Anti-fascists in the Yorkshire town of Rotherham vowed today to maintain and build their campaign after racists targeted the community for a second time.
Twice the community has rallied in the face of demonstrations first by the English Defence League (EDL) and then by the National Front (NF). On both occasions the racists and fascists were heavily outnumbered by counter-protesters – and organisers said they were ready to mobilise again.
The most recent fascist action was on Saturday when the NF had a pitiful turn-out. Counter-demonstration organiser Phil Turner said: “At first there were only seven or eight of them and later it was 20 to 30. They couldn’t meet in the pub where they’d planned to go because the landlord wouldn’t let them.
“They weren’t allowed to march. The police told them to go to their rally point which was the most isolated part of the town centre, near some buildings waiting to be demolished. They were really quite isolated. We had 300 to 400. We had a big turnout from the local Asian community as well as trade unionists, faith groups etc.”
He said the fascist and racist EDL and National Front were trying to exploit the grooming issue. Mr Turner said: “There has been an issue of sexual exploitation of young women which they are trying to use to whip up racism. Obviously they don’t give a toss about the victims.
“It is a serious issue and the authorities have a lot to answer for but that is not the issue when it comes to the fascists. They are just using it to whip things up. It is a criminal issue, not a racial one. The Jimmy Savile scandal shows you that.”
The Rotherham community has united in the face of the EDL and NF demonstrations with trade union activists and a growing number of protesters from the Asian community, including many young people, joined forces to oppose the fascists.