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Northern anti-racists to counter-protest Tommy Robinson's Manchester march

Robinson and his goons plan to protest outside the BBC's Media City against a Panorama programme exposing his criminal past

TRADE unionists and anti-racists across northern England will mobilise on Saturday to oppose a march in Salford by fascist Tommy Robinson and his supporters.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, plans to march on the BBC’s studios at Media City in Greater Manchester to protest against a yet to be broadcast Panorama TV programme exposing his fascist, racist and criminal background. 

North-west regional trade union leaders have called for support for the anti-fascist mobilisation, which is being organised by Stand Up to Racism and Unite Against Fascism.

Nahella Ashraf, of Stand Up To Racism, told the Morning Star: “When Yaxley-Lennon last held a demonstration in Manchester in June, 2017, it was attended by former members of the National Front, Combat 18 and other fascist groups.

“They tried to attack anti-racist protesters, used anti-Muslim chants and threw a pig’s head. Wherever he goes racism and hatred follows.”

Labour MPs in the north-west supporting the protest against Robinson are Angela Rayner, Afzal Khan, Barbara Keeley, Cat Smith, Andrew Gwynne, Mike Amesbury, Kate Hollern and Kate Green.

Steve North, secretary of Salford branch of public service union Unison, said: “Protesting against the far right is not about attacking free speech. It is about recognising that wherever they go, their actions cause violence and division.

“Challenging the far right has always been a duty of trade unionists.” 

The counter-protest is also being supported by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and broadcasting union Bectu.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “The NUJ and Bectu say BBC staff should be free to do their jobs without intimidation, threats and violence carried out by far-right protesters who systematically target the media, especially photojournalists. We unreservedly condemn all threats against media workers.”

Dawn Taylor of the National Education Union said: “We are with the thousands of people who are prepared to march against racism in all its forms.”

The counter-protest is also being supported North West TUC, the Fire Brigades Union, general union GMB, Unite, and Civil Service union PCS.

The counter-protest assembles at 11am at the BBC’s Media City, Broadway, Salford.

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