The racist English Defence League’s (EDL) planned summer of hate began badly as thousands from Plymouth to Middlesbrough marched against it last Saturday.
The protests buoyed activists to fill coaches for the national protest against the EDL in Tower Hamlets, east London, on Saturday 3 September.
Some 2,000 anti-racists took to the streets of Cambridge, where the EDL only managed to gather 200 people.
The march was called by Cambridge Unite Against Fascism (UAF), and led by a Kick Racism Out of Football banner and Cambridge Fans United (CFU).
The march swelled as it neared Cambridge Mosque on Mill Road—the EDL’s target.
Supporters applauded from their windows, and shopkeepers provided food and drink.
Ali was on the march. He told Socialist Worker, “I joined this demo to support a united Cambridge.”
Anti-racists were invited into the mosque for food as they guarded it against potential attacks by the EDL.
Kacem Idrissi of Cambridge Mosque said, “We want to show our gratitude to everyone who has stood in unity with us over the past weeks. And what a show of unity it was!”
The march was a success—despite opposition from local Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert.
Richard Rose from Cambridge UAF told Socialist Worker, “The atmosphere was incredible. Many people signed up for transport to the national demonstration in Tower Hamlets.”
In Halifax, West Yorkshire, 250 protested against the EDL.
Around 20 EDL thugs tried to attack the UAF rallying point that morning, but protesters drove them off.
Protest organiser Kevin Mottram told the crowd, “In Halifax we live and work side by side. I am proud of a multicultural Halifax.”
Meanwhile, between 200 and 300 EDL thugs fought with police in a car park.
Over 500 people joined the Celebrate Diversity in Plymouth event, organised by UAF, Plymouth TUC and Plymouth City Council Unison. They outnumbered the 120 to 150 EDL protesters.
The march was followed by a rally and gig organised by Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR).
In Middlesbrough 120 gathered to defend multiculturalism. Activists then joined around 300 Muslims to defend the mosque. Anti-racists again outnumbered the 150 EDL supporters.
And hundreds joined LMHR gigs in Liverpool and Derby.
The Anthony Walker Foundation (AWF) held an all day event in Liverpool with workshops, music, food and stalls. LMHR and the AWF organised a joint gig against racism that evening.
Weyman Bennett, joint UAF national secretary, told Socialist Worker, “This weekend shows that anti-racists are the majority and that united we can drive back the EDL.
“That is why the national protest in Tower Hamlets is so important. The EDL wants to bring hatred and division into one of London’s most diverse boroughs.
“We need everyone to join us in opposing it—the bigger the protest the stronger the message that we won’t tolerate racists and fascists in our towns and cities.”
Thanks to everyone who sent in reports
Protesters from Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK handed a petition to Chadwell Heath police station in London last Saturday demanding more action over a racist attack on two Muslim brothers.
Mohammed and Aftab were beaten by EDL thugs on a protest in east London last month.
Go to Brothers who faced racist attack after EDL march talk to Socialist Worker to read Socialist Worker’s interview with the brothers.