Saturday 9 July 2011

Magnificent 2,000 march against EDL in Cambridge

The streets of Cambridge were taken over by jubilant antiracists today as the city showed its opposition to the racists and fascists of the English Defence League.

Around 2,000 people from a wide variety of backgrounds came together to march through the city, outnumbering the 200 EDL “protestors” by ten to one.

United

They brought trade union flags, banners and placards and set off chanting: “Cambridge united will never be defeated” and “We are black, white, Asian and we’re Jews… and there’s many, many more of us than you!”

The protest against the EDL, organised by Cambridge UAF, had already won widespread support, with an impressive list of politicians, union reps and community leaders signing a statement to oppose the EDL and back the demo.

That was reflected in the wonderful turnout on the day and in the banners, flags and speakers from the NUT, Unite, CWU, PCS and Unison unions and the trades council.

The demonstration also reflected a great spirit of unity and solidarity with the city’s Muslim population, who are the main targets of the EDL.

Emotional

Richard Howitt, the MEP for the East of England who spoke at the Cambridge event, described an “emotional welcome” as the march arrived in Mill Road, where the local mosque is.

Shopkeepers came out onto the streets to cheer the marchers in and give out water and samosas, while people from the mosque handed out sweets to the demonstrators – and later gave them a meal!

Ali, a young Muslim marcher, said:

I joined this demo to support a united Cambridge. We’re all peaceful here – we don’t need racism, we want to spread love.

Councillor Mike Todd-Jones said:

It was a fantastic sense of unity and commeunity, and shows what a diverse city we are – everybody needs to be here to show the strength of our diversity.

Richard Hewitt MEP said:

The turnout was incredible. People turned out to show the community is antifascist and is united in its revulsion of the EDL.

Sara Bennett, a national executive member of the Unite union said:

Racists try to scapegoat minorities in times of economic crisis. We have to unite and stand together in solidarity against the racists.

Many demonstrators signed up to travel from Cambridge to the national demo against the EDL in Tower Hamlets, east London on 3 September.

Pics by Dave Barnes

We will have more pictures of the Cambridge demo later – watch this space!


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