Socialist Worker

Thousands gather for anti-racist unity demonstration in London

by Socialist Worker reporters
Issue No. 2630

Crowds are gathering for todays anti-racist unity demonstration in central London

Crowds are gathering for today's anti-racist unity demonstration in central London (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Thousands of people had assembled by midday on Saturday for the national demonstration against racism and fascism in central London.

It was called by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) in response to the growing threat of the racists and the far right in Britain and internationally. 

Maria Morris came as part of the Brazilians Against Fascism group. "I'm from Brazil where Jair Bolsonaro has just been elected," she told Socialist Worker. "He's religious fundamentalist, he's racist, he's homophobic. He is our Trump.

"We need to fight these people everywhere."

Nigel, a Unison union member from Oxford, added, "It’s important to have unity at a time when the right, authoritarianism and intolerance are on the rise here and across Europe.

"It’s frightening to see Bolsonaro elected in Brazil. And in Italy the League is trying to prosecute Cécile Kyenge MP for saying it’s a racist party."

People from towns and cities across Britain have joined the demonstration.

General secretary of the Indian Workers Association Joginder Baines travelled down on a full coach from Derby.

Joginder Baines (right)

Joginder Baines (right)


"Racism and fascism is on the increase. We came to oppose Islamophobia and xenophobia," she told Socialist Worker.

Colin from Portsmouth Momentum said, "We've seen the rise of racism encouraged by people like Donald Trump and Brexit.

"And we've got Tommy Robinson shmoozing with rich Americans.

"We have to show these people they there are good people out there, and we're the majority."

Fuelled

The growth of far right groups is being fuelled by racism against Muslims, migrants and refugees pushed by politicians and the media. As Ruby from Newham in east London told Socialist Worker, "The media tend to blame migrants for economic failings and many people believe it."

She added, "Education is key to stopping racism."

There is a sizeable presence from the Labour Party, Momentum and the trade unions. Ali Ahmed, a Labour councillor from Cardiff, told Socialist Worker that the far right and racism was growing "because of the Tories and austerity". 

"People will see what we're about and that we're the majority with this demonstration."

Robin from Henley CLP

Robin from Henley CLP (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Robin from Henley CLP said, "We have to be out here to get our message across.

"I’ve got four grandchildren, I want to make sure they have a better future."

Chants of "Oh, Jeremy Corbyn" broke out as the crowds assembled.

"The first thing we need to do is elect a Labour government that will make sure there are more jobs and housing," said Ali. 

Others saw a need to fight now over racism, not pin all our hopes for change on an election. Becky, a student from York, told Socialist Worker, "The far right has been building under the radar. 

"We need to do something sooner rather than later," she said, urging people not to "just wait for the next government to make changes."

The demonstration is marching to Whitehall where it will be addressed by leading anti-racist, trade union and Labour speakers. 


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