More than 200 anti‑racists packed into a Unite Against Fascism (UAF) meeting to oppose plans by the racist English Defence League (EDL) to march in Leicester on Saturday 9 October.
Leicester UAF, supported by UAF groups across the region, has called a counter-protest.
The mood of the meeting, on Thursday of last week, was defiant. Tom Mycock said that EDL supporters want “to spread fear and hatred and to scapegoat the Muslim community”.
“They say they are against Islamic extremists but this is just a cover—in Dudley they attacked a Hindu temple, attacked homes and communities,” he added.
“And they boasted that they wanted every Muslim to be hiding behind their curtains when they went to Bradford.
“That is why when the EDL come to Leicester we need thousands of people on the streets of our city—if we stay away they have won.”
The Leicestershire CWU postal workers’ union sent a message of support to the meeting as did Anthony Church from the PCS civil service workers’ union in Leicester.
Four Labour councillors attended the meeting. Councillor Patrick Kitterick thanked UAF for organising the meeting, but did not make it clear whether he or any other councillors will support the counter-protest.
The council has voted unanimously to call on home secretary Theresa May to ban the EDL protest, which could also see the UAF counter-protest banned.
A ban would not prevent a static EDL assembly. And in Bradford in August, EDL thugs were still able to break out of police lines.
Speakers from the floor supported a counter-protest.
Former councillor Joe Allen summed up the mood of the meeting when he said, “No one is coming to my village telling me I don’t belong—when they come I’m not running.”