Around 100 people attended the 'We will not be silenced' solidarity rally in Oxford on Saturday. The event was called after two thugs tried to shut down a Socialist Worker stall campaigning against Boris Johnson’s racist attack on Muslim women.
Within a few days of the attack a joint call was issued by Oxford Stand Up To Racism, Oxford Unite Against Fascism (UAF), Oxford, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Oxfordshire Refugee Solidarity, Oxford Momentum, Oxford TUC, Wantage CLP, Close Campsfield Campaign, Oxford Labour Muslim Network, Oxford Antifascists, Oxford CND, Oxon & Bucks DWP PCS union, Oxfordshire NASUWT union and Oxfordshire Green Party .
Messages of support have been received from anti-racists, socialists and trade unionists around the country. Support was also received from Ruskin UCU union, activists in Witney Constituency Labour Party and the Unison union. Activists from local Labour branches supported on the day with the Labour Party banner.
Several speakers at the rally made the point that the scapegoating of migrants, Muslims and refugees by mainstream politicians such as Johnson is giving confidence to racists and the far right to launch attacks. All agreed we need unity to beat back the far right and fascists.
A message of support from Anneliese Dodds, MP for Oxford East, said, “Racists are not welcome in our city and we all stand in solidarity against them.” She hoped the rally would “send a powerful signal about the need to protect those standing up against racism”.
Ian McKendrick from Oxford Stand Up To Racism issued a call to act now to halt the rise in racist attacks and increase in far right activity. He called on people to sign an open letter against Tommy Robinson and his supporters coming to Oxford and to leaflet Oxford United football ground against the Democratic Football Lads Alliance.
He also urged people to join the mobilisation against the English Defence League in Worcester next Saturday, to register for the Stand Up To Racism international conference in London on 20 October and to build much bigger demonstrations when the far right mobilise nationally.
Pol O’Ceallaigh, president of Oxford & District Trades Council, gave a rousing speech. Tracy Walsh from Oxford UAF talked about how Robinson was receiving support from far right organisations across Europe and from Steve Bannon. She said "The far right are gaining confidence and the only way to stop this is through united mass mobilisation."
A number of people took up the offer of discounted tickets for the Love Music Hate Racism mini festival in Oxford next Saturday.
Oxford Stand Up To Racism will be going back to the organisations that built the rally to ask them to mobilise for national unity demonstration against fascism and racism on 17 November.
Over 150 people gathered in Hull’s Queen Victoria Square last Saturday after a far right group had said it would be there.
It didn’t turn up after an immediate response from Hull trades council to call a rally.