Whilst undertaking their usual Saturday morning paper sale in Lewisham several SWP members were viciously assaulted by a group of fascists. At least two people required hospital treatment. This is the latest in a growing list of attacks against anyone that the fascists deem to be 'left wing'.
Any further information relating to this story will be gratefully received and added to the blog post.
Reports on Twitter and elsewhere that one person (and possibly two people) needed hospital treatment today after extreme right wing thugs attacked a socialist stall in Lewisham town centre.
I didn't see the actual attack, but it did not surprize me. As reported here yesterday, Unite Against Fascism had announced that an anti-BNP cavalcade would be starting out from Lewisham Clock Tower at 11 am. I was down there at 11 and there was no sign of the lorry, but there was a very obvious group of about 10 -15 fascists standing by Lewisham Food Market and closely watching what was going on at the Clock Tower. They had scouts posted on corners nearby presumably looking out for signs of the cavalcade.
I got a good look at one of them as she came away from the group and stood at the bottom of Lee High Road - a pasty faced woman with dyed black hair and an eyebrow piercing, wearing a black Paul's Boutique coat with a yellow cancer charity daffodil. I think the rest were all blokes, mostly in their 20s or younger wearing various rain gear [can I just be clear that I don't have a problem with eyebrow piercing or Paul's Boutique - the description is included because it might help the victims identify their attackers, not to make any snobby point about EDL dress codes]
I tweeted 'In Lewisham waiting for arrival of anti-BNP bus, ten or so moody looking possible BNP by clock tower'. After about half an hour it looked like the cavalcade wasn't coming. I heard that the lorry had technical faults and so wouldn't be coming to Lewisham, so I headed off.
As I was leaving I saw a couple of local Socialist Workers Party members on their way to set up their regular Saturday stall and warned them about the dodgy crew nearby. Fair play to them, they refused to be intimidated and went ahead as normal. Shortly afterwards they were attacked.
On Twitter the attack is being blamed on the 'English Defence League', but it's difficult to say whether they were BNP or EDL or both. The EDL did post a crowing message on twitter (laughably comparing their opponents to 'fascists').
No doubt they will be boasting of their audacity in operating in a multi-racial area like Lewisham. Hardly an act of great bravery though for the cream of the master race to attack two people selling papers, one of them a pensioner.
Presumably Lewisham police were sheltering from the rain in their huge station opposite the scene of the attack. The perpetrators were present for at least 45 minutes before the attack, can't believe that a group of young black men looking menacing in the same place would have escaped their notice.
Update (Sunday 29 April): two further witnesses have left acccounts in the comments -
- 'I was there and helped one of the attacked men up. He must of been in his late 60's and was punched to the ground.The other guy was headbutted and looked like he had a broken cheekbone. I offered to take them to the hospital but they opted for an ambulance. No police anywhere even though it was opposite one of the biggest police stations in Europe. They wasn't just young, there was older guys in there 40's with them too'.
- 'I was there too. A group had gathered quite a while before and even though I had no idea of the planned meeting it was obvious they were up to something. Maybe 7 or 8 younger men plus an older man and the woman with Paul's Boutique coat. After attack they left laughing. They hardly ran. Very surprised police did not come at all during this time'.
The older man who was attacked was apparently 74 years old (just to be clear the second person attacked isn't a pensioner).