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VIOLENCE erupted in Sunderland yesterday when fascist thugs on a far-right march broke through police lines and attacked counter-demonstrators, leading to three arrests.
In scenes of chaos, police drove vans to prevent more fascists forcing their way through. The three arrested were fascists. A number of anti-fascists suffered minor injuries.
— Emma Goldsmith (@emmagoldsmith01) September 16, 2018
An estimated 550 far-right demonstrators — most of them bussed in — staged the march and rally in Sunderland led by a racist front organisation, Justice for Women and Children, which local anti-racists say is attempting to whip up hatred against Sunderland’s tiny Muslim population.
But the march also involved the Democratic Football Lads’ Alliance and other far-right groups including Save the North East from Labour, which tried to disrupt July’s Durham Miners’ Gala. Billed speakers included Ukip leader Gerard Batten.
The counter-protest of about 250 mainly local people involved Stand Up to Racism Sunderland (SUTR), Show Racism the Red Card, Sunderland Unite and unions NEU, Unite, PCS, FBU and RMT.
Great demonstration today in Sunderland against the disgusting DFLA. A far right group not even trying to disguise what they stand for today. Racism, hatred and violence. Worrying to see them out in such large numbers today but we will not be defeated. No place for them here! pic.twitter.com/68DnHBl6ms
— Kim Lowes (@Thesaints1973) September 15, 2018
SUTR’s Yunus Bakhsh, chief steward of the counterprotest, told the Morning Star: “For a national demonstration it was a poor turnout for the fascists. The organisers had told the police to expect 3,000.
“They said it would be a peaceful march led off by women and children, but there were hardly any women or children.
“It was mainly football thugs and neonazis, some with nazi emblems tattooed on their necks.”
He said the route of the march passed within yards of counter-protesters.
“When they did, it all kicked off,” he said. “They broke through the police lines. They were pissed. They were throwing anything they could get their hands on: cans, bottles, even cigarette lighters. An old man was hit on the head. They were vicious.
“Police had to drive a line of vans up to form a barrier.”
The Rev Chris Howson from Sunderland Minster took part in the counter-protest. He said: “There’s no room for these people in our city. I think it’s very pleasing to see the number of local people turning up to say our city is a welcoming city.”
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