Socialist Worker

Fury after racists assault black man in London pub

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2693

El’s mother Eunicia leads the chants outside the pub

El’s mother Eunicia leads the chants outside the pub (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Fury erupted outside the Duke of Wellington in west London last Saturday after racists assaulted a black man at the pub.

Around 200 people marched from the top of Portobello Road and rallied outside the pub. Chants of “Duke of Wellington—shame on you”, “Justice 4 El” and “Black Lives Matter” filled the air.

El Harding, a 20 year old worker at the pub on the Portobello Road, was attacked during his shift at around 11.15pm on Saturday 15 February.

Eunicia Harding, El’s mother, told Socialist Worker that a group of six men called him “nigger, golliwog and boy” before launching themselves at him.

“There were some guys already in the pub when El started his shift,” she said.

“They were taking peanuts from the bar and El said, ‘You’ve got to pay.’ One of the guys said, ‘What did you say nigger?’ Another one said, ‘What did you say boy’— like he was a slave master.”

“The manager was downstairs doing the count and El was left by himself.”

Eunicia said the group started throwing peanuts around the place and “takings legs off chairs”. “Before he knew it, El had six guys on him,” she described, “and one of them grabbed him by the neck”.

Frustrated

Family, friends and residents are angry with the management at the Duke of Wellington and Young’s Brewery.

Eunicia said, “We are very frustrated with the pub because they did not call the police on the night.

“We feel let down and it’s a disgrace. They even called to ask when El would be back in work.”

She said one of the new managers feared calling the police would harm the pub’s reputation and licence.

At last Saturday’s protest Eunicia led off chants of “Shame on you” and demanded that management come out to speak to her. She is demanding an apology and release of the CCTV footage.

The Justice 4 El campaign has vowed to protest outside the Duke of Wellington every Saturday.

Eunicia said that “racists are coming out of their shells”. “A lot of our parents and grandparents had to fight Teddy boys in the 1950s, but we’ve not seen anything like this for a long time,” she said.

“The community are in uproar and that’s why we’ll be protesting outside the pub”. Racists have been given confidence by Tory prime minister Boris Johnson—who has called black people “piccaninnies” with ­“watermelon smiles”.

As local resident and socialist activist Moyra Samuels told the protest, “Racism continues to grow in this rotten country right from the prime minister down.

“We have a history in this community of taking on racism going back to the 1950s. You do not know who you have messed with.”

Join the protest 8pm, Sat 29 February, Duke of Wellington, 179 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2ED

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