Anti-Nazi activists in Stoke-on-Trent are stepping up their campaign against attempts by the fascist British National Party (BNP) to target the city and whip up race hatred.
Unite Against Fascism (UAF), Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) and the North Staffordshire Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (Norscarf) have teamed up to launch a day of action against the BNP on Saturday 26 July.
The day will start with a rally and discussion on how to stop the BNP in Stoke. Activists then plan to go door-to-door campaigning in wards where the BNP has won council seats.
LMHR activists took part in a major event at Stoke City football club’s Britannia Stadium last Saturday to mark the unveiling of a statue to Gordon Banks, the former England goalkeeper.
LMHR had been invited to take part by the organiser, playwright and campaigner Don Mullan, and by the city council. A huge LMHR banner was up on the stage where guests of honour Brazilian football legend Pele and veteran South African campaigner Desmond Tutu made speeches.
LMHR campaigners, running the only stall inside the ground, got a great response from the crowd and handed out thousands of leaflets advertising the anti-BNP day of action.
The Nazis have nine councillors in Stoke and want to get the post of the city’s mayor when it comes up for election next May.
BNP leader Nick Griffin recently announced plans to hold a “national rally” in Stoke on 9 August to launch an anti-Muslim race hate campaign. UAF is mobilising in opposition to this.
Plans for another Nazi rally – the BNP’s “Red, White and Blue” hate fest – ran into trouble when the fascists were refused an alcohol and music licence for their event, which is due to be held near the village of Codnor in Derbyshire on Saturday 16 August.
Anti-fascist activists will nevertheless be protesting against the BNP’s presence. The demo has been called by Derby, Mansfield and Nottingham Trades Councils, Derby UAF, Notts Stop the BNP and is supported by East Midlands TUC.