Free Palestine Birmingham (Plus a little bit of Anti-Lockdown protests)

It looks like there have been protests all over Europe in support of Palestine, from Dublin, to Amsterdam, to France. There have also been protests in the UK as well, including in London.

The actions in the UK happened to be on the same date as anti-lockdown protests. I was not aware of any organised anti-lockdown protests in Birmingham, because although the weekend of the 15th May was the regional protests as well as London, there was no Birmingham protest mentioned on the list I saw.

I went into town because I wanted to pick up some stuff, though I was on the lookout for any protest actions. At 2:30pm I started hearing a lot of noise and had a look outside, there was a reasonably large group of anti-lockdown protesters near the Waterstones bookshop.

Protesters were holding banners and signs saying ‘No More Lockdown’, signs defending children and one woman with a sign reading ‘There’s nothing more unattractive than a muzzled up obedient man’. There was also someone with one of those smiley face flags that I saw in the London protest imagery.

I assume the protest took place earlier in the day and dispersed after this because I did not see them about afterwards. I finished what I was doing in town and then decided to look around to see if there were any protest actions still going on, I started walking towards Victoria Square. I could see a large number of Palestinian flags so I moved in that direction.

As I walked towards the square, the crowd began to walk in my direction. The crowd was way larger than I expected.

Crowd of protesters leaving Victoria Square

The march route. I believe it was this. Marked on the Wikimedia commons (ancient) Birmingham City Centre map:

The crowd must have been made up of a few thousand people. This was surprising to me because when I have been to or seen Free Palestine events in the past they have been small.

It took about an hour for the crowd to get round that route and back to Victoria Square. Here are a few more photos.

Colmore Row.
Near Station entrance (old Pallisades)
Approaching Victoria Square.

The crowd reached Victoria Square and there was chanting but there wasn’t any speeches or anything like that. There is thus not much to comment on in that regard.

Here’s Victoria Square.

It was good to see such large protest events in support of Palestine around the country and the world. The size of such protests compared to in the past perhaps warrants further examination as to why but would require further research.

Kill The Bill Birmingham 1st May 2021

In a previous article about Kill the Bill, I expressed my reservations about this movement. The article, hosted on OffGuardian, agreed that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is an assault on human rights and the right to protest. My disagreements with the Kill the Bill movement focused upon its failure to challenge the Official Covid Narrative – and indeed, their reinforcement of that narrative via compliance with masks and speeches supporting that narrative.

For this reason, I believe that the anti-lockdown/vaccine passport movement is the most important movement to support – along with the Free Julian Assange movement – in order to truly protect our freedoms. (In my own activism I largely focus on Assange).

I decided to attend this event in order to cover it for this website.

I was pleased to see that someone had taped up a ‘Don’t Extradite Assange’ sign among the various other taped up signs (mainly ‘Stop the War’ Coalition signs).

Tweet from my Assange account

There were not many there until about 2:10. It was tipping it down between about 1:00 and 2:00, meaning that the only people in Victoria Square were huddled at the back:

Victoria Square about 1:30pm.

The speeches started about 2:15 and lasted until about 3:15. The rain stopped, fortunately.

The crowd size was not that large. I would guess a bit smaller than the two anti-lockdown events I have attended at Victoria Square. Guessing how large a crowd is is notoriously difficult and annoying. I would give a ballpark of 500.

Victoria Square about 2:40.

Most of the speeches were pretty short, a few minutes each.

I did see aspects of the same hypocrisies in terms of Covid-19 as I highlighted in my OffGuardian article, though these were less in-your-face than at the London event. Most though not all of the attendees were complying with wearing a mask. The last speaker was the main person to address Covid directly, saying that the Tories want to ‘make us pay for the Covid crisis’. The correct thing to do, of course, is to oppose the manufacturing of the ‘Covid crisis’, rather than support that narrative. After complaining that there is no opposition in Parliament, the speaker then went on to state he was going to quote Lenin. Say what you want about Lenin, but I don’t think he would have advocated ‘Pandemic’ capitalist narratives.

The first speaker mentioned the repression at the Sarah Everard vigil as the spark for these protests. The fact that the Left reacted to this but ignored the police harassment of Piers Corbyn or even harassment of Assange supporters highlights the hypocrisy on this point. There has been no shortage of police overreach to trigger action, but the ‘nutter’ Corbyn is not deemed worth defending by the left even when he is on the receiving end of unwarranted repression. The left barely defends Assange (the likes of the Socialist Workers’ Party shack up at everything but I didn’t see many people affiliated with these socialist groups outside the Old Bailey in September/October 2020 on the four days I was able to attend the protests).

A couple of side points. Another speaker, talking about Traveller communities, compared Priti Patel to Hitler. The quote was (paraphrasing) ‘Hitler did not succeed in destroying the Romany peoples, don’t let Priti Patel succeed’ or something similar, that was the implication. I can only imagine how quickly I would get cancelled if I used a Hitler analogy in relation to Covid Tyranny. Another person talked about free speech on campuses and honest discussions of colonialism. (I agree with protecting free speech and being able to speak the truth about the British Empire, but given that this is a woke milieu, I have to wonder their view on Maya Forstater).

I did not see any examples of repression from the police though I left at 3:15 and did not go on the march afterwards.

I would rather people protest this bill than not protest it. I do not want this bill to pass because of its restrictions on protests – it says that protests can be shut down for noise reasons, which in reality means any protests that the state does not like will be called ‘too noisy’ and shut down.

But I would even more rather the left get off its arse and realise that the Official Covid Narrative has to be opposed along with the Coronavirus Act 2020. We all need to unite to oppose tyranny, and that is going to involve left wing activists uniting with the anti-lockdown movement. If this does not happen, the left will become even more irrelevant in the face of more and more ordinary people getting utterly fed up of this ‘Covid’ nonsense. Despite media manipulation, this is evident in the hundreds of thousands of attendees at the large London events against lockdowns and vaccine passports. Once you add in people who sympathise with the protests you are looking at millions of people and that number will only likely get larger as the government pushes more and more authoritarian policies.

We are in a race against time to stop the vaccine passport. If the vaccine passport is introduced, even if in a limited capacity, freedom will most likely come to an end. As Neil Clark outlines:

But if vaccine passports are introduced, even for the most limited circumstances, we can be sure of two things. The scheme won’t be ‘limited’ but will be expanded over time into a full-scale digitalised Chinese-style social credit restricted access system, AND it won’t be ‘temporary’.

Without linking up in order to fight against all forms of capitalist state tyranny I can only feel that this movement will be a failure. It’s high time the majority of the left admitted they got it wrong on Covid 19, and work to actually correct their mistake by opposing lockdowns, mandatory masks, and vaccine passports. I am forced to stick with the original conclusion of my OffGuardian piece:

Focusing entirely on this one bill is a distraction that precludes a true recognition of the biosecurity state being foisted on us through lockdowns, mandatory masks, social distancing and vaccine passports.