Meetings and rallies to build this Saturday’s Stand up to Racism demonstrations are continuing right up to the wire this week.
Campaigners were set to gather in Kent, Portsmouth and at the Amnesty International office in east London tonight, Monday. Other events are planned this week in Glasgow, Chesterfield, Coventry and Swansea.
Over 150 people came to a rally and gig in York on Friday of last week.
Pinar Aksu from the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees spoke of her own experiences as a detainee in Yarl’s Wood for two months. A Syrian student talked about the regime’s counter-revolution there.
Joanna Frith of the Agape Project spoke of her recent visit to Calais where children and babies were teargassed by the riot police while their fragile homes were torn down.
York’s Labour MP Rachael Maskell told the audience not to let racism divide us in our fight for a fairer world. Nahella Ashraf of Stand Up to Racism rallied the crowd with a clarion call to get on the coaches to London for the 19 March demo.
Local bands ZiZ, Low-Key Catastrophe and Orlando Ferguson and Yorkshire troubadour Nick Hall helped leave the audience passionately inspired.
Some 80 people came to the meeting in Walsall.
Fiyaz Mughal, director of the Tell Mama charity, warned that Islamophobic rhetoric could lead to more murders like that of Mohammed Saleem in Birmingram in 2013. Saleem’s killer Pavlo Lapshyn also planted a bomb in Walsall’s Ayesha Mosque.
Sabby Dhalu spoke from Stand Up To Racism. Unison union assistant general secretary Roger McKenzie talked about the vicious racism he faced growing up in Walsall and warned activists to be vigilant against it returning.
Speakers from the Labour left group Momentum joined the lively debate at the meeting in Chelmsford, Essex, last Thursday.
Activists discussed initiatives they could build locally to oppose the racist narrative pumped out by the government and media.
Campaigners in Swansea held four stalls in the city last week to build both the Cardiff demonstration and a counter-protest against the fascist National Front on Saturday 26 March.
For details of transport to Saturday’s demonstrations go to standuptoracism.org.uk
Thanks to Jane Carter, Jon Woollard, Martin Chapman, Martin Lynch