Tens of thousands protest in London, Cardiff and Glasgow
by Felicity Collier in central London
THIRTY thousand activists marched on the streets of London against racial and religious discrimination on Saturday as part of the Stand Up To Racism campaign.
Protesters also gathered in Cardiff and Glasgow, and marches also took place across Europe and in South Korea to mark the UN’s International Anti-Racism Day.
Mohammed Kozbar of the Muslim Association of Great Britain told the rally that the movement should be encouraged by the recent electoral defeat of the far right in the Netherlands and urged for a strategy against racist forces in the forthcoming French elections.
He also questioned the recent European Court of Justice ruling that allows employers to ban the hijab: “Is this justice? Is this equality? Is this freedom?”
Last week, the Brexit Bill to trigger Article 50 was granted royal assent, but more than three million EU workers in Britain are still left uncertain of their residency rights.
Marvina Newton from the action group One Day Without Us, formed to counter anti-migrant rhetoric, said that the government should not use EU citizens such as her as bargaining chips in upcoming Brexit negotiations.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded “an end to the racism of economic justice” and urged for recognition of the positive role of migrants in our communities.
Labour MP for Hornsey & Wood Green Catherine West said that the red carpet should not be rolled out for US President Donald Trump when he makes a state visit later this year.
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg recommended that if Mr Trump wants to fill the notorious prison with “bad dudes,” he should start with himself.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign chairman Hugh Lanning, who was denied entry to Israel and Palestine last weekend for supporting boycotts against Israel, said: “From Palestine to Calais, racist walls must go.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady stated the importance of tackling root causes of racism and prejudice, the need for “solutions not scapegoats” and an end to divide-and-rule.
The march, now in its fourth year, was enlivened by Love Music Hate Racism’s float, which featured MCs such as Zara Sykes and Saskilla, who chanted: “Neo-nazis — get shut down!”
A handful of far-right counter-protesters were embarrassed after failing to take their normal spot on the steps of the Eros statue at Piccadily Circus as anti-fascists got there first and swiftly routed them.