The march sets off from the West End
Street Meeting at the Monument after the fascists had left
Marching from the West End to Grey’s Monument the protestors demanded decent living conditions for everyone, in the face of an economic crisis. As the march passed the Angel Group Offices chants of “Angel Group – Devil Group!” rang out. On Stanhope Street passers-by showed their support for the march by buying TCAR’s newsletter, ‘Resistance’.
As the protestors arrived at Grey’s Monument they were confronted by a counter-protest of around 20 fascists from the National Front and Combat 18, holding a banner reading: ‘Stop Immigration – Start Repatriation’ (pictures to follow). The police stood by and allowed them to continue with their open racism for some time before politely asking them to move on, with a police sergeant standing chatting and laughing with the fascists. Their chants and insults were drowned out by the united chanting of the anti-racists, joined by many passers-by.
The street meeting following the march went ahead despite intimidation, visibly from the fascists and from behind the scenes by the police and council. First the police had claimed that they couldn’t ‘accommodate’ the march due to the Sunderland-Newcastle Derby. When TCAR informed them that we had no need to be ‘accommodated’ and that the march would go ahead regardless, they backed down. They then threatened that as they did not consider the rally to constitute a ‘meeting in the open air’ they would not allow donations to be taken without a permit. Both council and police have refused to define what they do consider to constitute a meeting. In the face of concerted opposition on this point the police also backed down, and took no action on the day.
Speakers included representatives from TCAR, Borderline Books, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, Socialist Party and a member of Tyneside Socialist Forum.
During her speech Sam Magill from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! said:
“The Labour party has waged bloody wars and attacked resistance movements internationally for nearly a century. If we are to change this then we must demand a total split from the Labour party. The millions and millions of people who are dying in countries like Congo; Iraq; Afghanistan from wars of economic plunder and the millions more dying from malnutrition and preventable diseases can’t afford to wait for us any longer. We need to build an internationalist movement today; a movement for socialism which can stand up against racism not only in this country but all over the world and demand a decent life for all! NOW!”
Speaking in the open forum, Barbara Yusuf-Porter, who lost her son Lee two years ago at the hands of racists in South Shields, said:
“I challenge Mike Craig [the Chief Constable of Northumbria Police] to get his evidence together, the videos they took away from my house the night of Lee’s murder. The person who took them, Mark Costello, is related to the people involved in my son’s murder. And I challenge the IPCC to explain the racism in the police force.”
Speaking following the march, Paul from Youth Against Racism in Europe, commented:
“The march was an excellent show of solidarity against racism.”
Lauren, a student from the West End of Newcastle, said:
“This was my first march. I went because I wanted to stand against racism. Today showed me how united people can be.”
Mark Moncada from Rock Around the Blockade:
“In the current situation people need to decide which side they’re on. If you are anti-racist now is the time to get active.”
Sam from Durham:
“No to couch ideology. If you are anti-racist or anti-fascist it’s no good just thinking it. Action is needed. Racism and fascism need directly confronting wherever they rear their ugly heads.”
TCAR will continue the struggle in Newcastle for all refugees’ and migrants’ rights. Contact us to get involved.
Together we are stronger!
Together we will win!