Socialist Worker

New Stand Up To Racism groups set up ahead of mass demos on 18 March

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2543

AROUND 100 people protested outside Downing Street last Saturday to demand the government lets more refugee children into Britain. The Tories have abandoned the Dubs Amendment which committed to accepting 3,000 refugee children

Around 100 people protested outside Downing Street last Saturday to demand the government lets more refugee children into Britain. The Tories have abandoned the Dubs Amendment which committed to accepting 3,000 refugee children (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) meetings are taking place across Britain. Activists aim to combat Tory attacks, keep up the fight against Donald Trump and build for protests on 18 March.

Over 50 people launched SUTR in Stockport last Tuesday.

People from trade unions, Muslim organisations and pro-refugee campaigns, as well as the Green Party and Momentum came. A Labour councillor also attended.

Union branches gave over £600 to the campaign.

In Greater Manchester the NUJ union showed the film Black Power Mixtape last Saturday to raise money for the demonstration.

More SUTR meetings took place in Bradford and south east London last Tuesday.

In Bradford people shared their experiences of discrimination—and accused Theresa May of welcoming more bigotry into Britain with Donald Trump’s state visit.

An audience member told of how minorities are boxed in and denied their identities.

He said “My name is Asif. I am a Pakistani. I am a Muslim, but that is not all I am, I am here as a human”.

Around 70 people met in south east London.

Ahammad Hussain from the Lewisham Islamic Centre said, “If I could describe what it feels like to be a Muslim at the moment, it would be ‘beseiged’.”

But he added that events like the meeting give him “hope”.

In Milton Keynes last Wednesday, speakers included Attiq Malik, solicitor for the victims of a brutal racist attack in Bletchley last year.

He spoke of Thames Valley Police’s gross failures to investigate the crime and encouraged a large SUTR presence at the court hearing on 14 March.

Meetings also took place in Coventry, Kingston and Glasgow.

Labour councillor Faye Abbott told a 50-strong meeting in Coventry last Thursday, “I want to be clear—refugees are welcome in Coventry.”

Syrian refugee Reem Doukmark from Homs criticised the European Union’s deal with Turkey, allowing the deportation of refugees in exchange for accepting others.

“This will create divisions amongst refugees,” he said.

Speakers at Glasgow’s meeting included STUC union federation assistant secretary Helen Martin and anti-racist campaigner Amaar Anwar.

Over 50 people came to a rally in Leeds last Saturday, with speakers including Marvina Newton of Black Lives Matter and Labour MEP Julie Ward.

Janet Alder, fighting for justice for her brother Christopher who died in police custody in 1998, said, “Racism kills”.

Shahab Adris from Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend) contrasted the “two movements” that are building as that of “hate” and that of “solidarity”.

To ensure the victory of solidarity it’s essential to build the biggest possible turnout on 18 March.

Thanks to Ameen Hadi, Christian Hogsbjerg, Iain Ferguson, Kate Hunter, Richard Milner and Sumbul Ahmed


European activists prepare for protests

Anti-racists around Europe are building for demonstrations on the weekend of 18 March—a riposte to the racist far right.

The international day of action comes from a call in Greece.

Tens of thousands have marched in Athens and other cities in previous years.

Activists there are fighting the European Union-led clampdown on refugees and Greek politicians’ attempts to use racism to divide resistance to austerity.

There is also a renewed offensive against the fascist Golden Dawn.

A rally in the southern French city of Lyon to build the “March for Dignity and Justice” in Paris was cancelled on Saturday due to far right threats and attacks.

But hundreds of people turned out in an alternative venue.

The family of Theo, who was raped by police with a truncheon, are among those supporting the march.

Around 2,000 students struck in Paris last Thursday demanding “Vengeance for Theo”, with barricades at 16 colleges.

Presidential

It comes amid a presidential election campaign where fascist Marine Le Pen leads the polls. Some 2,000 people protested against Le Pen’s rally in the western city of Nantes last Saturday.

On the same day stonemasons and refugees in Paris resculpted rocks placed under a bridge by the municipal government to stop refugees sleeping there.

In the Netherlands the march will come days after a general election where Islamophobe Geert Wilders could make a breakthrough.

Ewout van der Berg from the organising committee told Socialist Worker, “We’ve been marching on this date every year since the 1980s but we expect it to be bigger this year.

“Wilders has campaigned for closing down mosques, banning the Koran and sending back refugees.

“The establishment, the media and even parts of the left have been pandering to this.

“But opposition has meant he can’t make appearances on the street. Lots of people are angry and the demonstration can give them a focus.”

Demonstrations will also take place in Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Denmark, Cyprus and other countries.


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.