Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/599/8291
Far right shut out of Newport by mass protest
"WALES IS now an E/WDL-free zone" declared Socialist Party member and Unite convenor Rob Williams as over 600 people defied the attempt of the English/Welsh Defence League to spread their racist poison in Newport. After being marched out of Swansea the previous week the EDL did not even dare show their faces in Newport last Saturday as the city's John Frost Square filled up with anti-racist protesters.
The E/WDL's attempt to raise racial tension in Newport completely back-fired as hundreds of people rallied to oppose racism in an act of defiance to the far right thugs.
Newport Communities Against Racism (NCAR), formed to counter the E/WDL protest, organised an impressive show of unity across all the communities of Newport involving trade unions and community organisations. "Today has shown what Newport has always been about" said Mike John, an NCAR organiser and Socialist Party member; "a multi-racial, tolerant, working class town that won't tolerate fascists".
In the morning the police had forced the NACR rally into a small corner of the square but by the end of the afternoon the crowd had taken over the whole square as the turnout swelled with people from Newport and all over Wales.
The NCAR march outstripped the separate march organised by Unite Against Fascism which threatened to divide the protests. Wales TUC and most unions had instructed their members to proceed directly to the NCAR rally rather than be diverted on the UAF march.
NCAR had organised an army of legal observers, medics, rally organisers, bands and 'spotters' to watch out if the E/WDL appeared in Newport city centre. But they did not dare show their faces and the protest rally was turned into a victory rally.
Socialist Party and Youth Fight for Jobs stalls were well supported with two people joining the Socialist Party and a dozen signing up for the Youth Fight for Jobs march on 28 November.
A Socialist Party Wales member
In The Socialist 28 October 2009:
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Marxist analysis: history
Socialist Party reviews