Monday 12 June 2017

Manchester opposes ex EDL leader, Robinson’s racist march

Mancunian anti-racists came out to oppose a national demonstration led by ex-EDL leader ‘Tommy Robinson’ and other racists in Manchester on Sunday.
The demonstration was first called  by an ex English Defence League member under the
banner of ‘Gays Against Sharia’ but was then re named ‘UK Against
Hate’. This happened when Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon),  saw an opportunity to move in and attempt to make a  comeback in the wake of the recent terror attacks.  This is Robinson’s latest attempt to whip up Islamophobia under the banner,  ‘unite against hate’.  However, central to Robinson’s demo were long-standing, hard-core fascists from groups such as the National Front, North West Infidels,  BNP and EDL, and speakers included notorious Islamophobes like Ann-Marie Waters. The latter claims she will stand for the currently, vacant leadership of UKIP.
Local anti-racists including Unite Against Fascism; Stand Up to Racism; Councillors; trades unionists; LGBTQ+ organisations and others, numbered over 500 as opposed to Robinson’s national mobilisation of around 1,000. The anti-racist protest was supported by Councillors from Manchester and Bury; Trades Unionists from Unite and the NUT; and others.
                                                  Far right hate
What Robinson claimed would be a dignified, ‘silent march’ was full of fascists  chanting Islamophobic abuse, throwing missiles at anti-racists, holding  up a pig’s head, and attempting to break out towards the anti-racists.  The Police failed to deal with this behaviour. Instead, LGBT activists who wished to join the anti fascists, were kettled, near Manchester’s LGBT village. The police used this tactic on other anti racists, for a period of time. Victims and their friends and relatives of the recent attacks, supposedly the object of Robinson’s concern, were far from the minds of the racists.
Since Robinson’s exit from the EDL, the far right has splintered into a number of fractious, small and violent sects. Lennon’s attempts at forming a UK branch of the German anti-Muslim group Pegida, failed after anti fascists outnumbered and opposed his few, Birmingham demonstrations. This was the biggest mobilisation by the far right in recent years, probably since the EDL mobilised around the murder of Lee Rigby, in 2013.
Despite Robinson’s propaganda,  the demonstration looked and felt like an EDL drink fuelled hate event, from the past. A number of members of football hooligan firms attended, eg from Leeds, Blackburn Rovers, Man City and other smaller, Northern based clubs.
Probably enthused by the prospect of the right wing, Democratic Unionist Party coming into government with the Tories, several
Loyalist thugs from the North West were also in attendance.
  Former deputy leader of the EDL, Kevin Carroll, (Robinson’s cousin) was on the streets for the first time since quitting the EDL
and played an organising role on the day.
Fascist thugs try to rip down barriers
Nahella Ashraf from Manchester Stand Up to Racism said:  ‘We are proud that Manchester people are not willing to allow these people to come to Manchester to spread their racism, hatred and division without being challenged.’
    Paul Jenkins of Unite Against Fascism said: ‘While Yaxley-Lennon bussed in hardcore fascists from across the country, the anti-racist protest was supported by local trades unionists, Councillors and others from Manchester.  Local people are appalled by the fact that fascists from outside of Manchester, have tried to exploit the horrific terror attacks in an attempt to whip up racism.  Anti-racists are the majority.  UAF continues to work with trades unionists and others to build a mass movement against racism and fascism”.
Robinson claims he will be demonstrating again in London, soon. UAF is monitoring the situation. Coming the week after the EDL’s defeat in Liverpool, anti fascists are motivated to see that Robinson’s newest, cynical venture in Manchester, goes the same way as the EDL.

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