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Rallies make it clear: Racism is not welcome here

Marches in London, Glasgow and Cardiff are part of Europe-wide initiative against hate

THOUSANDS of people will march in London, Cardiff and Glasgow today in opposition to rising racism and xenophobia.

Stand Up to Racism has organised the rallies ahead of the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Wednesday.

Marches will also be taking place across Europe over the weekend, organised by anti-racist campaigners in the face of a resurgent far right.

Earlier this month, anti-racist research group Hope Not Hate warned of a “surging threat from far-right terrorism and violent extremism” despite the collapse of older far-right groups in Britain.

It said that online radicalisation, starkly illustrated by the case of Finsbury Park terrorist Darren Osborne, was on the rise as the mob of younger, “tech-savvy” fascists grew in size and influence online.

In London, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott will present an anti-racist alternative to the Tories’ inhuman treatment of migrants and refugees, while Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad will demand justice for Grenfell survivors.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard will be among the speakers in Glasgow and Labour MP Stephen Doughty will address demonstrators in Cardiff.

But South Wales Police were called in yesterday after racist graffiti and posters appeared near to the assembly point for the Cardiff march overnight.

Swastikas and the words “nazi zone” were sprayed on walls near Grange Gardens while a poster with a swastika which read: “The symbol of our struggle” was put on a nearby pan-African restaurant.

Stand Up to Racism said it was “shocked and appalled” by the graffiti, but added that “sadly we are not surprised.”

“Our march will go ahead in spite of this act of intimidation — racists will not divide us. We are the majority and we will stand up to racism.”

Police said the graffiti was being removed and there would be a “full investigation with every intention of the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators.”

Stand Up to Racism also hailed a parliamentary victory yesterday as the Refugee Family Reunion Bill passed its second reading after 129 MPs supported it, despite Tory attempts to talk the Bill out.

The legislation would give child refugees in Britain the right to sponsor their close family members’ safe passage, expand who qualifies as a family to allow young people who have turned 18 to live in Britain and reintroduce legal aid for family reunion cases.

Ms Abbott said: “Labour is committed to keeping families together and upholding respect for the humanity of refugees and to their right to a family life.”

Amnesty International said the Bill’s passing “takes us one giant step closer to reuniting refugee families.”

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