Report: DQSH uninterrupted

13th February 2023

On the 11th of February 2023, a Drag Queen Story Hour was scheduled to be held at the Tate Britain. The event was immediately targeted by the fascist group Patriotic Alternative (PA), who only the night before had ignited a racist riot in Merseyside. What follows is a combined report from the London Anti-Fascist Assembly (LAFA) and the Transgender Action Bloc (TAB), who were thankfully there to confront the fascists and protect the event's attendees. Solidarity with our trans siblings. Fascism is not to be debated, it needs to be destroyed.

Last Saturday, Patriotic Alternative - alongside other right-wing, nazi-affiliated and fundamentalist Christian groups - turned up to drag queen story hour to threaten children and parents with extreme homophobia and transphobia. We turned up to oppose them, as antifascists always do to self-avowed fascists. 

Antifascists arrived early, and secured a place in front of TATE Britain before PA arrived. They did not expect us there. With numbers in the low dozens, we confronted them as soon as they arrived, spilling out into the road. The British Blackshirts did not last long in direct contact and were promptly sent off in the ensuing scuffle. 

Antifascists followed PA down the road while they fled. At one point, despite antifascists being well away from police and outnumbered 10 to 2 by PA, only one Nazi tried to defend their group and ended up on the ground being picked up by his mates as they fled to Parliament Square. They did not return until much later and in reduced numbers, after licking their wounds and hiding their megaphone. We occupied the steps as the police were called in. 

The SWP were present in front of the steps at this time. A confrontation broke out again when a particularly brazen fascist took up position in our middle and started a shouting match with an antifascist. He threatened “I will split you open.” (no really). But he did not split us open. He was floored and arrested very quickly. 

The police moved us off the steps with some force, and the SWP positioned themselves (and thereby the majority of protestors) towards the fascists perpendicular to the stairs, with a line of police between us. This left our sides exposed to streamers and lone fascists, which we spent the remainder of the demonstration confronting. Included in this familiar crank milieu was Piers Corbyn, Holocaust deniers, streamers (including one reporting directly to 4chan), several bizarre preachers and news reporters. 

Chants were exchanged throughout, with several gay chants inflicting morale casualties on the fascists. Several of the latecomer fascists had brought their children and tried to move off to the side entrance with them, which several of us moved to. Watching the way they treated their children was quite disheartening. Our move to this side forced the police to cover that entrance.

When the SWP left, a mixed crowd of LGBT protestors, antifascists (many of whom were queer), allies and trade unionists stood in solidarity for several hours until the fascists and police left. The story time went on uninterrupted.

We beat them back this time, even when the police did their utmost to help them by directing families between our two groups in the name of balance. We were there to drown out their hatred with sirens and chants and to defend ourselves and each other from their violence. We will be there to protect our communities and those of marginalised people wherever we must.

Fuck fascists. Fuck the Tories. Fuck their culture war. There has been an uptick in far-right activity recently with their focus on DQSH and other events in the name of "family values" and "protecting children". They are neo-nazis, pure and simple. We need more allies of marginalised communities to push back against the blackshirts on the streets. We don’t have a choice but to fight back, because no-one else will.

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