Socialist Worker

Local activists plan to stand up to fascists in south east London on 1 June

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2355

A meeting at Lewisham Islamic Centre in south London last night, Wednesday, discussed how to counter the Nazi British National Party’s (BNP) plan to go there from Woolwich on Saturday.

It brought together local residents, teachers, trade unionists and faith leaders. 

The BNP have called a march in Woolwich on Saturday. Unite Against Fascism have called a London wide mobilisation in Woolwich against their fascist march. 

The BNP have threatened to go on to the Lewisham mosque in a motorcade. 

The meeting agreed that people will be asked to come to the Lewisham mosque after the demonstration in Woolwich, even if the police veto the BNP’s plans to go Lewisham. 

Imam Shakeel Begg said that the mosque has had lots of emails from local residents pledging support on the day. He said, “We want something peaceful and united”.

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) is jointly organising the mobilisation of solidarity at the mosque after the Woolwich demo which plans to combine speeches with poetry and music.

Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of UAF pointed to previous successful, peaceful anti-fascist demonstrations. He said,

“Look to Tower Hamlets, look to Walthamstow. We want to send out a powerful message of ‘You will not divide us’.”

Asad Rahman, who chaired the meeting, told Socialist Worker “People have a lot of confidence in the cohesion of the community in Lewisham.

“It’s very inspirational and very moving to see so many people from diverse backgrounds here tonight.”

The English Defence League (EDL) has also called at least 31 flash protests across the country on Saturday. UAF is asking its supporters to organise unity events against the EDL and for all supporters to sign the UAF statement.

Saturday’s demonstration will provide a basis to build on future campaigns, and importantly show the BNP that people in Woolwich and Lewisham are united against fascism.

Saturday 1 June, 12 noon, General Gordon Square, Woolwich (next to Woolwich Arsenal DLR).

UAF is holding a public meeting in London with speakers include Jeremy Corbyn MP, Weyman Bennett, comedian Ava Vidal, Owen Jones, Daniel Trilling, Jude Woodward and Shakeel Begg (Imam at Lewisham Islamic Centre). Monday 3 June, 7pm, University of London Union, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY


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