With all the talk of the English Defence League and how they represent a popular movement, it is heartening to hear that they were put to flight in Harrow when they sought to demonstrate against a mosque. It's a pity that racist scum like Tony McNulty, former corrupt Immigration Minister, was allowed to speak. New Labour have been the prime cause of the rise of the BNP and associated fascists.
Below is a report that I was sent:
They Shall Not PassSeptember 11th will now be remembered as the day the people of Harrow prevented the fascists and Nazis, from marching. It is the day that Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Christians, men, women, gays, trade unionists, old and young, all stood together in the street and asserted that “they shall not pass”. Nor did they.
In defending the Mosque, we defended all the synagogues, temples and churches from the threat of racist attacks. In preventing the fascists and racists from being able to hold their provocative “static demonstration”, we the people of Harrow stood together in the best traditions of the anti-fascist movement and asserted that “they shall not pass”. Nor did they.
Speakers at the Rally included: Weyman Bennet and Lee Jasper from Unite Against Fascism, a speaker from Harrow Mosque, the Leaders of the Labour and the Conservative Groups on Harrow Council, Tony McNulty MP; the UNITE convenor from the local bus garage, the National Union of Teachers and the local Green Party
Messages of support were received from Ken Livingstone, Navin Shah, and the bishop of Willesden. All reiterated the message that Harrow is, and will remain, a united multi-cultural, multi-racial and multi – religious community. “We, the people, will not allow the racists to run amok in our town to threaten, insult and attack us”.
A motley crew of, at most, 20 racists and fascists attempted to march from the Harrow and Wealdstone station end, but hardly had they got in sight of the Mosque but before they were chased off by the youth, only to be taken into protective custody by the police and driven away in a prison van. So embarrassed were the “English Defence League” by the pathetic turnout that they claimed to have called off their “rally” beforehand.
Over 2000 anti-fascists held the streets and defended the Mosque. The promise of police protection was not needed nor did it appear. Instead the riot squad were out in their normal provocative manner, with shields and batons ready. From 1.30-8p.m., the streets were peaceful, with unity, chanting and speeches.
There was much discussion as to whether the streets should be occupied by the anti-fascists, or whether it should allow a free flow of traffic. Quite clearly the argument was understood by the vast majority that it was “our streets, and not for the fascists and racists to be allowed to march on.”
The Brent and Harrow Unite Against Fascism group was formed 6 weeks ago, when we first noticed the threat from the EDL. Since then, we tirelessly leafleted stations, held regular street stalls and contacted as many local groups as possible. Thousands of leaflets and posters were issued, with hundreds of names collected for a petition showing support for the Mosque. A delegation then handed in this petition of support to the Mosque Committee on Friday 11th to show the community is one.
In Luton the EDL ran riot, in Birmingham they were sent packing, in Harrow they were chased away with a clear message: NOT WELCOME. In Manchester and elsewhere over the next few weeks, these successes can be repeated by the same mobilisation of thousands.
However, we should not be fooled by the size of the sad bunch that turned out on Friday in Harrow. These are the British National Party under a different flag. Griffin and his crew know that if they show their real face of thuggery, it might cost them votes, so they come over all respectable, leaving the “English Defence League” to do their dirty work on the streets.
Now the BBC plans to allow Nick Griffin to take part in Question Time on TV on the grounds that the BNP is a legitimate political party. We should not allow them to peddle their racist filth and incite attacks on people because of their skin colour or their religion. The BBC should reverse their decision.
The Government, police and DPP can if they want, prosecute these groups for incitement to racial hatred. The websites they use to espouse their Nazi messages can be closed down. Instead, we saw the police turn their shields on the anti-fascist youth. So much for community policing!
The victory of the anti-fascist, anti-racist movement in Harrow now requires that the Left, trade unionists, socialists and youth groups all come together to pursue an electoral arrangement to ensure that, as a matter of urgency, we defeat the BNP and other fascist organisations.