A motley crew of racist and fascist groups had threatened to march in Southampton last Saturday under the banner of “South Coast Resistance”.
Local people were quick to react and organise a counter-protest.
The racists said they would meet in the city centre at 12 noon.
A broad coalition of community groups, trade union branches and anti-fascist groups mobilised to occupy the site from 11am.
Local chair of the Unite union’s Community branch Glyn told Socialist Worker, “It was the biggest protest against racism in Southampton for decades.
“Over 1,000 people were there. One grandmother said she’d been scared for her physical safety—until she got there and saw how big the protest was.
“People just kept coming and coming.”
There was music, a choir and a broad range of speakers who talked about the proud history of unity in Southampton.
It is one of the first truly multicultural cities in England stemming from its past as a busy port.
Just 16 racists showed up and were protected by police in a pub nearly a mile away.
When the counter-protest started marching towards the fascists, police took them to a nearby station and onto a train out of the city. The protest then became a victory march from the station to the local civic centre.
Glyn said, “The fascists had to scuttle away to their train because of the counter-protest. We then marched up through the high street.
“People outside pubs were saying, ‘Well done’. We’re a port city—we’ve always had migrants here.”