Anti-fascists faced down fascist English Defence League (EDL) thugs in Rotherham last Saturday.
Rotherham Unite Against Fascism’s demonstration drew 70 people from South Yorkshire which matched the EDL who had to rely on support from around the country.
EDL demonstrators angrily shouted abuse at two Asian men who passed by their protest, which was surrounded by police outside the pub where the EDL had been drinking. At least seven from the EDL demonstration were later arrested.
Speakers at the UAF rally included representatives from the Support the Rotherham 12 defence campaign, local Labour councillors, Unison, NUT, NUJ, Barnsley and Chesterfield trades councils. A number of union banners were displayed in support.
It was the 15th Nazi incursion in two years in an attempt to whip up racism since the child sex abuse scandal hit the town. A huge increase in racist attacks followed and led to the murder of 81-year-old Mushin Ahmed, who was attacked on his way to the mosque. His killer was shown at his trial to have racist beliefs. He believed all Pakistanis are rapists and had already attempted to attack an Asian taxi driver earlier the same day he killed Mr Ahmed. He repeatedly and falsely called Mr Ahmed a “groomer” before he was beaten to death.
Phil Turner of Rotherham UAF said: “We saw the Nazis off yet again. The link to racist violence and fascists coming into Rotherham is clear. We believe there is a real danger to the safety of the local Asian population. We call on everybody to back the Support the Rotherham 12 defence campaign. We say members of the Muslim community have every right to defend themselves.
“We say, ‘No more racist murders, justice for child sex exploitation victims, enough is enough, Nazis out of Rotherham’.”