More than 200 people protested on the first day of the trial of the Rotherham 12 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, today, Thursday.
“Self defence is no offence” was the chant outside Sheffield Crown Court in support of 12 Asian men. They are charged with violent disorder following a march by Nazis Britain First in Rotherham two weeks after the murder of a Muslim pensioner.
Trade unionists and anti-racist activists from across the region demanded charges be dropped. Campaigners came from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, Rotherham Unite Against Fascism, Stand Up To Racism and others.
Jade Perkins, a mental health nurse from Rotherham, said, “I’m here to show solidarity to a community victimised by Islamophobia that's been encouraged by this government.
“Self defence is no offence.”
Rashda Mahroof, a community worker, said, “We need to stand up to racism and support local communities and do what we can when they’ve been wronged by the system.”
Unite union member Shaun Wade said, “I’m 100 per cent behind them. They stood up to fascists. An injustice to one is an injustice to all.”
More protests are planned during the trial, which is expected to last three weeks.