SODEM harassed

SODEM are a dedicated bunch of people opposed to Brexit who come every day in Parliament to hold peaceful protests to show their opposition to leaving the EU.

Steven Bray, who founded the ‘Stand of Defiance European Movement’ with a name to reflect his opinion of the people who had told lie after lie to voters to get them to vote for Brexit has been there every sitting day I’ve visited Westminster since September 2017. Sometimes on his own, more often with a handful of supporters, and recently with perhaps a dozen or two or even three as the date for Brexit approaches.

SODEM hold EU flags, tie them to lamp posts and railings, bring banners, dress in various items of clothing in EU blue with the ring of stars, hold placards, wear badges, occasionally shout ‘Stop Brexit’ or other similar slogans, and generally protest peacefully without causing any nuisance to others. Passing motorists hoot in agreement or drive by in silence, while tourists and others sometimes stop to commiserate. Very occasionally people have stopped to argue, and these conversations have been quiet and reasoned. The occasional pro-Leave protester has come along over the past 18 months too, and Steven or some of the others have sometimes engaged in quiet conversations.

There have been occasional times when people walking past have shouted at the SODEM protesters, sometimes rather abusively, but now something far more organised is taking place, with a group of pro-Brexiteers who come along not to protest about Brexit, but to harass pro-Europe protesters. Some of them wear yellow vests in imitation of the French ‘gilets jaunes’ though it seems like a hijacking of the symbol that has failed to realise what the events happening in France are about for some quite unsavoury issues.

Among these – and shown on the jackets – is the ‘Our Boys’ campaign backed by Tommy Robinson, which is campaigning to have a Hindu origin man who has been imprisoned for killing three teenage boys in Hayes by drunk driving tried again under terrorism laws or for murder, along with his passenger. The driver was found to have 2.5 times the legal alcohol limit and received a sentence of 13 years. They disrupted the hearing of his appeal against sentence which reduced it to 10.5 years as a mistake had been made in the earlier court.

Other slogans on their yellow jacket concern a number of tin-foil hat type theories and conspiracies, including the ridiculous “Freeman of the Land”-type beliefs in the illegitimacy of the legal syste, false claims of ritual abuse, discredited claims of sexual abuse and pedophile activity and more. One that perhaps has more reality concerns allegations about a Finchley Road address, now defunct, which does appear to have been used as the registered address for a very large number of companies involved in frauds, scams and tax evasion.

It was a morning which made me think that video might have been rather better at covering events such as this, showing both the movements of people and in particular the insults and bad language. Police did warn the protesters both about the possiblity of defamation and their use of language, and tried hard to get between the abusive yellow jacketed people and the generally polite and restrained SODEM protesters, though I felt they perhaps should have called for reinforcments and acted more assertively. Those in yellow accused the police of taking sides and were abusive towards them.

More about the later activities of the yellow group in another post.

Some more pictures at: Extreme Brexiteers clash with SODEM


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