I've had a heavy day covering the English Defence League (EDL) demonstration in Westminster. I got down there at 12.30 by which time anti-fascist demonstrators had set up a small roadblock. This was quite quickly removed by the police using a variety of tactics - though, mercifully, they never resorted to using riot police.
Other than that, however, we saw the whole lot of police kit on display today: dogs, horses, and, the first time I've ever seen it, two London buses - no.s 148 and 24 - to process and take away arrested anti-fascist demonstrators! I wonder whether they were just hired from the bus company for the day, and what the drivers made of it - I did try asking one of them through his cab window, but he just shrugged sheepishly.
Once the roadblock was cleared, the EDL, who had been assembling outside (and inside!) Tate Britain for several hours, and had a fair amount of booze inside them, were allowed up the road to Westminster. They demonstrated on College Green, about 500 of them, looking, for the most part, like a gang of football hooligans.
They were there, ostensibly, to defend Dutch politician Geert Wilders' right to show his anti-Islam film 'Fitna' in Parliament. (Wilders was the guest of Baroness Cox and UKIP's Lord Pearson.)
For myself, I think Wilders is paranoid about Islam and whips up hatred against Muslims, but I don't really hold with calling for the state to ban him. For that matter, I don't really hold with calling for the state to ban EDL marches. I just think that more of us who dislike what they stand for should hit the streets when they are in town.
If everyone who nominally dislikes them and could get a day off work (it's not that difficult) had turned up in Westminster today, the EDL would have been massively outnumbered and might have thought twice about exercising their 'freedom of speech'.
I got some mobile phone pics of the police breaking up the blockade, but none of the EDL because my phone had packed up by then! However, the press pack really only turned up on the scene in numbers once the EDL did, so you will have plenty of pictures of their angry, snarling faces (the EDL, not the press pack) in your newspapers tomorrow.
My pictures are of the bit that was less well covered. I've included a couple here. Plus a link to a Grandmaster Flash song from 1983! It's a good antidote to today's events!