Monday 4 June 2018

Updated – after attacks in Leeds on mosque and gurdwara – now protest far right march for Tommy Robinson in London

 

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Hundreds of anti fascists and anti racists in Manchester joined a Stand Up To Racism (SUTR)/ Unite Against Fascism (UAF) demonstration last Saturday.

It was held to protest at the so called Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) march in the city. The DFLA have broken away from the Football Lads Alliance, over alleged financial irregularities, in particular.

 

 

Around 400 anti racists rallied in St Peter’s Sq. They were mainly locals with delegations from London, Leeds, Brighton and Liverpool. About 1500 were on the racist, DFLA national march. The currently jailed, fascist thug, Tommy Robinson had his name continually chanted by the DFLA.

 

 

The DFLA didn’t hold a silent march in honour of the Manchester Arena bomb victims, as they claimed they would. Respect for the Arena victims was supposedly at the centre of the DFLA event.  Instead, it became a ‘free Robinson demo’.

 

 

Saturday’s protest followed a “Free Tommy Robinson” protest march on Friday from Leeds Crown court, when around 400 people marched, shouting support for Robinson, The slogan ‘Get the muslims out’ was chanted by sections of the crowd.

Such vile racism shows the reality of those who are getting behind Robinson. His supporters also evade the fact that Robinson pleaded guilty to contempt of court, in Leeds.

 

 

The atmosphere whipped up by the far right and Robinson supporters is toxic. A mosque and a Sikh temple in Leeds were attacked in the early hours of Tuesday morning in what police say are “hate crimes”, see here.The mosque in Beeston was attacked

Police said the main door at Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira Mosque in Beeston, Leeds, was set on fire at approximately 3.30am. Police answered calls to Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha Gurdwara, again in Beeston, at around 4.20am. This was after the door had been set ablaze.

 

Locals have said many are worried now, after what has happened. Britbalsingh Dhanjal, a volunteer at the gurdwara, told Leeds Live, “It is a big concern. I have got sadness with me. This is something which should never have happened.”

Rafaqat Ali from the mosque told local media that he was “upset and shocked”. Another mosque member added, “My kids go there and are scared now, because of this attack.”

 

Anti-racists in Leeds are discussing their response to the attacks. Leeds Stand Up To Racism said, “The person or persons who carried out this shameful attack represent a tiny fraction of our population and their racist and hate filled ideology and behaviour is not welcome here or anywhere.

 

“We believe unity in the face of such an attack is essential. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim and Sikh brothers and sisters. We represent the anti-racist majority.”

 

The alternative to such hate was shown in Manchester on Saturday when trades unionists and Mancunians gathered at St Peter’s square.

 

 

The DFLA were comprised of various football hooligan firms from Leeds, Bradford, Wigan, Leicester, West Brom, West Ham, Barnsley and elsewhere.

 

 

A number of open fascists were on the DFLA demo including the White Pendragons sect who did a mock gallows stunt targeting London mayor Sadiq Khan, at a meeting earlier this year. Ex Nazi terror group Combat 18 members were also there.

 

The DFLA (pictured below), are now claiming that SUTR is part funded by George Soros! Soros of course has become a hate figure for the far right. The Jewish philanthropist is accused internationally of being behind plots to take over the world…where have we heard this before?

Racists on the march in Manchester
It was encouraging that local shoppers in some cases told the DFLA they were not wanted in Manchester.

Numerous trades unionists and campaigners spoke at the anti racist rally. North West union representatives spoke, among them, from the lecturers union, UCU, the postal workers, CWU union, the teachers NEU union, UNISON and the rail workers union, the TSSA.

 

Dan Lewis, CWU union North West chair, said, “Tommy Robinson was a fascist and he still is a fascist”.

To his great credit, Dan Hett, brother of Martyn Hett who died in the Manchester attack, spoke at the anti racist event. He had spoken with SUTR/UAF and joined the march two weeks previously, when the FLA were in town.

 

He criticised the DFLA for ‘disrespect’ and ‘spreading hatred’ He said “We’re still dealing with this as a city and it is the greatest disrespect for them to come and spout hatred in the way that they are doing” he said “Ask them, ‘What are you actually doing about extremism, please be specific’…I have had not one decent response from these people”.

“They are doing nothing about extremism but spreading hatred and that is utterly unacceptable”

 

A minute’s silence was also held for Manchester Arena victims, which was facilitated by local councillors.

 

Below are just two of the union banners present, and a Liverpool trade unionist speaking.

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DFLA banners

Several banners on the DFLA march focused on child sexual exploitation (CSE) scandals in towns, such as Telford, where police and local authorities have failed victims. The DFLA, like others on the far right are cynically using the CSE scandals to push the racist lie that sexism and abuse are the preserve of Muslim men.

 

Harsh attacks on left wingers were also key to the DFLA march. Placards featured slogans like “racist Labour” and racist, Stand Up To Racism!? As the DFLA march neared the SUTR demonstration some tried to physically confront anti racists.

 

Though anti fascists were outnumbered the DFLA turnout was not the 4000 they predicted. There has been some questioning of DFLA leaders from supporters as to why this happened. However, the mood from Saturday from the DFLA was largely positive. Others in football firms though publicly voiced their frustration at the generally non violent nature of the day.

 

 

One notable feature of the DFLA march was the lack of UKIP banners and speakers.

 

This was remarked on by those present. Anne Marie Waters was also absent, campaigning instead in the by election in South East London. SUTR and UAF members are leafleting Lewisham East by election with anti racist materials. Vinnie Sullivan, a far right blogger was also missing. Sullivan was criticised by some DFLA  members for  hosting the FLA’s Manchester event in May.

OPPOSE FAR RIGHT MARCH FOR TOMMY ROBINSON

Supporters of fascist and English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson, have said they will march in London on Saturday 9 June. Robinson and his supporters have a history of racism and Islamophobia, and have many links to fascist organisations.
The notorious Islamophobe, Dutch MEP, Geert Wilders claims he will speak in defence of Robinson in London, on Satirday.
Wilders claims that “Islam and freedom are not compatible”. His Party for Freedom (PVV) leader campaigns on banning the Quran, closing Dutch mosques, and ending immigration from predominantly Muslim countries.

They want to use the fact that Robinson has been jailed as an excuse to spread racism.
Unite Against Fascism and Stand Up to Racism have called a counter protest on the day.Event page here, https://www.facebook.com/events/253178521918366/

 

Here is more on the back ground to the Robinson case, http://uaf.org.uk/2018/05/oppose-far-right-march-for-tommy-robinson-london-june-9th/

 

Wilders’ move points to the way the far right in Britain are organising. There are growing international links with far right figures across Europe and Breitbart and the Alt right in America. UKIP is increasingly throwing in its lot with the attempt to build a street army.

 

This strategy mirrors elsewhere in Europe, though as we saw in Berlin recently, there is inspiring resistance to the far right.

 

There are many internal tensions, as we have seen with the FLA/DFLA split. Anti racists have made a difference in undercutting some of the support the FLA/DFLA have.

 

What’s left of the EDL in Newcastle and York have also called ‘Free Robinson’ demo’s on June 9th, to which anti fascists are responding, see here, https://www.facebook.com/UAFnortheast/

The York counter demonstration is here, https://www.facebook.com/events/400371513798416/

 

This is the time to re energise and mobilise support against the far right in the UK. London on June 9th is a test. The far right are looking to get a sizable presence. All those who oppose the far right must unite and be in central London on June 9th.


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