Friday, March 27, 2015

Standing up to racism

by New Worker correspondent

MORE THAN 10,000 anti-racists and anti-fascists from a very broad range of trade unions, community groups and political groups came together in London on Saturday 21st March to take part in the Stand up to Racism demonstration, which marched from Portland Place to a rally in Trafalgar Square.
Stand up to Racism (SUR), an umbrella group of 12 organisations including Unite Against Fascism, the Muslim Council of Britain, and Stop the War, organised the event it London as part of a worldwide United Nations Day of Action Against Racism.

The main themes of the march were: “Stand up to Racism”, “No to Islamophobia”, “No to Anti-Semitism”, “Black lives Matter”, “Muslim Lives Matter” and “No Human Being is Illegal”.
Teaching unions were out in force along with branches of Unite, Unison, GMB, PCS, RMT and others. The ubiquitous RMT Paddington Number One banner was there. And many unions helped by providing volunteer stewards. But there was a sad absence of national leadership banners from the unions.
There were parallel marches in capitals across Europe and around the world. UN Anti-Racism Day commemorates the victims of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, when 69 peaceful protestors against apartheid were killed by South African police.
Diane Abbott MP, who spoke at the rally, said: "A wave of ugly immigrant-bashing racism is sweeping through Britain, led by UKIP, pandered to by the media and conceded to by many others.
“This demonstration is the start of the fight back. We have to gather everyone willing to stand up to racism."
Maz Saleem, daughter of the late Mohammed Saleem will also attend. She spoke out about her father's death: "My father Mohammed Saleem was brutally murdered on the 29th April 2013 by a right-wing terrorist purely because he was a Muslim, not because he was Asian but because of his faith.
"Islamophobia is rife and Islamophobic attacks continue to rise fuelled by sensationalised headlines run by media and also by the Government’s stance on treating all Muslims as terrorists."
The march encountered a small counter protest staged by the neo-Nazi Britain First group, huddled in Piccadilly Circus and protected by a large phalanx of police. They had previously peppered the area with stickers saying “anti-racism is code for anti-white”.
The marchers’ response was an overwhelming chant of the slogan: “There are many, many more of us than you. We are black, white Asian and we’re Jew. There are many, many more – many, many more – there are many, many more of us than you – and we’re gay!”

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