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Lincoln marches against racism and fascism
On 18 January, around 150 people marched under the banner of Lincoln Against Racism and Fascism (LARF).
In early December, the far-right East Anglian Patriots group had announced they would demonstrate in Lincoln having marched in June against the building of a mosque in the city.
Socialist Party members in Lincoln played a key role in relaunching LARF. A LARF public meeting in December unanimously agreed to hold another counter-demo, plus a rally against racism in the run-up to the demo.
Despite its democratic decision, intense pressure was exerted on steering committee members to call off the counter-demo by Labour councillors and 'community leaders'.
Most effective strategy
Attempts were made to change the march and rally to a silent vigil at the cathedral. These calls were resisted by LARF, which sought to organise the most effective possible opposition to the far right.
In the week before the 15 January rally, the East Anglian Patriots encouraged their supporters to target the LARF Facebook event.
A call was made in the trade union movement for stewards to defend the rally. Two fascists attempted to enter the venue, but stewards stopped them.
The demo rally was addressed by dozens of people, with demonstrators encouraged to say why they had taken part.
Many had never been on a protest before. A soldier said that far-right groups lie about their support in the ranks of armed forces.
Trade unionists from PCS and Unison, two Labour councillors, Youth Fight for Jobs campaigners, Socialist Party members, the Lincoln University Student Union and Islamic Society, and a local Eastern European community group also spoke.
Once the East Anglian Patriots had set off on their march, anti-racists moved off from their rally towards them and chanted, separated from them by a large police presence.
LARF spokesperson Nick Parker told the crowd that he had received death threats from the far right, and vowed to continue to build the fight against racism and unemployment, low pay, and austerity policies that fuel the spread of this poison in our society.
Some of the far right left their demo main route to attack the anti-racist protest. They were forced back by demonstrators, which was rightly cheered as a victory.
When the far right had left the city centre, the march set off again back to the initial assembly point, identified by stewards as a safer area for protesters to disperse.
The thousands of people in the city centre on Saturday heard LARF's clear message: "when the far right spread their racist lies, we fight back and organise!"
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