Supporters of Tommy Robinson on the march (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Nazi Tommy Robinson tried to relaunch himself—yet again—in central London on Saturday with one of the biggest far right marches in recent years.

A motley crew of up to 5,000 far right and racist thugs gathered in Victoria and marched to Parliament Square. The lead banner read, “This is London—not Londonistan.”

It’s a warning that politicians pushing state racism against refugees and Muslims could allow the fascists and far right to regroup and grow in Britain.

Emerging from the Beer House pub in Victoria, the crowds started shouting, “Oh Tommy Robinson.” St George’s flags and Union Jacks dominated the crowd with Scottish, Israeli and Welsh flags dotted in-between. 

Some sported Make America Great Again hats. Others brandished Donald Trump election flags chanting, “Make Britain great again.” It was accompanied by, “I’m England till I die, I’m England till I die, I know I am I’m sure I am I’m England till I die.”

As the march got moving, crowds chanted, “Oh Britanna, Britannia rules the waves” and Islamophobic slogans.

One marcher told a passer by, “It’s to do with the crowds of people invading our country.”

The march ended at Westminster Gardens.

Robinson introduced speeches asking, “Is this not what this city should look like?”

Laurence Fox, formerly of the Reclaim Party, followed Robinson. He wanted “freedom to speak our minds”—in other words, the freedom for right wingers to spew bigotry.

He began by lamenting the start of Pride Month, which began on Saturday, and how it supported the “indoctrination” of children. “We are not second class citizens in our own country,” he said.

Crowds proceeded to chant, “We want our country back.”

Up to 300 anti-fascists were on Whitehall to stand against Robinson’s supporters. The counter-protest was organised by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR).

They chanted, “Refugees are welcome here,” “Nazis are not welcome here” and, “Whose streets? Our streets.”

Protester Celine told Socialist Worker, “It’s important to have a presence against fascism. 

“There’s lots of different protests happening today. But we came here because its scary that this is happening in our city.

“The fascists have so much visceral hate. If we weren’t here, it would just be the police protecting and facilitating their march.”

Hannah added, “We can’t let them march unopposed. And especially after the last few years when our protests rights have been under threat.

“This feels really urgent. I was part of the anti-fascist protests in south London last year defending the Honor Oak pub’s Drag Queen Story Time.

“That was really encouraging and we drove them away. But it’s important we still turn up today.”

Sol, who came to her first anti-fascist protest, said, “It’s important we turn up to fight against all struggles.

“The far right is rising in Europe. I’m French, and we’ve seen how the fascists keep coming back.

“We saw how Marine Le Pen went from being a monster to respectable. We can’t be complacent.”

Speakers from the NEU, RMT, Unison, CWU and PCS unions addressed the crowd, as well as activists from the Jewish Socialist Group, Muslim Association of Britain and Love Music Hate Racism and LGBT+ groups. The FBU union also supported the counter-protest.

Julie Sherry from SUTR said, “We know from history we can’t allow fascists to spread their hate. It’s so dangerous to have them in the streets but it’s testament to the hate spewing from out during the last 14 years of the Tories.

“Racism has been at the centre of each Tory government. Anti-racists have stood outside hotels defending refugees while the far right tries to intimidate them because they feel supported by the government.

“Fascists stand to make gains across Europe based on these politics too. The danger is allowing those people to march unopposed. If we have to do this again, we will.”

The march by Robinson’s supporters shows the dangers of state racism fueling the far right.

But it was still smaller than demonstrations over Palestine—and not just the national ones in London. These have been led overwhelmingly by young Muslim people and many others who want to hit back against Islamophobia as well as in support of Palestine.

It shows the need to keep mobilising against the Tories’ state racism and to fight a Starmer government’s anti-migrant agenda from day one.

Robinson will be buoyed by the turnout, but it doesn’t represent the sort of breakthrough he achieved in 2017-2019.

We have to keep it that way and build the anti-racist movement.

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