A triumph of diversity
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On the 14th of July in Bristol city centre three things happened. A Bristol pride march was held, an English defence league (EDL) rally took place and an anti EDL march was carried out by We Are Bristol; and organisation opposing the EDL. Needless to say there was a wide variety of people walking the streets. It was one of the most interesting days in Bristol’s recent history, with the city again sporting its rebellious streak which led to the biggest occupy movement in the country outside London, the riots which took place in Stokes Croft following what appeared to be an unlawful eviction of squatters, and a response to the London riots in which several national stores were targeted. The Bristol pride march was a resounding success, with thousands turning out in spite of the weather. Angela Eagle, Labour MP for Wallasey, also made the journey to represent the Northwest in the event. Celebrations continued on college green and lasted well in to the night. The EDL march was a less joyous event, but the resistance to it was inspiring. Although EDL supporters had allegedly travelled by train to Bristol to join the rally, "there was a much bigger show of people for the We Are Bristol March," according to Nima Zeinali, a student of Physics at Swansea University who is living in his hometown of Bristol for the summer. Nima told me that the EDL had "started chanting songs which sounded like football songs but with racist words." However We Are Bristol countered this with their "diversity and unity" and showed the "people representing the EDL what Bristol was really about." On an eventful day in Bristol there were 14 arrests and a few incidents of violence, but the day’s events were far more peaceful than expected. We Are Bristol made their point without being goaded into violence, which many had predicted, and the Bristol Pride march remained unaffected by the EDL march; something which many people didn’t think could happen. Ultimately the people of Bristol showed in force to counter the fascism of the EDL and to prove that Bristol is an example of the progressive thinking required in every city and every town, if we are to achieve the harmony which we as a country should be striving for.
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