There was standing room only at York’s largest anti-racism meeting in living memory last night, Wednesday. As many as 175 people packed into the York Stand up to Racism (SUTR) rally.
A group of electricians brought their Ucatt union banner to the front. Eight other union banners decked out the room—as well as a banner from York Labour Party.
Then York’s Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, decked out in their chains, opened the meeting and donated to SUTR.
Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Moazzam Begg spoke of the importance of mass protest.
He explained how he had learned to “smile in the face of the oppressor” during his time in Guantanamo.
Roma writer and activist Laura Munteanu read out a moving poem.
There was a real sense of unity in the room as Green councillor Denise Craighill said, “Confronting racism is everyone’s business.
“We must do everything including protest, support asylum seekers, lobby our MPs and maybe take direct action when Donald Trump comes to visit.”
The rally was part of a nationwide programme of events to build for national demonstrations on Saturday 18 March.
Another meeting in the Black Country on Wednesday brought an audience of about 70, with the next in Barnsley this Saturday.
One coach from York to the London demonstration has already been filled, and activists at the meeting took away 5,000 leaflets to keep building.
This is just the beginning of building SUTR as a mass movement in York and across Britain