The wave of opposition to the racist English Defence League’s march in Bolton this Saturday is growing as hundreds activists make their final push to build the Unite Against Fascism counter demonstration.
Many Bolton taxi drivers have decided not to work on Saturday.
Bolton Private Hire Association said that 20 firms will close from 6pm Friday to 6am Sunday, despite Saturday being a big wage night.
Sajid Khan from the BPHA, said, “We are disappointed that we have to take these measures. But this a safety issue for our drivers and passengers.”
Drivers from other companies have said they will not be working, making it likely that other firms follow suit.
And Charles Oakes, of the Hackney Drivers Association, said he is recommending that members to the same as a show of support to their private hire colleagues.
“I will be writing to them to ask them to support this action,” he said. “If Saturday passes off peacefully, which we hope it will, I will be the first to apologise to the customers who have been inconvenienced.”
Taxi drivers are right to fear for their safety. Black and Asian drivers have reported harassment and abuse by EDL thugs at every demonstration.
First Bus drivers in Bolton also have safety concerns.
Bill Killiner, vice chair of the drivers’ Unite union, told Socialist Worker, “We are particularly concerned about the safety of Asian drivers whose routes take them through the town centre. Management are facilitating requests for alternative routes for drivers who want to avoid the city centre.”
Some shopkeepers are closing up for the day—some because they want to join the UAF protest, others out of fear of attack by the EDL.
Activists have been running daily stalls and leafleting across the North West and are planning to assemble from 9am at Victoria Square in Bolton to ensure that the streets are kept safe from the EDL thugs.
It isn’t too late to book your transport to Bolton—coaches are coming from across the country. Visit www.uaf.org.uk to get an up to date list or ring 020 7801 2782