Seven hundred anti-racists and anti-fascists stopped the Nazi thugs of the English Defence League (EDL) from marching through Nottingham city centre last Saturday.
From 10am, Unite Against Fascism (UAF) supporters occupied Nottingham’s Old Market Square.
They included trade unionists from the GMB, PCS, UCU, Unison and CWU unions.
There were many school and university students there too. And, despite the advice of some of their “leaders”, there were substantial groups of local Muslim youth.
We were a cross-section of multicultural Nottingham, and proud of it.
The situation was complicated by the EDL choosing to stage their anti-Muslim protest on the same day that the Mercian Regiment was holding a homecoming parade from Afghanistan. But our leaflets made it clear that our argument was with the EDL.
Small groups of EDL supporters emerged with flags from a couple of the pubs surrounding the Market Square and made Nazi salutes.
If UAF had stayed away, and the Market Square had been left vacant – as was the advice of the police, the council leader, and others – the Sieg Heil salutes would have taken over the centre of Nottingham. Some local Labour councillors understood this, and joined us.
Other anti-fascists came to join us in the Square and together we marched, banners waving, to Nottingham Castle, where the EDL was holding a 400-strong rally. They were openly fascist and thuggish, and almost entirely male.
We held a rally round the corner from the EDL, then marched back through the centre of Nottingham.
There were skirmishes round the pubs well into the evening. The bottom line is that we marched in the centre of Nottingham, and Sieg Heiling fascist thugs, who had arrived from all over the country, didn’t.
Anti-racists in Harrow, west London, are working hard to ensure a huge display of unity on Sunday against the thugs of the EDL.
Last time the racists tried to march in the area they were seen off by thousands of people from the local area who mobalised against them.
Now Unite Against Fascism activists want to ensure the EDL thugs are decisively defeated once again.
“It is not just an attack on the mosque, it is one on the multi-racial community of Harrow,” says Sara Cox from Brent and Harrow UAF.
Join the UAF protest: 12 noon, Sunday 13 December, Station Road. The nearest tube station is Harrow & Wealdstone.
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