Thousands of people marched through central London on Saturday to oppose racism and fascism. Trade unionists, Labour Party members, Brazilians, Muslims, councillors, socialists, Palestine campaigners and others all joined the march.
Loud chants of, “Say it loud, say it clear—refugees are welcome here!” rang out as the demonstration made its way down Regent Street.
Many protesters came out of anger at rising racism and right wing governments across the world.
Nara was with a group of Brazilians on the march. “For the first time we’ve had a fascist elected in Brazil,” she told Socialist Worker.
“Left wing leaders and others are being persecuted not only in Brazil but across the whole of Latin America. It’s very worrying.”
Others described racism in Britain. Danny from Newham, east London, said she came to show solidarity with Muslims facing Islamophobia.
“A lot of my friends have suffered racism,” she told Socialist Worker. “One was taking her children to school and someone pretended to point a gun at them.
“I’m also here to support migrants—it’s a big part of my family.”
Riccardo La Torre is regional secretary for the Eastern region of the Fire Brigades Union.
“We’ve been building anti-racist activity in the union because we want to carry on a proud tradition of standing up to ideologies that harm working people,” he said.
“It’s part of standing up for the communities we serve against the crap espoused by the likes of Tommy Robinson.
“They say services are overstretched and wages are low because of migrants. We’ve been on enough picket lines to know that it isn’t a Polish plumber of local Muslims that are responsible—it’s Tory policies.”
Deputy chair of Newham council Nazir Ahmed told Socialist Worker that 56 councillors in the borough have signed a petition against racism.
“We should be united in raising our voices against antisemitism, Islamophobia and all racism,” he said. “Things like this protest will have an impact as it shows we can unite and have common ground.”
There were many Labour banners on the march, including Brent Central, Tower Hamlets, Gipsy Hill, North Swindon and Ealing.
Workers brought union banners from the UCU, Unite, Unison, NEU and Equity unions, while huge balloons from the CWU, UCU and Unison towered over the march.
Marchers chanted, “Tommy Robinson, go to hell—take your Nazi mates as well.”
Labour member Tom told Socialist Worker, “Its important to smash the fascists before they get bigger.
“Protests help to make people aware of the situation and the dangers.”
Two Romani protesters said they were there “to protest against racism towards Romani and gypsy people”.
“We’re the most persecuted race in the world,” they said. “Millions of us died in the Holocaust.”
Palestine Solidarity Campaign member Jo added, “We’ve been here before and we need to learn the lessons from history.
“I was born during the war. We don’t want to go back to that kind of situation. We need to protest in all countries—but governments need to do something too.”
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