-flecked RoP rallies?

  • Verity

    All the blogs should run this guy’s photo. The Danish blogs would pick it up, for sure. If we could get his name, we could investigate him. Mohammad someone, to be sure.

  • The fact that Verity posts that she would have changed her plans to not attend instead of just turning up with the toons as we did speaks volumes! Well done to all of us that ignored the silly row and bad blog press, some lefty (thoroughly igonorable) drivel and turned up. We had a great day. Shame the US rallies were so pathetic. This in comparison was an excellent start by an organisation finding its feet in difficult times. It has encouraged us all to meet up again, ignore the likes of you lot supping cocktails and commenting-only and get off our arses. I really cannot be bothered with proper fineries after reading this lot in the comment section. Euch you lot are TRULY AWFUL!Apparently dhimmi is limited to Britain. lol. Will they be prosecuting the student editor in the US fired for publishing the cartoons? And i do hope the US takes back its little terrorist for trial over there re the ‘British’ bomb plot.

    As for the dreadful comment about middle classers, youre right it wasnt a rent a mob bunch at all. Good for us. Snotty blogging!

  • john

    There is an obvious perspective that simply explains the obtrusive and threatening manner in which the police observed with cameras et al, and intervened this time. They clearly believe themselves to be occupying the via media and equate such gatherings as merely the opposite end of the political scales of the previous islamo-fascist gathering. Don’t expect appreciation of nuance, or balance here. The Met has become absolutely pc brainwashed, healthy Thomas Paine-like common-sense simply doesn’t exist. Don’t expect some miraculous identification of the state and the people here. Rather the images we saw of the police in Belarus come to mind. Their attitude irritated me greatly. Did anybody see the BBC 2 Newsnight film of the policeman threatening a chap who simply wished to oppose the Islamo fascists with their threatening and abusive placards “Get back in your car….don’t you do anything…. or I will nick you”. Compare this with the assistance given to a “spotter”. The hands-off approach was very absent yesterday wasn’t it, but we know how they think and how they value “relations with the Muslim community”

    http://www.filelodge.com/files/room11/278741/Operation%20Contest/Restricted%20Policy1.pdf

    The natural response is to believe that the message being demonstrated for yesterday was so reasonable that anybody with decent common-sense would understand and support it, well, maybe, but look at the numbers that showed up! Very worrying. For the state authorities we were a tolerated potentially inflammatory nuisance in the wider scheme of Muslim relations.

  • Verity

    Alison, your rant was very telling, but I’m glad you turned up with the Motoons despite the organisers’ pleas to leave them at home. I am afraid that plea spoke volumes to me. The organisers (clearly not you) did not have the courage of their convictions and allowed themselves to be blackmailed by Muslim “sensibilities” – as though Muslim sensibilities should be elevated above British (I use the word advisedly) sensibilities in our own country. Re the American segment of your rant, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    BTW, I “felt threatened” by that man of Middle Eastern or Mediterranean appearance who was pointing something out to a copper. I would like to get his name so I can report him to the Met.

  • Hi Perry,

    I linked to you last night and used a couple of your photos, with attribution and a link back to this post. So now my link (with one of the photos) is on Memeorandum. If you go to my post it says “photos by Samizdata” but if you just scan the Memeorandum page, it looks like I took the photo.

    I just wanted to drop by and let you know that wasn’t my intention, I just wanted to link to some of the reports of the rally and show that clever t-shirt. (I hope that guy has bodyguards because his picutre is all over the net now.)

  • warriorjason

    None of this was reported on any of the main stream media outlets. Obviously, at least I believe, that they are more concerned with political correctness and not freedom of speech. Also, the radical Muslims are doing nothing but stepping on their own toes by being so anti-free speech. Of course they want free speech to preach their hate against Israel, the UK and the USA.

  • marsh

    Interesting to see how many women attended the march. Interesting because women will be one of the main victims of Islamofascism. Compare this to the anti-toons rally and the number of women there. The only ones I saw was the holocaust threatening tent woman and the little kid with the ‘I heart Osama’ hat. Interesting times indeed.

  • Johnathan

    Alison, I am glad you turned up and good for you, but much of what you say is incoherent and aggressive. Not all of us can turn up for rallies. Some of us have other things we have to do. That’s life.

  • Protest babes! Victory is assured.

  • Verity

    marsh – There were a lot of women at the worldwide Cartoon Rage Roadshow. There were dozens at the rallies in Britain. It’s just that they all looked like the same person, but there were lots of tents. Same in Yemen. The women were right out there seething and screaming. And the UAE.

    Muslim women are very aggressive, as I have noted before. They intentionally bump into normal women, or push in front to get through a door. I cannot be the only woman who has noticed this as it happens all the time in the West. They will actually try knock one aside. These tent-clad monstrosities know we can’t identify them and they want us to know they disapprove of us. If only they knew what we think of them – the aggressive moos.

  • Matt O'Halloran

    The police were able to count the attendance one by one, it was so small. 190, including rubbernecking tourists.

    A counter-demo in Birmingham organised by the Muslim Action Committee claims to have drawn 300.

    Admit it, this was a sodden half-cock flop and most Brits are as deaf, dumb and blind to threats to their civil liberties as if libertarianism had never been invented.

    As for the placards indiscriminately insulting religious faith, Ayn Rand wouldn’t have objected.

    I notice by the way that you haven’t yet commented on the possible dismissal of a Leeds University lecturer for expressing the wrong sort of opinions about race, immigration and the BNP. Are you looking the other way like ‘Liberty’ always does when it isn’t a right-on victim in the frame? This guy’s a real villain, he stood up for the British way of life.

    PS: Who was the babe in high heels with the mike? Wouldn’t mind taking a few liberties with her! (Civil ones, of course.)

  • Johnathan

    There is all the difference in the world with tolerating offensive views and going out of one’s way to be offensive. That is the point that needs to be made over and over.

    As for the placards indiscriminately insulting religious faith, Ayn Rand wouldn’t have objected.

    Quite so, Matt, quite so.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I notice by the way that you haven’t yet commented on the possible dismissal of a Leeds University lecturer for expressing the wrong sort of opinions about race, immigration and the BNP. Are you looking the other way like ‘Liberty’ always does when it isn’t a right-on victim in the frame? This guy’s a real villain, he stood up for the British way of life.

    Nonsense. This blog has defended, for instance, the right of people such as the loathesome David Irving, for example, to preach his views on the Holocaust, and if an academic wants to spout racist twaddle, he can do so, although the taxpayers who pay his salary also have the right to demand he earns a living not at their expense.

    I hope that’s cleared that up.

  • guy herbert

    Hereward,

    Re police taking videos/photos, has anybody ever attempted to take pictures of the police who are taking pictures

    People do, but depending on the context it can be a quick and easy way of getting arrested. Photographing or drawing anything belonging to the security state is becoming risky.

  • nic

    Exactly. The guy is a bona fide Nazi (well social Darwinist from which Nazi ideology follows directly) sounding off about topics he has no understanding of. If he wants to display those views, that is absolutely fine, as long as he does it on the outside of an academic institution.

  • BOB

    Sir , i attended the “rally”and it turned into a bit of a queer fest, though if the purpose of the rally had been stuck to i could have endured it, what really got up my nose was the lib-dum mp who called for freedom of speech and then filled the rest of his time with qualifing the statement,if we are concerned with free speech it must be exactly that, otherwise we have nothing but a liberal salve for those who are on thier way down the road of good intentions, whos destination can only be hell for every-one, all the speakers were of the same mould, we are talking freedom of speech, can any-one tell me why this freedom is not extended to nationalists , we endure epithets such as vile, racist, nazi , fascist etc , we are attacked by communists physically, all because we want to protect our country and our childrens future, as every other person in europe wants to , and yet we are not accorded the good manners , that every-one else expects, if freedom of speech is only partial then you have already missed your ideal and will succumb to the very idiology that you accuse the nationalists of incorrectly, to remove this government it will take all of us ,it is a saddness for England that you refuse our help.

  • BOB

    Sir , i attended the “rally”and it turned into a bit of a queer fest, though if the purpose of the rally had been stuck to i could have endured it, what really got up my nose was the lib-dum mp who called for freedom of speech and then filled the rest of his time with qualifing the statement,if we are concerned with free speech it must be exactly that, otherwise we have nothing but a liberal salve for those who are on thier way down the road of good intentions, whos destination can only be hell for every-one, all the speakers were of the same mould, we are talking freedom of speech, can any-one tell me why this freedom is not extended to nationalists , we endure epithets such as vile, racist, nazi , fascist etc , we are attacked by communists physically, all because we want to protect our country and our childrens future, as every other person in europe wants to , and yet we are not accorded the good manners , that every-one else expects, if freedom of speech is only partial then you have already missed your ideal and will succumb to the very idiology that you accuse the nationalists of incorrectly, to remove this government it will take all of us ,it is a saddness for England that you refuse our help.

  • Well Bob, if you mean making common cause with a bunch of racists, that would be rather like suicide for fear of death. It is bad enough to find communists at the rally.

  • Rather not say

    I’m the guy in the T-shirt. No I don’t have body guards. I hadn’t really expected the picture to 1) include my face, 2) be quite so widely available on the web.

    Anyway, not much I can do about it now.

  • Sabine

    Hi, sorry for asking something stupid, but my english is very pure. What does that mean:

    “On two occasions, The Plod tried to prevent certain signs being shown (one featured the Mohammed Cartoons on a placard from the Iranian Communist Party and another showed a mask of Tony Blair over a Nazi symbol). These incidents at a ‘pro-freedom of expression’ rally, and the presence of the police taking pictures of the crowd, were a useful reminder of the deadening hand of the state and just how precarious the state of civil liberties in Britain are.”

    What is the “Plod”? I mean, did the police try to remove the cartoons from the rally? I mean, that would be hypocratical! Because muslims had sign with “Beheaded everyone who insults islam” and so on…

    Or did the organizators try to remove the signs?

    PLEASE PLEASE translate this sentence in a very simple english (or in german ;-))

    Thanks, Sabine

  • S70

    -Free speech is great. How can I talk to the lady in the last photograph?
    -After 39 years of defending the Constitution aganist all enemies foreign and domestic I’m entitled to be choosy about rally partners…

  • The Plod = The Police. British slang, similar to saying ‘The Cops’.

  • guy herbert

    …social Darwinist from which Nazi ideology follows directly.

    No it doesn’t. In its emphasis on the group, and a ‘racial’ telelogy that uses arbitrary moral criteria and invented stories for privileging the interests one socially-defined group above another, Nazism could scarcely be further from social Darwinism, which assumes that natural selection will ‘improve’ society by promoting the fittest individuals and institutions provided that moralistic interventions are removed.

  • Albion,

    If most Britons are “functional atheists,” most of the world is not – those protests are going far beyond British shores. IT IS AN IDIOTIC PUBLIC RELATIONS MOVE TO DISPLAY SIGNS BASED ON ATHEIST ASSUMPTIONS WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO REACH MORE THAN JUST ATHEISTS. As I explained earlier, religious people have a stake in keeping public- or private-sector force from quelling blasphemy – even if the government agrees with you what is and isn’t blasphemy now, there’s no guarantee that such agreement will last forever.

    Do not ever get a job in marketing.

  • Matt O'Halloran

    Johnathan: ‘Loathsome’ is spelt without an ‘e’.

    I know it’s a word you bloggers are frightfully fond of, so do try to get it right.

  • Johnathan

    Matt, whatever. But I notice you don’t respond to my main point, that this blog has defended the right of people to say unpleasant things in the past and will continue to do so, so long as those making these points don’t subsist on payouts from the taxpayer. I don’t see why I should pay for the upkeep of racists or communists, for example.

  • Phil Hellene

    Can anyone confirm the provenance of this rule against national flags in Trafalgar Square and – ideally – demonstrate with photographic evidence that it really has been selectively applied in the past (i.e. moonbats allowed to display ‘Palestinian’ flags etc.)?

    If this rule has indeed been selectively applied I know just who to contact to generate some robust Greek outrage against my being prohibited from displaying the flag of the Hellenic Republic at the rally to commemorate Greek Independence Day (and what that occasion symbolises for Europe as a whole)….

    I wish I had hung around anyway and worn it as a cloak – this being my first protest ever, I wasn’t thinking quickly enough. My inbred middle English respect for authority also prevented me from doing the obvious and displaying the Union Jack on my comedy underpants to the officious bugger telling me not to display national flags in the square. 🙁

  • Verity’s dig “Alison, your rant was very telling”.Good! So was your cocktail supping love. Enjoy.

  • I see that Matt O’Halloran is staring into the abyss of trolldom – again.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Alison, sounds like you could use a stiff drink too. It is usually unwise to get on the wrong side of Verity. I speak from experience.

  • Matt O'Halloran

    Matt, whatever. But I notice you don’t respond to my main point, that this blog has defended the right of people to say unpleasant things in the past and will continue to do so, so long as those making these points don’t subsist on payouts from the taxpayer. I don’t see why I should pay for the upkeep of racists or communists, for example.

    Or libertarian fanatics who want to legalise hard drugs, come to that.

    Why not go the whole hog, Johnathan, and impose a Loyalty to PC Oath on all university employees, like the one they had to swear in the States that they weren’t commies?

    I mean, we can’t have an academic repeating mainstream consensual findings about racial variations in IQ, now can we? Some of his poor little black students might be sooooooooooo hurt.

    Sure you can have freedom of speech, we’ll just make it a sacking offence to practise it. Sorted!

    And let’s pretend it’s ‘taxpayers’ money’ we’re worried about, when there is no other way to teach at a university in this benighted land. Why not campaign for Dr Ellis’s civil rights AND plurality of finance in higher education?

  • Belmont Club is showing some pictures from a previous, Palestinian, demo with Trafalgar Square full of flags.

    Link

  • Johnathan

    No Matt, I don’t expect university lecturers to take a loyalty oath. I expect people who are racists, for instance, not to moan like a pathetic child if their employers – taxpayers – take a dim view of the situation. That is why, by the way, I am in favour of privatising universities so that taxpayers are not forced to support people whose views they find objectionable.

    Clear enough for you?

  • Hereward,
    I haven’t lived in the UK for twenty years but
    Your question,

    has anybody ever attempted to takepictures of the police who are taking pictures

    rather reminded me of the saying :

    Help the police – beat yourself up.

  • Phil Hellene

    So it would seem that either the bye-law was recently enacted, or it is selectively applied.

    I’m going to do some digging – any further help, LMK on this thread.

  • Matt O'Halloran

    Yes, it’s clear enough, Jonathan. You’d like to live in an ideal world, yadda, yadda, yadda, but until then you’ll just cherrypick which principles you’ll put your inconsiderable weight behind– like all the other ‘libertarians’ who can’t face the implications of their own professed beliefs, let alone listen to others which contradict them. And you’ll just cut adrift any hard cases and wrong sorts of victim of intellectual persecution, because to support them might give the wrong impression to people who are always going to be splitting their sides laughing at you cultists anyway.

    Is it nice and warm in that metacontext?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Matt, why should I have to put up with bigots teaching at publicly-funded institutions that I have to pay for and who use their professional positions to propogate their tosh? Why, for example, should an Oxford academic like Tom Paulin be able to call for the killing of Israeli settlers, as he has, and retain his job? Why should you, for that matter, have to pay the salaries of people you despise?

    I work in the private sector and would be sacked for stating certain opinions in my professional capacity. I would have no complaint at being fired if it breaches my contract. As a private individual, of course, it is a different matter.

    There are limited opportunities, maybe, for people of certain views to express their opinions, but that is not the same as censorship, as you seem to be claiming.

  • Bob

    I still think Rowan Atkinson summed it up brilliantly in his speech “Every Joke has a Victim”.

    He does not enhance the scenery nearly as well as the young lady from Texas.

    Bob
    Plano, TX
    USA

  • Mackan

    This was fantastic! (…espacially viewed from “silent Sweden”).

  • Matt O'Halloran

    “Matt, why should I have to put up with bigots teaching at publicly-funded institutions?”

    Because they may not be bigots. Who put *you* in charge of ruling what’s bigoted and ‘tosh’?

    You keep invoking a consensus that doesn’t exist. If anything, the consensus among those who know best in the matter of racial variations in intelligence is on Dr Ellis’s side.

    I don’t mind ‘paying the salaries of people I despise’ because I don’t despise people. I’m interested in debate and argument– not in striking moral postures on a hillock of ignorance and trying to deafen the young, stupid and sensitive to viewpoints I don’t like.

    You keep moaning about the tax-financed BBC not giving your rather recherche creed a fair go. How much time does the tax-financed university system give to views such as mine and Ellis’s, which are shared by millions of Britons?

  • I note that quite a few people in variouis places have expressed interest in Sean Gabb’s speech. I’ve posted a sound file of it here
    There are some other sound clips from the day also.

  • Rally Against Islamofascism:
    Remembering Bloody Tuesday

    Six years have passed since the worst terrorist attack on America. It seems that most Americans do not remember what happened on September 11, 2001. We are back to business as usual. While our military is fighting the War on Terror, American consumers are financing terrorism by buying Middle Eastern oil. While a Crucifix submerged in urine is considered to be a free artistic expression and received a government grant, flushing a Koran down the toilet is prosecuted as a hate crime. While moderate Muslim groups like American Islamic Forum for Democracy and Muslims Against Sharia are virtually unheard of, terrorist fronts like CAIR and MPAC receive multi-million dollar payments from Saudi Arabia and enjoy full recognition by our government officials.

    When: September 11, 2007, 4pm-6pm
    Where: 12901 Q Street, Omaha, NE 68137
    Inquires: Omaha @ TerrorFreeOil.org

  • احرقكم الله ÙÙŠ نار جهنم اجمعيآ

    (editors note: which Google translates as: “Ahrkkm God in the fire of hell Ajmaia”… which seems a tad garbled. Computer translation still have a way to go. I’m guessing it is something to the effect of ‘America burn in hell’ or some such crap that would only confirm everything we already thought about the Religion of Peace’. Heh.).

  • s

    we respect Mohammed and Jesus but you don’t !!
    Animals don’t respect or hate !!!
    So what kind of you ?

    free free freeeeeeeeeeeeeee lol
    if I rabe some one , is it free too ?!!!!

    everything have lows and rules So What’s Free mean ?

    F R E E S P E E C H !!

  • we respect Mohammed and Jesus but you don’t !!

    Correct. I have no respect for any religion as they are all superstitious irrational gibberish.

    free free freeeeeeeeeeeeeee lol

    Primitive moron.

    if I rabe some one , is it free too ?!!!!

    Assuming you mean ‘rape’, no it is not ‘free’ you half-wit, it is an act of violence.