Hundreds of anti-fascists confront bigots in south London

Over 300 anti-fascists saw off a handful of far right bigots in south east London on Friday morning.

Turning Point UK called a protest outside The Great Exhibition pub in east Dulwich against a Drag Queen Storytime reading for children it thought was happening on Friday. It had actually happened in July 2022.

The anti-fascists outnumbered the far right by 300 to around 20. The successful counter-protest follows similar mobilisations outside the Honour Oak pub round the corner in Lewisham. Around 700 anti-fascists people outnumbered 30 Turning Point bigots there last month.

Chris Kelly from South London Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) said the counter-demonstration organised by SUTR, local trade unions and residents went “really well”. “Lots of people from the surrounding streets attended, and people beep their horn in support as they passed by,” he told Socialist Worker.

“Groups of students and trade union groups stood in solidarity too. And people joined us after they’d had rubbish about the event through their letterbox by Turning Point the day before.”

The anti-fascists stood against Turning Point for around 90 minutes until the bigots eventually scuttled off. “They were drowned out by the mass of people filling the road, and they couldn’t spill their bigotry and hate,” Chris explained. “It was extremely successful and replicated the event we had at the Honour Oak pub.

“To get 300 people on a Friday morning in a suburban street to protest like that is a great achievement. And lots of people were engaged in the mobilisation for the event—even some who were new to political activism got involved in the publicity.”

Activists from the local strike solidarity groups in Southward and Lambeth also joined. “The previous mobilisations definitely gave us confidence and experience today,” Chris added.

Anti-fascists managed to block the entrance to the pub. They chanted, “Fascists off our streets,” “Drag queens are welcome—bigots are not,” and, “They didn’t even make it to the pub.” Chants mocked the small group of far right protesters—including GB News presenter Laurence Fox.

Anti-racists in south London are hosting SUTR’s tour with Barbadian reparations activist David Denny next Tuesday, and are also building for next Saturday’s demonstrations to mark UN anti-racism day.

Turning Point reportedly wants to hit the Honour Oak pub again on 25 March—but Chris says activists in south London will be ready for them. “Today out strategy worked—now we can continue to build our movement,” he said.

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