Around 300 people rallied at short notice outside City Hall in London on Tuesday evening to protest against the fascist British National Party (BNP) grabbing a seat on the London assembly in last week’s elections.
The demonstration was called by Love Music Hate Racism, organisers of the recent 100,000-strong anti-Nazi carnival, and supported by Unite Against Fascism (UAF). It was backed by several unions including UCU and branches of Unison, PCS and NUT.
Many speakers stressed that the BNP electoral gains should not fool people into thinking that the organisation was in any sense democratic.
They pledged that this would be the first of many protests and called for a mass campaign to expose the BNP as fascists and drive them out of the political mainstream.
“We do not consider the BNP to be a legitimate party,” said Weyman Bennett of UAF. “We consider them to be Nazis, dedicated to the political tradition of Hitler and Mussolini.”
Jean Geldart from Tower Hamlets Unison spoke to the rally about how council workers, trade unions and community groups united in the early 1990s to lead a successful mass campaign to drive out the BNP’s first elected councillor Derek Beackon.
She added that many of the staff in City Hall would be horrified by the thought of working with Richard Barnbrook, the Nazi assembly member, and offered staff her “solidarity and condolences”.
Other speakers included Raj Gill from the GMB union, disability rights activist Lucy Mason, and Lindsey German, national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition. The rally ended with protesters marching around City Hall.