Leeds anti-racists step up fightback as Robinson supporters plan march

By Gerry Gable

Activists from Unite Against Fascism and Leeds Stand Up To Racism have been organising against far-right attempts to march in their multicultural city on Saturday 7 July, UAF writes. Here anti-racists report on how they’ve been building the fightback against supporters of fascist Tommy Robinson.

“Following Tommy Robinson’s arrest and jailing in Leeds for contempt of court after livestreaming outside an ongoing trial, the city has become a focus for his supporters and the wider far-right.

In June, his supporters marched through Leeds and some were heard to chant “Muslims off our streets”. A week later there were two arson attacks on a mosque and a Sikh gurdwara in Beeston in the south of Leeds. The local community responded magnificently and organised with Stand Up To Racism for a peace march to the affected mosque and gurdwara to show solidarity with the majority who are opposed to racism and fascism in their area.

This Saturday 7 July, Tommy Robinson supporters and the far-right Yorkshire Patriots groups are coming to Leeds in two separate mobilisations to try and use the anniversary of the tragic London bombings in 2005 to whip up racism and Islamophobia.

Stand Up To Racism has organised a rally and march in Leeds, with a statement also receiving wide-ranging support. Signatories include Richard Burgon MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice; Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary; Bill Adams, Yorkshire and Humber TUC regional secretary; and Jane Aitchison, President Leeds TUC and Labour Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Pudsey. The statement also carries signatures from local councillors, trade unionists, activists and sports stars, with names continuing to be added.

The rally and march are supported by the TUC Yorkshire and the Humber, Unite, GMB, Unison, NEU (NUT), NASUWT, NAPO and PCS.

Unions have sent mailings to all their members in our region, made videos and offered support to build and organise on the day.

Unite the Union have been an enormous help. General Secretary Len McCluskey is promoting the anti-fascist demo and many of our leaflets have been printed by Unite.

We want Leeds to be seen as a beacon for anti-racists and anti-fascists across the country, sending a clear message that the politics of hate and division will not be successful. Celebrate and defend multicultural Leeds by joining us from 12:30pm on 7 July outside Leeds Town Hall and then all out for 14 July in London.”

Find the Facebook event for the Leeds counterdemonstration to Tommy Robinson’s racist supporters here.