FRFI activists v Police and NF in Newcastle

On Sunday 15th April FRFI (Fight Racism Fight Imperialism) activists took part in the counter-protest against the National Front’s fourth consecutive annual march through Newcastle, which they claim is to celebrate St George’s Day on 23rd April, but which others have suggested is to celebrate Adolf Hitler’s birthday on 20th April.

The counter-demonstration was called by the trade unions, and as usual was dominated by Labour Party lefts attempting to use their opposition to a bunch of 50 thugs to distance themselves from the racism of their own party. FRFI comrades called them out on their party’s own war against asylum seekers, and on the record of their party in terrorising Muslim communities today just as they did the Irish in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Labour lefts could think of nothing to say in their defence, but members of the Socialist Worker Party jumped to their aid and pointed out how totally inappropriate it was to be talking about racism at an anti-fascist demonstration.

As happened last year, the organisers marched the demonstrators 100 metres down the road into a police cordon, waited for the fascists to make it safely to the pub, and then announced the counter-demonstration over, around 30 minutes after it had begun. Throughout the demonstration FRFI comrades used leaflets, chants, one to one discussions and the megaphone to draw attention to the role of the police in protecting the fascists, without whom the 300 counter-demonstrators could easily have dealt with the 50 fascists. This was the British state exposed in its defence of organised fascists, yet the Labour lefts and their supporters in the SWP, Socialist Party, etc, seemed very upset at this exposure, and made every effort short of physical violence to shut down and drown out what FRFI was saying.

When the demonstration was declared officially over FRFI activists went with others to Weatherspoons, where the fascists were getting drunk under the protection of the police. Protestors formed up outside but were gradually forced back by the police using horses, one of the cops reaching out to rip the cord out of the back of a megaphone. Protestors continued to chant, exposing the cops with ‘Labour’s bobby on the beat Protects the fascists on the street!’ and slowed down the police by linking arms and repeatedly sitting down.

When they were eventually forced back into the city centre a core of protestors headed to the police station to protest against the police’s defence of the fascists. The police quickly formed a line in front of their door, and imposed the ridiculous condition under the Public Order Act that the protest could only continue for 4 minutes, after which they dispersed the protest.

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