Activists in Stoke move to counter EDL and BNP activity
Activists in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire are attempting to block a two pronged assault from fascist organisations.
The English Defence League (EDL) say they will descend on the city this weekend, while the British National Party (BNP) plans to stand in three local seats in the coming general election.
A protest in the city will oppose the EDL’s attempt to terrorise the Muslim community.
Jason Hill, president of North Staffordshire TUC, told Socialist Worker that the trade union movement is mobilising to join with students and others.
He said, “We are expecting a good turnout – the NASUWT, Unison, the NUT and other unions are asking their members to attend.
“There are coaches coming from across the north west of England and the East Midlands.”
Students from Staffordshire University are mobilising a feeder march.
“The BNP and the EDL are trying to create a racial divide in Stoke, so we have to show up in large numbers,” Assed Baig, president of Staffordshire University student union, told Socialist Worker.
“The only way to beat racism and fascism is by standing together, shoulder to shoulder, on the streets.”
Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and North Staffordshire Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (Norscarf), supported by Stoke TUC, called the demonstration after they heard about the EDL’s plans to come to their city.
Weyman Bennett of UAF told Socialist Worker, “The EDL and the BNP want to divide Stoke and bring violence to the streets. Wherever the EDL goes racist violence follows. We want everyone to turn out to stop them.”
“The EDL are a toxic mix of football hooligans and extreme right wing activists” said Harry Ward, secretary of Norscarf.
Julia Barton, who organises workshops for schools on tolerance and equality, says that people are terrified of the EDL coming to Stoke.
She told Socialist Worker, “We have so many people who are disadvantaged, so many young people who are angry. This could be the thing that strikes a tinderbox.”
From Socialist Worker