Over 1,000 people tuned in to Stand Up To Racism’s (SUTR) #WorldAgainstRacism online rally on Saturday.
Speakers from groups across Britain and globally spoke on the need to unite against the threat of racism and fascism.
Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP told the rally, “The pandemic has shown how global we are and when we have to fight for something we have to do it collectively.
“There has been a backlash against people fighting racism and voices are being silenced by attempting to take the right to protest away.”
She added, “We’ve seen a renewed struggle against violence to women, but black and Asian women can be left out of this. Fighting racism is just as important to the feminist movement as anything else.
“We must actively challenge racism in every form we find it.”
TUC union federation general secretary Frances O’Grady slammed the Tories’ “nasty” Police Bill. “We will not be silent when the government tries to scapegoat minority communities for its own failings,” she said.
O’Grady added that “everyday solidarity between workers” is stronger than racism. “We must organise against zero-hour contracts that black, Asian and minority ethnic people are more likely to be put on, and close the race pay gap,” she said.
Petros Constantinou from the Greek anti-racist and anti-fascist group Keerfa reported that thousands had demonstrated on the streets of Athens on Saturday. “There was an impressive presence of refugees from camps,” he explained.
“Our government is murdering refugees at the borders and drowning them in the Mediterranean with the European Union.
“Today was an explosion of anger. Our demands are simple—open the borders.”
David Rosenberg from the Jewish Socialist Group, said, “We are witnessing the strongest Jewish campaigning against US state racism since the 1960s.
“They are fighting antisemitism in a country where Donald Trump’s proud boys display hoodies saying, ‘six million wasn’t enough,’ in regard to the Holocaust.
“The danger of antisemitism comes from the right and the far right. The left are our trusted allies against it.”
Following the killing of eight Asian Americans in Atlanta, US, last week, Dr Peng Wang called the rise of racism towards Asian people a “new low”. He is the lecturer who was attacked in Southampton by racists.
“After the attack and receiving so much support, I believe we are the many and they are the few,” he said. “We will win in the war against racism.”
And Marwan Muhammad, the former Director of Collective Against Islamophobia in France, spoke about the “systemic discrimination” of Muslims under president Emmanuel Macron.
“There has been a major political decision to demonise and stigmatise Muslims,” he said. “From closing down mosques and criminalising imams or academic research, there is a new controversy every week.
“These are the extents that the government will go to to secure the vote of the far right.”
He warned that this clampdown is spreading across Europe. “We have a responsibility to organise together,” Muhammad added.
The rally was closed by SUTR president and Labour MP Diana Abbott. “The coronavirus pandemic has shone a very harsh light on institutional racism,” she said.
“Now home secretary Priti Patel is nursing ideas about keeping refugees offshore—this is a scandal. Racism is literally a life or death matter. We have to stand up for each other and stand up to racism.
“There is no more important cause.”
Other speakers included Unison union assistant general secretary Roger McKenzie, Windrush lawyer Jacqueline Mckenzie and Andrea Garreffa from the Sardines movement in Italy.