An honest take on London’s Day for Freedom march

The Union Flag is held proudly aloft at the Day of Freedom adjacent to Prime Minister Theresa May's Downing Street home. Copyright: Shy Society

They say first impressions count and as thousands of men, women and some children marched in unison down Whitehall towards Downing Street it was immediately apparent that Tommy Robinson’s call-to-arms to protect freedom of speech had resonated with many.

At its peak, approximately 5-6,000 people had heeded his message and as the crowds streamed past in the scorching mid-afternoon sun, it felt very fitting that a sound-system blasted out 2008 UK chart single ‘Great DJ’ by The Ting Tings which includes the lyrics “gave hope and a brand new day”.

It was an upbeat, hopeful soundtrack for what felt like a hopeful day amid the backdrop of some very dark recent precedents following the banning of Canadian journalist Lauren Southern from UK soil for handing out provocative LGBT leaflets in Luton and the conviction of Count Dankula for a parody video, as well of course as the silencing of high-profile figures including Robinson across social media.

Robinson will undoubtedly be happy with how the event panned out and at times it felt more like a concert with singers and video content adding to the standard speech format. The technical production was impressive and the police, to their credit, kept the 2-300 communists well away from the main event and it was probably this lack of confrontation which persuaded the hard-left demonstrators to fade off into the distance well before Robinson had delivered his final speech when he announced to cheering crowds that he would be taking Twitter to court.

Tommy Robinson addresses the crowd on Whitehall in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament. Copyright: Shy Society

The array of flags at the event reflected the increasing diversity in the crowd at these type of events – indeed there were the national flags of England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the United States as well as banners promoting UKIP, For Britain, the LGBT community, Generation Identity, the DFLA, Catalonian independence and even a European Union flag much to Raheem Kassam’s amusement. And talking of diversity, a line-up which included a lesbian, ex-Muslim, war veteran, drag queen and gay man is hardly your stereotypical line-up of Nazis, no matter how loud the Momentum lot screech ‘Nazi scum off our streets!”.

As you’d expect with such an array of speakers, some were better than others but collectively they were powerful and defiant in their tone even if overall it probably lasted too long with many people leaving before the end to escape the heat.

The mainstream media was as predictable as ever in their coverage – either choosing to completely ignore the event in the heart of Britain’s capital or, as in the case of the Guardian, Evening Standard, Metro, GQ Magazine and Buzzfeed, deciding to irrevocably distort the day’s proceedings. Headlines such as “scuffles break out” and copy littered with references to the far-right show the establishment media to be scared to death of their narrative imploding.

However, if freedom means anything to us as a movement and if we’re to rise above the shameful propaganda of the mainstream, telling the truth is necessary even when it would be easier to stay silent. And in that regard, we firmly believe it was a big mistake to deny YouTubers Ali Dawah and Mohammed Hijab entrance to Sunday’s backstage area and only Robinson will know why that decision was reversed.

Only 24 hours before Lucy Brown had announced on social media that Dawah was on the speakers’ line-up in a move which Shy Society praised as a masterstroke because freedom of speech stands for absolutely everyone – even people we vehemently disagree with. It is only by challenging, debating and offending that we can seek the truth and form our own judgements.

Thousands make their way up towards Downing Street on Sunday. Copyright: Shy Society

We have watched the full video footage as well as speaking to eyewitnesses there and it is undeniable that Dawah and Hijab turned up peacefully assuming rightly that they were part of the day. As Lucy seemingly struggled to fulfil her earlier promise, despite Dawah’s name printed on the official line-up sheets hung up in the backstage area, and as the pair were left stood outside with the main crowd, it is again undeniable that unsavoury elements moved in and surrounded the pair before intimidating, pushing and eventually attacking them, chanting brainless things such as “Paedo, paedo, paedo!” as the police were left with no other option than to forcibly remove them for their own safety. Those trying to claim anything else do our movement a huge disservice and would do well to watch the footage from minutes before it turned ugly which clearly shows the pair in relaxed mood, joking with official stewards and Kassam.

It is these thuggish elements – and it is a small element – which let down all the other peaceful thousands in attendance. Do they not realise that their actions threaten to completely undermine the whole event which was promoted on the back of protecting freedom of speech? Whether you like them or not, they were invited and had every right to be there. These braindead morons – and we’re sorry, but that’s literally what they are – just give mainstream media photographers the one ‘money shot’ they need to paint the whole event in a certain way.

That said, it should not detract from what was overall a very successful demonstration. We spoke to numerous ‘first timers’ and their message was unanimous: “We enjoyed it more than we thought we would, it’s not how the mainstream media present it, and we’ll probably come again.” The key now is to attract even more first-timers onto the streets while disassociating ourselves with the people who think thuggery, violence and intimidation is a tactic that will win our beliefs broader support.

Shy Society.
Standing up for those without a voice in Britain

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    • We don’t like labelling people like the mainstream do so freely but they were certainly exclusively men and the majority were probably in the 30-40 age bracket. People who should know far better, in other words.

  1. Roger Gough. The unsavoury thugs were the “Essex Division” of the DFLA (their massive banner dominates the screen in al the footage I’ve seen). Two in particular were very aggressive and threatening.
    For near enough an hour Both Dawah and Hijab had been having friendly and interesting conversations with numerous people. As soon as the Essex thugs turned up this emboldened a few drunks hanging around to join in being aggressive, and Hijab retaliated in kind with his own aggression and threats, and it quickly degenerated.
    This report is the most honest account I’ve seen of the whole Ali Dawah thing. I’m not tribal so even if I dislike Dawah I’m not going to lie and blame him for everything that happened when it’s patently not true. By suddenly refusing him entry, even though he was listed, Lucy and co gave Dawah all the spin he wanted for his agenda. If they’d had the courage to let him read his speech, however silly it may have been, he would have no ammo to throw and he and Hijab wouldn’t have been attacked by morons. Massive own goal from Tommy’s team.
    Shy Society, you say they should have known better, these were elements of the ‘football lad’ firms. In other words, violent hooligans. What else would you expect from them? The main reason I am very, very wary of getting too involved is because of this alliance with a thug culture. I want no part of them.

    • Thanks for your important post Andy.

      In relation to your last comment, I have no doubt that what you describe also puts other people off and it’s a massive shame because these people harm rather than aid the cause. However we think it’s important to also highlight that being part of the football ‘lad’ culture doesn’t necessarily equate to somebody being a violent hooligan unable of controlling themselves. The two initial FLA London demos, where far more people turned out than Sunday, proved that to be true with not a single arrest at either event. Fully agree with you on a broad level though.

  2. I am not surprised. These people dont believe freedom of speech, they just want to say bad things about Islam under the banner of freedom of speech. If you dare to use your freedom to speak against them they will attack you. As We saw what happened to Ali & Mohammed Hijab

    • “These people” – as we made clear in the article – represented a very small minority of those in attendance on Sunday. You need to remember that. Saying “bad things about Islam” is perfectly acceptable in a free society as long as it isn’t a clear incitement to violence. Just as you are free to say bad things about aspects of life that you don’t like.

  3. Apparently Dawah knew that Tommy was not going to allow him to speak well before turning up. I’m divided on whether it was a good idea. On the one hand let him display what he’s about, on the other how would the crowd have reacted? I’m sure Tommy had his reasons for overruling Lucy.

  4. These acts , these hate speech will only devise throw society wether we like it or not , thug Muslims and terrorists apologists like anime.chaudhary will ask for revenge as they will see it as an attack on Islam and Muslims , also be its will think that Muslims will take over the uk , it is a messed up situation and will only make.things worst in the future .

    As a witness tourist from Algeria , I saw it as an attack on freedom of speech and the number of these guys were huge not.just a bunch of them

    Actions should be.taken or the harmony that the uk society had before five years will be lost

  5. I agree with Lucy Brown that Ali Dawah should’ve been allowed to speak, supposed security issues notwithstanding.

    As for the rowdies who apparently started a little brawl, Tommy Robinson needs to take a firm stance against them.

    I know that the article above didn’t say much about the various speakers, but I think Lauren Southern’s was the best. (The rowdies should watch her speech and take to heart what Lauren said about being responsible when the pendulum swings back our way.)

    — Les Govment (American-born, American resident)

  6. Shame the organisers are thieves…
    If you want reputable standing, don’t steal from people trying to help you!


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