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Leicester beats fascist threat
LEICESTER'S PRIDE event on 29 July was a huge success. Organised after the gay Mardi Gras was cancelled because of fascist threats, it showed the effect that unity in action can bring about.
Darren, UAP and Socialist Party (Leicester)
Banners of the Socialist Party, UNISON and the Green Party were carried amongst those of gay organisations like Outrage, all behind the leading banner of Unity Against Prejudice.
The Nazi National Front (NF) and British National Party (BNP) both tried to disrupt the march, but over 400 people marched and danced through Leicester with whistles, placards and a Samba band.
Afterwards, at a rally, speakers included Naomi Byron of Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE) and representatives from the Indian Workers Association, the NUS LGB campaign and Unity Against Prejudice (UAP) who organised the event.
The Socialist Party had over 25 members present, who handed out leaflets, held a stall and sold over 20 papers.
A handful of Leicester's gay community and Left activists including Socialist Party members spent months organising this day, overcoming many obstacles. The NF threatened a national mobilisation; financial problems occurred throughout.
In the week before the event the SWP-run Anti-Nazi League (ANL) decided to hold and heavily publicise a separate event despite UAP's pleas to join the Pride event behind their own banner.
70 organised fascists and bigots tried to intimidate and stop the march but were outnumbered and unsuccessful. A homeless Big Issue seller was attacked by five Nazi thugs who punched him and threw his magazines over a fence.
Overall however, the day was a great success and will make way for an 'official' Mardi Gras next year. We will ensure this 'commercial' event has an element of politics in it!
In The Socialist 4 August 2000: