There was a huge amount of trade union turnout to support Martin. There were banners from the national NUJ, South Yorkshire NUJ, London Fire Brigade Unison, CWU South Central No1, RMT European Passenger Services and Haringey trades council.
Messages were read out from trade union general secretaries including Bob Crow of the RMT, Jeremy Dear of the NUJ and Billy Hayes of the CWU, as well as from the NUT and the FBU.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS civil service workers’ union, joined the protest. He told the assembled crowd, “I’ve known Martin since 1983. He’s always stood against injustice—supporting every strike, standing against the fascists.”
Mark said that the court case against Martin represents a systematic attempt to disrupt anti-fascist protests.
Steve Bell spoke on behalf of the CWU union. “This represents a dangerous trend,” he said. “Only our actions will prevent attempts to cut off the head of the anti-racist movement.”
Speeches were interspersed with music and poetry, including a live performance by Drew McConnell of Babyshambles.
NUS black students’ officer Kanja Sesay also spoke at the protest.
Just before going into court, Martin Smith told the cheering crowd, “I am not a criminal. My only ‘crime’ is that I refuse to bow down to fascism or the BNP.
“They must not break the anti-fascist movement. This is not about me. It is a test case.”
He pointed out that many in the anti-fascist movement face much worse charges, but vowed that the movement would fight on.
Doris Page, a 73 year old Jewish activist, joined the protest.
She told Socialist Worker, “My immediate family and I escaped from Nazi Germany. Others were taken to concentration camps and killed.
“There is a direct link between what is happening today and what happened in the Holocaust. That is why we have to support Martin.”