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Leicester: action needed against EDL
The English Defence League (EDL) is coming to Leicester on 9 October to attempt to stir up division in one of the most culturally and racially diverse cities in Britain.
Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party
They claim they are only opposed to Muslim "extremists", yet in reality they scapegoat all Muslims. On their previous demonstrations, violence has not just been restricted to Muslims. Their racism is a threat to all.
The danger they pose if they get a foothold was indicated by a recent attack on a Mosque in Leicester, where a group chanting racist abuse were reported to have attempted to break in.
At a time when we need a massive, united movement of working class people to defend ourselves against attacks on our public services, jobs and living standards, the EDL are attempting to divide us.
There will be a counter demonstration to the EDL to show that we will not accept this. It seems likely that marches will be banned but static protests will be allowed. Scandalously, the police have allocated an area for the EDL in the vicinity of a number of Kurdish shops and close to the very culturally mixed St Matthew's estate.
The Socialist Party does not call for state bans on marches by the far right because they are often used against workers' organisations. Instead we need to mobilise massive numbers to oppose them. At the time of writing it appears there may be a three month ban on all marches in the city. If this is enforced it would mean that the Leicestershire Against the Cuts demonstration on 30 October would be illegal.
The police and council have conducted a massive campaign to deter people from coming into the centre of Leicester on the day.
This includes mass leafleting with a statement that says: "Don't come to the city just to show you oppose what the protesters (EDL) stand for. The best thing you can do to support the unity and cohesion of the city is to come along to one of the planned celebration events that are happening on the two days either side of Saturday 9 October".
This appeal is backed up by so called faith 'leaders' and Hope not Hate campaigning against the counter demo.
Numerous events have been organised over the weekend to distract attention - anything to keep people away from the counter demo! Many people feel that we cannot allow the EDL to be unopposed. Why should they be allowed to wander the streets of our city whilst we hide away?
Praying for peace in the cathedral will not answer the lies of the EDL. The Socialist Party in Leicester will be supporting the counter demo. We plan to form a contingent using the slogan 'jobs and services, not racism' alongside other trade unionists and members of the 'stop racism and fascism network'. We will counter the EDL's racism with a political alternative.
Meet 11.30am, 9 October, by the Virgin Media shop near the Clock tower.
In The Socialist 6 October 2010:
Defend Child Benefits
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party workplace news
Health and Safety
Europe: fighting the cuts
International socialist analysis
Socialist Party review