Over 600 people from across the north of England rallied in Leeds on Monday of this week as Nick Griffin, leader of the fascist BNP, and his sidekick Mark Collett went on trial on charges of incitement to racial hatred.
The fascist BNP counter-protest was comprehensively outnumbered by the joint Unite Against Fascism and trade union demonstration.
BNP members looked pretty miserable in the face of constant chanting from those who came to show they were against everything the BNP stands for.
A lively anti-fascist demonstration humiliated the BNP in Leeds in November, after it had tried to organise a protest in support of Griffin and Collett when their trial proceedings began.
The charges against Griffin and Collett follow the BBC Secret Agent documentary about the BNP in West Yorkshire.
This week’s Unite Against Fascism protest was lined with banners from trade unions including the PCS civil service workers, the Unison public sector workers, Keighley trades council, the AUT lecturers and the GMB general union.
Gavin Heppenstall, a PCS branch organiser, told Socialist Worker that PCS members were there “to demonstrate against the racism and the bigotry of the BNP and show support for our multiracial society.”
Despite the pressure of exams, a separate student march behind a banners saying, “Leeds Students Stop the Fascist BNP”, “BN - P Off” and “Art Students Against Fascism” joined the main protest to cheers.
Ruqayyah Collector, the education officer of Leeds University student union, said she felt, “it was important students showed solidarity with the anti-racist movement, and actively oppose the politics of racism and fascism.
“This is especially the case since Mark Collett himself was once at student at Leeds University.”
Anne Marie Watkinson, the president of Leeds Metropolitan University student union, echoed this, arguing that we had to “stand together united for equality. That’s why we are here.”