Saturday was a brilliant day for the people of Newcastle. More than 1000 antifascists joined the UAf march to confront the EDL at the Bigg market. It was a very positive demonstration and representative of the population of the City. Despite the advice of the police that they should stay away, every ethnic and religious group was there, young and old, men and women all united in their opposition to racism and fascism. Trade union members were well represented and a number of councillors had turned out to join the march. Although there was welcome support from outside the region, the vast majority were from Newcastle.
At the start and towards the finish, there were speeches from councillors, trade unionists and other antifascist groups which stressed the main theme of the march, which was opposition to the EDL as a racist and fascist group which scapegoats the minority Muslim section of the population. Some of the trade union speakers also highlighted the EDL attacks on Unite the Union in terms which hark back to the nazis of the 1930’s.
After the speeches at the start, everyone was impatient to get moving, even though it was impossible to be sure of how things would turn out. The march was lively with loud and enthusiastic chanting against the EDL and confirming our unity and solidarity. We got almost to Grainger Street before we were confronted by the police who were there in large numbers to prevent us getting any closer to the EDL. We could see a few of their banners down in the Bigg Market. The Northern Echo reported that there was about 600 of them. We continued with further speeches and loud chants directed at the EDL until it was confirmed that they had gone away. We then marched, united as ever back to Barrack Road where we dispersed.
The UAF event was highly successful and recognition must go to the UAF Steering Committee, to the Stewards who did a grand job on the day and to Weyman Bennet, Joint Secretary of UAF, whose experience and leadership were indispensible on the day. But everyone who was there on the day made it a great day for Newcastle.
From a Unite the Union activist.
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