Anti-racists and LGBT+ activists confronted the far right bigots in Lewisham (Picture: Guy Smallman)

In a magnificent show of fighting unity, around 700 anti-racists and LGBT+ people totally outnumbered 30 far right bigots in south east London on Saturday. The far right Turning Point group had tried to stop a Drag Queen Storytelling at The Honor Oak pub in Lewisham.

Starting the counter-protesters’ rally, Harold Wilson from Stand Up To Racism said, “The turnout today shows our diversity, our determination not to go back to the days when racists felt confident. Before its make-over, this pub was known as the racists’ pub. We’re not going back to that.

“I grew up in Deptford, and it was hard for a black person. But then came the battle of Lewisham in 1977 when the people of this area and others stood up and stood out and smashed the Nazi National Front. That’s how we change things. We inherit those past struggles and we build on them today.”

Meanwhile, in Colchester at another Drag Queen Story Hour, around 100 counter-protesters confronted eight far right transphobes.

In Long Eaton near Nottingham, over 200 determined protesters chanted, “Refugees are welcome here” as around 60 racists tried to confront refugees in a hotel. “Elements of the organised far right were definitely present, including one sporting an Enoch Powell  T-shirt, “ reports Bernadette Grosse.

“We kept possession of the hotel side of the road with a big confident group including socialists, trades unionists and local community groups such as churches.

“Most important, though, were asylum seekers, bravely standing up for their rights. They thanked those who were there and received claps and shouts of solidarity.

“Trade unionists emphasised who the real enemies are—the Tory government and their profit-making friends. The protest ended with a pledge for immediate and consistent action against any other right-wing protests. When they turn up, we will too.”

In Newquay, Cornwall, there was a strong and loud presence at the anti-fascist “Refugees are Welcome Here” demo, reports Tony. “At its height, some 250 racists assembled across the road to challenge a seafront hotel housing asylum seekers. More than 300 people from Cornwall Peoples Assembly, Stand Up To Racism, and local trades unions turned up first, defended the hotel and demoralised the racists and hard-core fascists. 

“We stopped them approaching the hotel, and slowly they slunk off. There was a good turnout from trade unions at short notice including Plymouth trades council, NEU, UCU, Unite, Bwafu and others.

“However, the numbers on the anti-refugee protest were worrying and the young school students shouting racist chants and ‘Paedos’ was sad. We held the line but need to build for much larger mobilisations.”

Demonstrate against racism and the far right.  Saturday 18 March in London, Cardiff and Glasgow. Go here for details. 

The racist Patriotic Alternative group was on the streets

A warning from Skegness

In a sign of the continuing danger from the far right, some 300 fascists and racists gathered and marched through Skegness, Lincolnshire, on Saturday against “migrants living in hotels”.

Two racist demonstrations were formed of mostly organised, older racists from across Britain. They attracted very few local people but their hateful message was not opposed by a counter-protest.

Hotels housing refugees were boarded up and some local people were scared about the march. A shop worker said, “It’s disgusting, this lot are here to cause trouble. All they want to do is drink beer and have a fight. They’re just like the National Front.”

Some people bravely chanted at the Nazis and others walked through the demonstration shouting, “racist”.

One of the protests organised by Veterans Before Illegals marched to a smaller demonstration organised by the fascist Patriotic Alternative (PA). They chanted, “We want our country back” and held placards reading, “Stop the boats”. They are boosted by the Tories’ vile anti-refugee message.

Fascist PA leader and former British National Party youth leader, Mark Collett told the dwindling crowd they were there to defend an ancestral homeland and that refugees didn’t belong in Britain. 

Other speakers attacked Marxism and parrotted the racist and antisemitic “great replacement” lie that says white people are being overwhelmed.

If the racists come to Skegness again they are likely to face a counter-protest. The chair of Lincoln and District Trades Council told Socialist Worker, “Today is a wake-up call.

“We plan to follow up with leafletting in Skegness and Lincoln to gather support across the district. We also plan to hold a Stand Up To Racism meeting with the aim of forming a Skegness group.”

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