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Anti-fascists stand strong in Dewsbury as far-right 'Yorkshire Patriots' try to spread fear

HUNDREDS of police were mobilised in West Yorkshire yesterday as anti-fascists outnumbered fascist thugs the Yorkshire Patriots, who staged a march in support of “Tommy Robinson.”

The march was seen as an act of provocation in the former textile town of Dewsbury, which has a significant population of Asian origin.

The town is adjacent to the community of Batley, where Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right thug in June 2016.

Around 35 fascists supporting Mr Robinson – real name Stephen Yaxley Lennon – were outnumbered two-to-one by anti-fascist demonstrators.

The counter-protest was organised by  Stand Up to Racism (SUTR), and was supported by trade union branches and leaders of local mosques.

Seven people – all from the fascist contingent – were arrested.

Roger Keeley of Stand Up to Racism said: “Locals and anti-fascists from Leeds, Wakefield and Huddersfield outnumbered the fascists by more than two-to-one. 

“The fascists were not more than 35 while the combined anti-fascists numbered over 100.

“The counter-rally was called by Kirklees Stand Up to Racism organising jointly with supporters from Dewsbury and Batley mosques. It was brilliantly diverse and inclusive.”

A small group of masked counter-protesters was “kettled” by police.

Mr Keeley said: “Vigorous protests and refusals to move from the main rally persuaded the police to back off and all the protesters joined in a united march past the Town Hall to ‘reclaim the ground’ recently occupied by fascists.”

Messages of support for the anti-fascist counter-rally were received from Dewsbury Labour MP Paula Sherriff, who has received death threats from the far-right, and Thelma Walker, Labour MP for nearby Colne Valley, who is co-president of Kirklees Stand Up To Racism.

Ms Walker said: “If we do not stand up to hate speech, do not stand up to racism, do not stand up to bigotry, we will be seen to stand by as fascism is allowed to grow stronger here and across the country and indeed across the world.”

Police escorted the fascists from the town. Counter-demonstrators took over the area they had occupied to chants of “from the Pennines to the sea, Yorkshire will be fascist free!”

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