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Anti-fascists to take to London to counter-protest far right march

Anti-fascists says Tommy Robinson's ‘Brexit Betrayal’ demo is simply another attempt to build a violent racist street movement

THOUSANDS of anti-racism activists will march in central London on Sunday in a counter-demonstration against fascist thugs.

As former English Defence League leader “Tommy Robinson” – real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – and Ukip attempt to “capitalise” on the Brexit crisis through a “Brexit Betrayal” march, a major counter-protest will be held in the hope of stopping them in their tracks.

The counter-demonstration is supported by a wide cross-section of anti-racist groups, trade unions, women’s, LGBT+, Muslim, Jewish and other faith and community groups.

Regardless of their views on leaving the European Union, they will unite to refuse the far-right “hijacking” the issue of Brexit for their own racist agendas.

Stand Up to Racism (SUtR) co-convenor Sabby Dhalu said: “With the government in crisis and the far-right on the march across the world, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon is trying to take the opportunity of further growing a racist street movement in Britain.

“This threat will not simply go away if we ignore it. It is vital the majority of society is clear in its opposition to any attempts to use Brexit to scapegoat and demonise communities.”

Although Mr Yaxley-Lennon claims it is a “Brexit Betrayal” march against the government’s current arrangements for leaving the EU, anti-racists have called it out for being simply another attempt to build a violent racist street movement.

SUtR co-convenor Weyman Bennett said: “Whether you voted remain or leave we can not let racists use this issue to spread hatred and division.

“The rise of the far right and fascism across the world is warning to all of us that fascism seeks to destroy all forms of democracy.”

Previous pro-Yaxley-Lennon protests across the country saw nazi salutes and attacks on trade unionists, police officers and religious buildings.

Labour MEP Julie Ward, who will be attending the demo, said: “The racist narrative peddled by Stephen Yaxley-Lennon and Ukip leader Gerard Batten is abhorrent to the majority of decent British folk.

“Whilst we seek to build bridges between diverse communities, these men and their followers promote a white Anglo-Saxon monoculture of extreme nationalism.”

Ms Ward added that “ordinary decent people” need to stand up against racism when and where it “raises it’s ugly head.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash, TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes, Napo general secretary Ian Lawrence and BFAWU president Ian Hodson have all said their unions are supporting the counter-protest.
 
Mr Hodson said: “Yaxley-Lennon is the enabler of the status quo – he represents the wealth and power, that needs to create hate and division in our communities so they maintain the luxurious lifestyles built on our hardship.

“It’s opposing the racist ideology that Yaxley-Lennon represents that will lead the way out of the poverty too many have been plunged into by the greedy few.”

Stop the War Coalition’s Lindsey German said the wave of Islamophobia sweeping Europe is leading to attacks on Muslims, racial violence and hatred.

She said: “If we want to defeat it where better to start than by stopping Robinson and his fascist friends.”

The counter-demonstration will assemble and start from outside the BBC’s HQ in Portland Place at 11am.

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