Today was the 11th September, 9/11 – not a good day for more than one reason as most people could attest. It was an unusual day at work, mainly because hardly anyone was there! Most of our production staff had gone to a big defence show in the Docklands, London aside from me and a few others. In general I was hoping for a Friday in which I could do a lot of work for once. Every Friday normally goes tits up for me. Well today NOTHING could go wrong because there were hardly any production staff in the first place…
Well the peace didn’t last long when two mates texted me saying that all hell had broken loose in Harrow, as there was a 9/11 protest outside Harrow Mosque, which I believe is in the final stages of construction.
Upon checking various websites I realised that this protest wouldn’t be a dozen or so people waving placards around screaming at the top of their voice, it was rather serious.
The English Defence League (EDL) have already been protesting in Luton and Birmingham recently, mainly because they are opposed to Islamic Extremism. They believe the religion to be extreme in it’s own right. Today they were due to arrive at this mosque in large numbers.
On the other hand, the UAF (Unite Against Fascism) were there in even greater numbers to rally support. Now it’s fair to say that the EDL wouldn’t have stood a chance in Harrow. I’ve lived here all my life, and the town at present couldn’t be more bloody ethnically diverse if it tried. We have all pretty much got along for many years now, although tensions are high just outside Harrow, in my home town of Wealdstone – the very place I was trying to reach today so I could go home and just eat after a hard day at work with no money for food! In short, the UAF didn’t need to go looking for support – it came to them.
I sat in the 140 bus counting the number of hot chicks I saw as it passed through a busier than normal Harrow Town centre and then right outside Debenhams got stuck in a typical traffic jam. The mosque was 6mins away down the road, so I ended up getting off the bus and walking down – I had to get through the protest just to reach my town.
It was madness and it was clear that there were young kids from outer boroughs pretty much looking for trouble. I had already made my mind up that if anyone would cause trouble it would be most of the hyper-charged young Muslim kids who were here for reasons not related to the protest.
My iPhone along with Twitter kept me abreast of the news here as people were tweeting all over the shop. ControlB was a star and kept regular updates on twitter. I popped into Skippers for a bite as I was starved. The place was getting colossal amounts of business today and the chap behind the counter was all over the place. Nomnomochipsnomonom! Christmas had come early for this shop.
I realised that I still had to get home and by now the UAF led protesters had gathered in size. Most watching from afar, whilst the central group occupied the main road despite community leaders asking them to allow vehicles through. Chants of "Whose Streets? Our Streets!" rang out.
It was now 5pm, the time at which the EDL were due to arrive. I believe I spotted Tony McNulty, Harrow East MP although I could have been wrong. There were well over 2000+ people here, it was a mixed race affair for the most part.
A group of ‘outsiders’ did arrive, weather they were the EDL members is unknown but they were kept away by the riot police and prevented from moving forward. At one point a large crowd of muslim youngsters charged up the Bridge road but I never saw it. No idea what that was about. There were clashes with the police though and bottles and bricks were sadly thrown. I wasn’t too pleased – so much for the ‘peaceful’ protest.
These clashes can be viewed in two ways, were the kids goaded by the ‘outsiders’. Pictures taken at JessHurd.com seem to suggest so, then again why were people ‘armed’ with bottles of bleach amongst other thngs?
I had been joking around with the police just moments before as I spotted a young asian copper who was about 4ft tall, she looked like Yoda looking ultra cute in her helmet setup.
One thing was clear, the EDL really didn’t stand a chance of coming to Harrow and getting their point across. However having said that I do get a distinct feeling that on the day, the EDL may have got the last ‘laugh’. Our town came to a standstill and the riled up kids clashed with the riot police – all this without the EDL having even been there.
I finally reached Wealdstone and did some shopping for food before walking home with my face firmly planted on the iPhone as I read the latest goings on via Twitter. A lot of thicko’s over Twitter kept referring to ‘RIOTS IN HARROW’. Last time I checked, the term RIOT didn’t refer to a couple of people chasing another bunch of people about. All in all, this wasn’t the Friday I was expecting – yet again.