Support is growing for Unite Against Fascism (UAF) officer Martin Smith who is due to appear in court on Tuesday of this week.
Martin is accused of assaulting a police officer during last year’s protest against fascist British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin appearing on Question Time—a charge he strenuously denies.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) is supporting Martin. NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said, 'The NUJ has worked with Martin on a number of anti-fascist campaigns and we are supporting the efforts to clear his name.'
Other messages of support are rolling in.
Billy Hayes, the CWU postal and telecoms workers’ union general secretary, has sent one of them. It reads, 'In recent months there have been a number of legal attacks upon anti-fascists. Those who defend multiculturalism and equal rights are being victimised, while Islamophobes and racists are being encouraged. The charges against Martin Smith should be dropped.'
The RMT rail workers’ union London Fleet 960 branch has donated £200 towards Martin’s court costs.
RMT rep Kieran Crowe said, 'Our branch voted to support Martin because the authorities are soft on the BNP and the English Defence League. It is complete hypocrisy to launch an attack on someone who is trying to defend democracy against neo-fascists. We need to defend Martin, because if we don’t, we’ll be next.'
Dundee University branch of the lecturers’ UCU union has said that they 'wholeheartedly and unanimously support Martin Smith in his fight to show his innocence of the charge brought against him. The very best of luck and the very best of advocacy when his case is heard. We sincerely hope his charge is laughed out of court.'
UAF are urging supporters to join the protest outside Martin’s hearing this Tuesday 7 September at 9am. Please bring your placards and union banners.
Protest at 9am, Tuesday 7 September, South Western Magistrates Court, 176a Lavender Hill, London SW11 1JU
Tube strike update: There is set to be a tube strike on the day of the hearing so use Clapham Junction rail station (trains from Waterloo or Victoria stations). Bus routes 35, 37, 39, 49, 77, 87, 156, 170, 219, 295, 319, 337, 344, 345, C3 and G1 all stop close to the court.
Go to www.uaf.org.uk for more information