Socialist Worker

Thousands join rallies against racism in Belfast and Derry

by Judith Orr
Issue No. 2406

The protest in Belfast

The protest in Belfast (Pic: SWP)

Thousands of anti?racists rallied in Belfast and Derry last Saturday after a spate of racist attacks in Northern Ireland.

They were also protesting about first minister Peter Robinson’s support for Islamophobic comments from protestant pastor James McConnell. 

McConnell gave a sermon saying Islam was a “doctrine spawned in hell”.

The organisers of the demonstration, which included trade unions and migrant groups, said it was about “standing up for the rights of everyone to live free of fear and discrimination in Northern Ireland”. 

They said, “Attacks on migrants are shaming. A clear rise in racial prejudice is shaming. 

“Widespread and growing Islamophobia is shaming.”

In Belfast up to 4,000 marched. They included Alliance member of Northern Ireland’s legislative assembly, Anna Lo. She is the first Chinese born person to be elected to the Northern Ireland parliament. 

She said last week that she had suffered so much racist abuse during her election campaign that she would not stand again. 

In a show of solidarity protesters at the rally held placards saying “Don’t go Anna Lo!”

When she spoke at the rally in Belfast she said that she had been overwhelmed with support and had now changed her mind, saying “I’m not going to go away”.

Gerry Carroll, newly elected People Before Profit Alliance councillor to Belfast City Council, was cheered when he told the rally, “This is what Belfast looks like”.


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Tue 3 Jun 2014, 17:56 BST
Issue No. 2406
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