Saturday 11 December 2010

Celebratory mood in Peterborough as racist EDL seen off

Trade unionists, antifascist activists and members of the Muslim community in Peterborough were celebrating this evening after successfully seeing off thugs from the racist English Defence League.


Hundreds of people joined a unity march and rally against the EDL, called by Peterborough Trades Union Council and UAF, while hundreds more gathered to defend the local mosque and the parts of the city where many Muslims live.

The rally in the centre of town came alive when around 150 mainly Muslim youths arrived after trying for hours to get past police lines to join the antiracist protest. They were greeted with cheers by the demonstrators.

Trade unionists had a strong showing, with eight local union banners including those of the Fire Brigades Union, Communication Workers Union, Unison and the lecturers’ UCU.

YouTube Preview ImageThose at the overwhelmingly local demo included Labour MEP Richard Howitt, local councillor Mohammed Jamil and the Green Party’s Fiona Radic.

Not welcome

The protest was called to oppose the EDL – a violently racist organisation with links to the British National Party and other fascist groups – and to show that racists and fascists are not welcome in Peterborough.

The EDL mobilised nationally for their demo. But although police originally estimated the EDL had brought 1,000, they later revised the figure to 500.

Around 100 EDL supporters tried to attack the TUC/UAF demo but antiracists stood firm and the EDL were forced to retreat.

Peterborough TUC president Ron Graves told demonstrators:

Peterborough today was united. This was a victory for antifascists. The dregs of the EDL have had to slope off home while we have stood here united and faced them down.

Speaking afterwards, UAF’s Paul Sillett said:

The Peterborough TUC mobilisation locally was excellent and I congratulate them. Antifascist and antiracist protestors today held out and did not disperse until after the EDL had gone. People were resilient and stood together united when around 100 EDL tried to attack the rally. We stood determined and the EDL were forced to run away.

YouTube Preview ImageA few hundred demonstrators then staged a victory march back to the local area where hundreds of others had gathered to defend the Muslim community. They chanted “EDL run out of town” and “Whose streets? Our streets”.

The videos show Paul Sillett speaking to the rally after the EDL’s attempted attack had been repulsed, and local Muslims and others marching back from the city centre protest.

Pictures by RoseyRepeat. Videos by cutevamps and mcarif

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