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Anti-fascist :: EDL
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Socialist Party members took part in a counter-demo against far-right, racist groups, including the English Defence League (EDL), that were opposing the building of a new mosque in Millfield, Sunderland.
Our counter demonstration was about 200 strong, and was a mixed group containing left-wing activists and Asian and white members of the local community, under the banner of Sunderland Anti-Fascist Coalition (SAFC).
At the end of the march we were standing near the intended site. On the other side of the road, the far-right demo started to assemble.
Clearly the racists are intent on spreading hatred, and dividing working class communities. An already tense atmosphere soured even further as the right-wing groups began throwing firecrackers and bottles.
One of the firecrackers exploded right by my feet, with smoke and sparks hitting me in the face. One of the bottles hit the roof of a house and glass showered down on us.
Demonstrators on our side were determined to stand their ground, though at one stage the demo became somewhat fragmented, with some moving back and others forward, which highlights the need for well-organised stewarding on future demonstrations.
Our counter-demo stayed until the right-wing demo had completely disbanded, then we marched back to the starting point where our demo could safely disperse.
SAFC did a good job of getting trade union backing for the printing of leaflets and posters. However, trade unions should also be urged to mobilise their members against far-right demonstrations.
The EDL were stopped by counter-demonstrators from holding a rally in Waltham Forest on 1 September. Now the EDL leaders are threatening to 'unite the right' and march again on 27 October. This must be stopped.
See www.socialistparty.org.uk/keyword/anti-fascist for reports and strategy
Far right (159)
Article dated 10 October 2012
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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