The racist English Defence League (EDL) will try to march through Tower Hamlets on Saturday 3 September.
Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and United East End have called a national demonstration in Tower Hamlets, east London, on the same day in response. This replaces the anti-racist protest planned for 27 August.
The EDL’s announcement follows a racist attack in the London borough of Barking & Dagenham during an EDL protest on Saturday 18 June.
Racists attacked brothers Mohammed and Aftab.
Mohammed was beaten to the ground, kicked and punched. He has four fractures to his right cheekbone.
He told Socialist Worker, “We need to show that the majority of people want to defend multiculturalism.”
“We need unity and solidarity.”
Last year more than 5,000 people marched through Tower Hamlets in response to an EDL threat to protest.
Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of UAF, stressed the importance of the anti-racist protest this time.
“This is one of the biggest tests that anti-racists and anti-fascists face,” said Weyman.
“All anti-racists should make their way to Tower Hamlets and do everything they can to build the protest. A big march will give confidence to every
anti-racist to stand up to the EDL when it arrives in their town or city.
“No one will feel alone.”
Lutfur Rahman, mayor of Tower Hamlets, has backed the protest. He is calling on all local political and community representatives to work together against the EDL.
He said, “The EDL does not like the fact that this borough offers a successful multicultural model with many different communities and lifestyles living side by side.
“We have campaigned for each others’ rights together. No amount of EDL propaganda will take that away from us.”
Dilwar Khan, director of the London Muslim Centre, spoke at a Unite the Resistance rally in London on Wednesday of last week.
He said, “Some people use the cuts to scapegoat sections of the community—we have to stand against this racism.
“We need you to unite with us and stand up against injustice, just like you are doing on 30 June.”
Dilwar spoke to Socialist Worker after the meeting. He said, “The press and the government have targeted Muslims.
“David Cameron attacked multiculturalism earlier this year. It gave the racists confidence.
“We don’t want to return to the 1970s and 1980s when racists marched with confidence and attacked black and Asian people.”
Unite and fight the EDL
People are organising across Britain to oppose the EDL on Saturday 9 July.
- Liverpool: Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) and the Anthony Walker Foundation will host a range of events, including an LMHR gig.
- Derby: The EDL has abandoned plans to demonstrate, but the Derby LMHR festival, backed by the Unite union, will go ahead.
- Plymouth: The EDL plans to protest in the Devon town. UAF, backed by Plymouth trades council, is organising a counter-protest against it.
- Cambridge: Local councillors, trade unionists, community leaders and activists have backed a demonstration against the EDL.