by New Worker correspondent
MORE than 100 anti-fascists and trade unionists assembled last Saturday morning outside Lunar House in the centre of Croydon to prevent a demonstration planned by the British National Party against immigration.
Lunar House is the headquarters of the UK Border Agency that deals with immigration into Britain. All immigrants and asylum seekers have to register there to engage with the Byzantine bureaucracy that is designed to keep out all immigrants and asylum seekers unless they can afford the services of specialist lawyers.
The south London BNP had planned a demonstration against immigration, which was aimed not only to give vent to their doctrine of hate but also to intimidate the immigrants who have to sign in there and the civil servants who work there.
So local anti-racists took up a position outside Lunar House before the fascists were due to arrive and soon a large and lively crowd had gathered.
The counter protest was organised by Unite Against Fascism supported by local trade unions and trades councils.
The PCS civil service union was there in force, along with members of Unite, the National Union of Teachers and the RMT transport union.
After about an hour the BNP turned up, all 26 of them, heavily escorted by police to an area well to the side of the main entrance to Lunar House, where they conducted a rally that was in effect an unending tirade of abuse at the anti-racists.
The majority of supporters resembled an outing for the elderly and confused.
Ironically the British National Party was led by a Uruguayan, Carlos Cortiglia, who claimed there were too many immigrants in Britain. Around a third of the BNP supporters seemed to be from eastern Europe and one of them brandished a red flag with an inscription in Polish and bearing the fasces symbol – the bundle of sticks with an axe head at the top – which was the first symbol of fascism. At the same time Cortiglia tried to claim his followers were not fascists.