A Unite Against Fascism demonstration halted plans by the racist English Defence League (EDL) to take over the centre of Newcastle today.
Though their march went ahead, disappointed EDL supporters fell out with each other and fights broke out between different “firms”.
The EDL had boasted that thousands of its supporters would march through the city. The Northern Echo reported that the EDL actually mustered about 600.
Their march was outnumbered by more than 1,000 anti-racists on UAF’s counter demonstration. This brought together trade unionists and students from across the north east. David Faulkner, deputy leader of Newcastle City council, and several councillors joined the anti-racist protest.
“This was a fantastic day,” Martin Smith of Unite Against Fascism told Socialist Worker. “Black, white and Asian have all come together to show Tyneside isn’t intimidated by the thugs in the EDL.
“We’re often told that we shouldn’t protest at the EDL’s bigoted marches and if we ignore them they’ll go away. But that only gives them the confidence to go on violent rampages. Demonstrations of unity and defiance like we saw today are the real way to stop them.”