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Forty years ago, on 18 January, a fire started deliberately by suspected racists swept through a house where a 16th birthday party was being celebrated by young black people in New Cross Gate, south east London. 13 died and many were injured. But instead of pursuing the assailants, the police and establishment media blamed the fire on some teenagers attending the party. This was despite a series of earlier racist petrol bomb attacks in the area.
The outrage among the black community led to a large weekday protest demonstration on 2 March 1981 from New Cross to central London in which Militant (forerunner of the Socialist) supporters participated, and which shook the Thatcher Tory government.
An article on this historic march will appear in a future issue of the Socialist.
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Article dated 20 January 2021
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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LGBT+ history month
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