At least a couple of dozen houses, cars and local small businesses in Dudley town centre were yesterday attacked by demonstrators from the anti-Islamic English Defence League (EDL). Around two hundred EDL broke their way out of police cordons to carry out a frenzied attack on whatever was at hand. Asian businesses were no doubt a focus – a Balti restaurant was clearly singled out, as was a taxi. But the white working class population of Dudley also came under attack, including a white woman with a baby, who narrowly missed a brick that had smashed through her window.
Residents called urgently for police assistance and help in protecting their homes from further attack, but none came. Police just a few streets away, sauntering back from some sort of confrontation with the EDL, showed no interest in helping frightened residents. NPOIU cop Paul Mather, who was with them, was more concerned with crowing that Fitwatch had ‘missed the action’.
More ‘action’ was to come. Six EDL were knocked down by a car, sustaining leg and head injuries. The driver had not stopped (he was probably terrified) and rumours abounded that it had been a deliberate attack by Muslims and that one of the EDL had died. As the six lay on the road being treated by paramedics other EDL pulled metal poles from a passing truck and vowed to ‘go get the Muslims’. They then fought running battles with police in an attempt to get there.
Clearly the police had not expected the EDL to be able to break out of the system of containment they had devised for them at Stafford Street car park. There was a mixture of six foot fencing, rows of riot police and dogs, and finally solid metal cordons that barred every exit road. But the crowd, which totalled around a thousand, tore down fencing and threw a hail of missiles at the riot police. The metal cordons defeated the EDL for a while though, until they found an unguarded way out through a block of flats, and a few hundred got clear to begin the rampage.
Meanwhile Muslim areas were in a form of lockdown. Riot police were tasked with keeping Muslim youth in Muslim areas and came down heavily on groups that ventured out. One lot of Asian youths were chased by riot police and hit with batons almost as soon as they set foot in town. Back in their own estates around a dozen of them were chased through the streets by no less than three van loads of Met police in riot gear.
A day later, tension is reported to still be high in Kates Hill, Dudley, with heavy policing and continuing rumours of EDL presence. The real danger is that, unless more non-Muslims get out to seriously oppose the EDL, this could develop into a real race conflict.