The English Defence League march through Bradford went ahead as planned today, following the resignation of founder Tommy Robinson. However, a combination of bad weather, apathy and stringent policing meant that turnout was small and, according to onlookers, EDL factions ended up fighting among themselves, or with other far-right groups.
One anti-fascist banner seemed to sum up the prevailing mood in Bradford: "Empty Desolate Leaderless".
"Leaderless" might be a bit harsh, but new EDL leader Tim Ablitt may find Robinson's shoes too large to fill: he is said to be a charisma-free zone and his murky past is already threatening to overshadow his promotion. Ablitt was arrested in 2011 following an attack on a mosque, but no charges were brought.
The EDL may be a spent force but, speaking earlier, local MP George Galloway again called for the march to be banned: "The EDL are a scourge who seek to sow division and hatred wherever they go. Time and again, people from ethnic minorities, their places of worship, passers-by and even the police have been subject to terrible abuse and even violence from the thugs who come on all their events."
However, there seemed little danger from today's soggy turn-out, which was estimated at just 200. A rival anti-fascist counter-demo by "We are Bradford" attracted even fewer people. Most Bradford people, it seems, were too busy hurrying through the rain to stop and listen.
Long after the protesters had gone, the battle of words continued in the relative safety of the internet, where EDL supporters and anti-fascists hurled abuse at one another.
One EDL supporter moaned: "Fighting a losing battle here..... no amount of demos will get this country back to what it was. Far too many foreigners here to stay now, too many extremists...... the white british man will soon be the minority ! Its shite."
An anti-racist countered: "The Muslims and Asians are still in Bradford. Which will always be the case. And foreigners? Most of them are EU citizens , so they have EVERY right to be in England."