On 29 May "North East Against Racism" (NEAR) organised a protest of 150 activists at 10am on the Saturday morning against the English Defence League rally taking place in Newcastle the same day.
NEAR was joined by the TUC music event at 11am at the same meeting point, the Monument in Newcastle City Centre. At the high point we had maybe 600 at the Monument.
We then took about 100 people on an impromptu march to three different pubs where the EDL were drinking. This was good, but not everyone was up for it or clear about it, and we had to keep running to avoid being "kettled" by the police. Maybe we should have allowed ourselves to be "kettled" at the EDL's planned meeting point.
UAF organised a march of about 350 to oppose EDL which managed to get to the street opposite the square EDL were in.
EDL managed perhaps 700 or 800. The anti-fascists did have slightly greater numbers on the day. The EDL were confined to the Bigg Market, and did not have a free run through town. Lots of passers-by were asking what was going on and were informed by leaflet. We had lots of people signing petitions against racism.
Police were everywhere, but they did light policing as promised. They let UAF march as agreed and didn't kettle them. They let NEAR march even though that was unplanned, and arrested no one.