UP TO 200 local people marched round Halifax shopping centre last Saturday in protest at last week's election of a British National Party (BNP) councillor, Adrian Marsden. Asian teenagers led the march. Workers from a community arts project brought down life-size puppets made by local schoolchildren.
Tracey Howton, a GMB member, marched alongside the Halifax and District Trades Council banner. She told Socialist Worker, 'People say they are not being listened to and feel disenfranchised. 'We need the trade union leaders and members to start campaigning here, with a high profile presence in the area. If the unions stand up it will give confidence to others.'
'This has been a wake-up call to me,' said Kate Sweeney, a local resident. 'I've been horrified by the result, and how the mainstream media has created a climate for racists. Then you hear David Blunkett talking about 'swamping'. I'll never vote Labour again. It's time to get active. I'll wear my anti-Nazi badge with pride.'
Campaigners have called a lobby outside the full council meeting on Thursday 27 February, where Marsden is due to appear. An angry lobby greeted Robin Evans, the BNP's councillor in Blackburn, at his first council meeting last week. Evans was then heckled throughout the meeting.
In Burnley anti-Nazis dominated local news reports for over a week after two BNP councillors laid a wreath at the recent Holocaust memorial service.
Their stunt caused outrage. The Anti Nazi League initiated an open letter signed by Labour councillors, trade unionists and Holocaust survivors which has been given wide press coverage. Two Labour councillors removed the BNP wreath last week.