Socialist Worker

All out to stop the racists in east London

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2369

Thousands of activists mobilised against the racist EDL in east London in 2011

Thousands of activists mobilised against the racist EDL in east London in 2011 (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Thousands of anti-racists are preparing to take to the streets on Saturday to stop the English Defence League’s (EDL) plans to march in Tower Hamlets, east London. 

The EDL wants to march to Altab Ali park in Tower Hamlets to intimidate local people and whip up racism. Unite Against Fascism (UAF) has called a counter demonstration to stop them. It is supported by United East End and a number of trade unions.

The EDL has been linked to the rise in mosque attacks and burnings since the killing of Lee Rigby in May. Only two weeks ago the Harlow Islamic Centre was set on fire in an arson attack.

Rania Khan, an Independent councillor in Bromley-by-Bow, spoke to Socialist Worker about why anti-racists must be out on Saturday to oppose the EDL.

“We have to stand up to the audacity of the EDL trying to come to Tower Hamlets. Especially as they want to march to Altab Ali park, named after a young Bangladeshi garment worker who was killed by racists there in 1978.”  She said.

The police have said they are placing the EDL “under restrictions” to have only a 30 minute static rally at Aldgate. But the EDL has repeatedly said it is determined to enter Tower Hamlets. It’s vital that anti-racists mobilise in their thousands to ensure that the racists are kept out.

Joel Hirsch is a retired trade unionist and anti-fascist from east London. He told Socialist Worker, 

“My father was in a concentration camp, he escaped just before the war started. If it wasn’t for the Battle of Cable Street and the defeat of the Blackshirts in 1936, fascism would have been virulent in east London. Everyone has to be out on Saturday.”

As Rania said, “East London has a proud history of standing up to fascists. It’s 77 years since the Battle of Cable Street, where many anti-racist and anti-fascist movements blossomed.

“Every man, woman and child has to be out on Saturday to say to the racist EDL ‘hands of Tower Hamelts, hands off east London’.”

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Article information

Fri 6 Sep 2013, 16:59 BST
Issue No. 2369
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