Over 2,000 racists, fascists and other far right elements joined a so-called “march against hate” in Manchester last Sunday. It was called by former English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson.
Robinson called the march and rally following the Manchester Arena bombing last month.
He cynically exploited people’s shock and fear following the bombing to pull the biggest far right rally seen in Manchester since October 2009, and one of the biggest in Britain for a long time.
Protesters sustained a loud and lively counter-protest over several hours, despite several hails of missiles from the racists.
Disgracefully, police kettled around 80 peaceful anti-racist protesters, including four Labour councillors, in a side street away from the counter-protest.
This encouraged Tommy Robinson’s thugs to attempt more violent attacks on those protesters who were within their reach. Several members of the public were threatened and assaulted.
Greater Manchester Police complacently claimed that the racists had “not stopped people from going about their normal Sunday activities” in the city centre.
But many people had already stated their concerns ahead of the Robinson rally. Anti-racists in Manchester are determined to build the broadest opposition to street-level racism—and to the repression and surveillance being directed at Muslims.
Other recent fascist protests have been very small, including a protest by the EDL in Liverpool earlier this month. But Manchester shows that we can’t be complacent.
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