Socialist Worker

Protests and rallies mark worldwide day of action against racism

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2747

Protesters take on racism on the streets of Paris

Protesters take on racism on the streets of Paris


Anti-racist protests, rallies and online events were scheduled in at least 19 countries this weekend for the #WorldAgainstRacism days of action.

Events took place on Saturday. Others were planned for Sunday in Greece, France, Denmark, Norway, Turkey, Germany, Ireland, United States, South Korea, Italy, New Zealand, Canada, Portugal, Catalonia, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands and Britain.

A small group even gathered in Nizhny Novgorod in Russia to hold up anti-racist signs.

In Warsaw, Poland, people formed a “human chain”, connecting the state TV headquarters and the office of the European Commission. Andy told Socialist Worker, “In this way, we expressed our opposition to the biggest racist propaganda machine in Poland—and to the anti-immigration policy of the European Union.

“This has resulted in thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean. 

“Demonstrators held up signs showing examples of racist and fascist attacks that have taken place throughout the country. 

“A live internet broadcast went out into the world. We chanted, ‘Yes to refugees, no to racism,’ ‘Open the borders, close down the government,’ “Warsaw, Poland, the world—free from fascism,’ and, ‘Solidarity is our weapon’.”

Gathered 

From Germany, where people gathered in the streets in several cities, left wing Die Linke party MP Christine Buchholz said, “The racists and fascists are strong. But we can resist. We are connected and our solidarity will win.” 

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Hundreds of anti-racists, migrants and refugees gathered in Athens, one of several demonstrations in Greece. Keerfa, the Greek anti-racist movement said, “Fortress Europe is the Europe of bosses and the rich who can move freely when refugees are dying.

“International coordination of struggle is very important to defeat racism and fascism.

“We demonstrate on 20 March demanding open borders, asylum, full rights and shelter for all refugees.

“Bring down the fences, close the camps.”

They called on campaigners to draw inspiration from the elimination of the Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece last year.

In Austria, reports Manfred, "A large, colourful, young and angry protest march moved through the streets of Vienna. Not since the Black Lives Matter protests a year ago has such a large demonstration of solidarity been seen.

"We felt relief and joy that the left is able to bring about large mobilisations even in times of pandemic. But all this did not make us forget that the Austrian government is deporting children who were born here and families who have their centre of life here.

"That's why this time school pupils also made their mark on the events."

Combined

In Turkey, Ozan told Socialist Worker, "There were small anti-racist protests in the cities of Istanbul and Tekirdag. We combined #20M with climate strikes and action against sexism.

"The government has decreed it is withdrawing Turkey from the Istanbul Convention. This is a treaty against violence against women and domestic violence. 

"The government decision is a major offensive by the ruling class against women's rights.

"On Saturday there were women's marches all around Turkey. These included a massive march in Kadikoy where we were planning to hold our own anti-racist event. We joined the big rally after our own event."

In Denmark, reports Lene, "There were demonstrations in the three largest cities organised by United Against Racism and Discrimination and broad local coalitions. They were in defence of refugees and against racist rhetoric from the top."

In Paris, France, a large march targeted state racism, police violence and Islamophobia. It also demanded rights for undocumented migrants. 

Catalonia

The mobilisation in Catalonia in the Spanish state took place just a month after the entry into the Catalan Parliament of 11 MPs of the far right party Vox.

Unitat Contra el Feixisme i el Racisme (UCFR), the Catalan sister movement of Stand Up To Racism, marked the day with more than 20 events in towns and cities across the country. These included rallies, online events and other actions.

Several of these were organised by new local groups that have sprung up in recent weeks, in the #StopVOX campaign. David Karvala, an activist in UCFR and a member of Marx21.net, reports, "the actions are an important step in consolidating these groups.

"One example is the UCFR group in Terrassa, near Barcelona. This was established in the campaign against Vox and held hundreds-strong protests against far right electoral events in their city. At a rally on Friday night they heard the testimony of Alioune, a young black resident, who has suffered institutional racism on public transport.

"The group plans to campaign on this widespread problem in coming months.

"UCFR Catalonia has a lot of work to do. It has to fight against Vox, against state racism, and especially against the Islamophobia that even infects sections of the left.

"But the growth of the movement in recent months is a very good sign.

"Another ongoing task is to encourage the creation of similar movements in more areas of the Spanish state. In many of these the far right is even stronger than here.".

To watch a video of international speakers from events across the world go to https://fb.watch/4lUcu51zBf

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