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Anti-racists and trade union members see off facist protesters

TRADE unionists and anti-racists outnumbered far-right protesters in counter-rallies in Manchester city centre and Middlesbrough over the weekend.

On Saturday, around 20 fascists wearing high-vis yellow vests — copying the ongoing and unrelated “gilets jaunes” fuel tax demos in France — were faced by more than 100 anti-racists in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester.

Paul Jenkins, North West regional organiser of Unite Against Fascism, said: “People of Manchester stopped the fascists from holding their hate rally in the city centre.”

The protest was backed by regional officers of Britain’s biggest unions, Unite, Unison, GMB, Civil Service union PCS, National Education Union and others, including the Fire Brigades Union.

The anti-racists will mobilise again on Saturday February 23 when English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson — real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon — and his supporters plan to march on BBC studios in Salford.

They will be descending on the BBC Media Village in Greater Manchester to protest against a Panorama TV investigation that exposes Mr Yaxley-Lennon’s racism and criminal past, including his membership of the British National Party.

The mobilisation against them is to be a national event.

Weyman Bennett, joint national secretary of Unite Against Fascism, said: “Robinson regularly consorts with far-right individuals, like Steve Bannon from the United States, who seek to divide Muslims, Jews, black and white, and often support violence to further their aims.”

On the BBC Panorama investigation, he said: “Journalism that lifts the lid on Robinson, his funding and his violent racism is welcome.”

Anti-racists will meet at 11am on February 23 at the BBC studios in Salford Quays.

Yellow-vest fascists were also outnumbered when they attempted to stage a rally in Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Hannah Ruddick, chairwoman of Teesside Stand up to Racism, said: “It was amazing. There was only eight of them but we were joined by some animal rights people who were staging a protest, then members of the public started joining us. There were around 40 of us.

“People were asking us how they could get more involved.”

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