More than 1,000 people joined a highly successful Unite Against Fascism (UAF) protest in Newcastle against the racist English Defence League (EDL) last Saturday.
Anti-fascist campaigners marched through the city to send a message to the EDL that their anti-Muslim hatred is not welcome.
“The protest was a fantastic success,” Bob Murdoch, secretary of the Tyneside engineering branch of the Unite union, told Socialist Worker.
“The racists were outnumbered and unable to riot. Our demonstration represented every section of Newcastle society—black, white and Asian, trade unionists, pensioners and students.
“The mood was incredibly positive and serious. Throughout our march people chanted slogans identifying the EDL as racists and Nazis.”
Young Muslims from the local area took part in the demonstration.
The march received a warm welcome from people in the city centre—and some joined it.
Trade unionists from the NUT, Unison, Unite and RMT unions spoke at the rally, as did Labour Party councillors and UAF activists.
“The speakers condemned the scapegoating of the Asian community by the EDL and the need to stand together in solidarity with them,” said Bob.
Despite threats that the EDL would muster over 2,000 protesters, they only got around 800. Its demonstration descended into chaos and violence as participants fought their own stewards.
“We have shown the EDL that they are not welcome, that they are not the majority,” said Weyman Bennett, joint national secretary of UAF.
“The coachloads of anti-fascist protesters from Yorkshire and Scotland were fantastic—but this was overwhelmingly a demonstration of local people representing the real face of Newcastle.
“In every town and city we must come together and organise to fight racism and fascism wherever it rears its ugly head.”
UAF is planning a series of rallies against the EDL and the Nazi British National Party (BNP) across Britain in June.
The counter-demonstration in Newcastle marked a significant step forward in the campaign against the EDL.
But they have not gone away and are planning racist marches in a number of places—including Cardiff this weekend.
Steven Moorhouse, of Rushton Hill Close, Pellon, Halifax, admitted racially aggravated common assault and harassment between June and July last year.
Moorhouse threatened to stab a 13-year old white girl and her Asian boyfriend.
He was overheard shouting that he would get the BNP to come and slit someone’s throat.
Protest against the Welsh Defence League, assemble 11am, Saturday 5 June, Roald Dahl Plass/Oval Basin (adjacent Wales Millennium Centre), Cardiff for march to City Hall.
For details of the UAF rallies go to www.uaf.org.uk
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